Posted on: August 26, 2009 6:50 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2009 6:52 pm

Dear Hockey Fans in "Traditional" Markets

Dear Hockey Fans in traditional makets,

I am writing to request that you discontinue your aspersions against the Coyotes and the hockey fans of Arizona.  There have been many unpropitious decisions and circumstances that have led the team to their current situation. I feel that when you state that Phoenix is not a viable hockey market it is inaccurate. 

The team was fourth in operating expenses despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the league.  The average NHL coach makes about $1 million a year while Wayne Gretzky makes seven times that amount, all for having a sub .500 coaching record and no playoff appearances. It is a poorly run franchise, both on and off the ice.  The financial situation they are in cannot be summed up simply by saying Phoenix does not support hockey. 

Please see the below examples of teams that are in traditional hockey markets and have also had financial problems.  These teams have all been in their markets much longer than the 12 years the Coyotes have been in Phoenix, and have all had much more success than the Coyotes’ handful of playoff appearances and no advances past the first round.

The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the league in 1967 and had won two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992 prior to filing bankruptcy in 1998.  They also had previously filed bankruptcy in 1975.

The Ottawa Senators entered the league in 1992 and filed for bankruptcy in 2003 despite having success on the ice.

The Buffalo Sabres entered the league in 1970 and also filed for bankruptcy in 2003.  The Sabres had made the playoffs every year from 1995 to 2000.  Their average home attendance in 2003 was 13,776.

The New York Islanders came into the league in 1972 and have had one of hockey’s greatest dynasties winning four Stanly cups between 1980-83.  They have made the playoffs 21 times, with their most recent appearance being 2007.  Although they have a proud history they have lost $208.8 million in nine years, including $33.5 million last year.  They also ranked last in attendance for the 2008-09 season.

I will admit that the Coyotes’ attendance has been exiguous recently; however they are not alone in having empty seats. Poor attendance does not discriminate between hot and cold climates.

Below are teams that are based in traditional markets, or in the case of the St. Louis Blues have been in the league over 40 years, and have ranked in the bottom 10 teams in attendance during recent years.

2001, Bruins, Blackhawks, Islanders
2002, Calgary Flames, Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins, Islanders
2003, Bruins, Islanders, Devils, Blackhawks, Penguins, Sabres
2004, Bruins, Devils, Capitals, Islanders, Blackhawks, Penguins (last place, average 11,877)
2006, Devils, Blues, Capitals, Blackhawks, Islanders (last place, average 12,609)
2007, Boston, Devils, Capitals, Islanders, Blackhawks, Blues
2008, Devils, Capitals, Bruins, Islanders
2009, Devils, Avalanche, Islanders

I hope that you will realize that poor attendance and finacial failure cannot be directly attibuted the the weather outside.  Bankruptcies and empty seats have plagued teams throughout the continent regardless of the teams time in existence, country, or past success. 


Arizona Hockey Fans.

Posted on: February 17, 2009 10:24 am

Wayne please save the Coyotes

Another season filled with hope, another post all star collapse, and another post season that will not include the Coyotes.  The losses to the Flames and the Oilers have all but sealed the Coyotes fate for this year, and it is very unfortunate.  They entered the all star break sitting comfortably in the fifth spot in the west, now they are in last place in the Pacific Division, and a very outside shot to even make the playoffs.  There will be no white out in Phoenix, for the seventh year in a row.


They have had injuries to important players over the past month, but every team has to deal with injuries.  Kevin Porter and Kyle Turris, two rookies with high expectations, have both struggled and both been sent down to the minors at times this year.  The team is not growing, they are not showing any fortitude during the final part of the season, and they have lost their confidence, winning only one of their last 11 games.


Terry Porter was just fired as the Suns coach, it is time for the Coyotes to follow suite.  Wayne Gretzky needs to step down.  If he truly wants this team to succeed he needs to realize that he is not the right person to get them to the playoffs.  He makes $7 million per year in a league where the average coach earns only $1 million.  For this inflated salary Gretzky has brought the Coyotes a 132-148-22 record and zero playoff appearances in four seasons.  The Coyotes are in financial ruin, have the lowest player payroll in the league, and can no longer afford to throw seven million dollars away to be in the bottom five in the Western Conference. 


Wayne, for the sake of the franchise please step down.  Your salary could translate into two very good additional players for the team.  If you care about the franchise, the fans, and this city do what is right. 

Category: NHL
Tags: Coyotes, Phoenix
Posted on: February 13, 2009 5:41 pm

Small Market or Large Market

Yesterday Robert Sarver, owner of the Suns, was being interviewed on the radio.  He stated at one point that Phoenix was a small market, at which point I yelled at the radio.  This lead me to question if Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the US is a small market, what constitutes a large market.  Population of the city, attendance, what? 


Below I have compiled information on the 8 largest cities in the US, and also included Boston and San Francisco.  This includes the population of the city, and the % of overall (home and road) attendance the team draws.  So 100% would mean the team is selling out their home games, and all their road games average to sell outs as well.  95 would mean that for the total seats for all the games the team plays, 95% are sold. I used this to see how the team is followed on the road.  I realize this is not a perfect examination of a team’s national following, because teams such as the Red Sox, sell out every home game no matter who the opposing team is.  Although it’s not perfect, I felt it was a decent interpretation with out examining apparel sales, TV ratings, etc.


So, who are the largest markets?


By population it is New York, LA, and Chicago.


For basketball, it is LA, Boston, and Phoenix.  So the small market that Robert Sarver cited is somewhat of a misnomer.  Out of the eight largest cities, as well as Boston and San Francisco, Phoenix ranks 3<sup>rd</sup>. 


For baseball its, Boston, Chicago (Cubs), and New York (Yankees).  No real surprise there.  Unfortunately the Diamondbacks are next to last.  The Diamondbacks do, however, get very good TV ratings statewide.


For football, guess what, there is a reason that this years Super Bowl was the highest rated ever.  The Eagles, CARDINALS, and Giants, are the largest. 


For hockey, Chicago, New York (Rangers), and the Sharks have the largest markets.  This does not include Canadian markets, and Detroit was not included.  Coyotes, like the Diamondbacks, are second to last. 


Again, just the eight largest cities by population were included, and then I wanted to look at the other two markets.  So next time someone tries to tell you that Phoenix is a small market for football or basketball, you can call them a liar right to their face.


New York 8.2 million, Knicks 93.6,  Yankees 86.2, Giants 100.6, Rangers 102.2

LA 3.8 million, Lakers 99.8, Dodgers 80.3, NA, Kings 89.8

Chicago 2.8 million, Bulls 94.6, Cubs 90, Bears 96.3, Blackhawks 104.5

Houston 2.2 million, Rockets 93.2, Astros 78.3, Texans 99.8, NA

Phoenix 1.5 million, Suns 96.2, Diamondbacks 68.9, Cardinals101.4, Coyotes 90

Philadelphia 1.4 million, 76ers 79.7, Phillies 84.6, Eagles 102.3, Flyers 96.1

San Antonio 1.3 million Spurs 92.2, NA, NA, NA

San Diego 1.2 million, NA, Padres 73.7, Chargers 94.5, NA

Dallas 1.2 million, Mavericks 95.3, Rangers 57.6, Cowboys 99.9, Stars 92.8

San Francisco 764k, Warriors 91.6, Giants 77, 49ers 94.3, Sharks 96.5

Boston 599k, Celtics 99.1, Red Sox 92.9, Patriots 99.1, Bruins 93.9





Category: NBA
Posted on: February 4, 2009 5:29 pm

Phoenix Coyotes Experience

Phoenix Coyotes


Hockey is a niche sport in Phoenix, and as such the fans at Coyotes games are very dedicated to the team, but only take up about 60% of the seats.  The game is quiet for the most part, but the crowd does respond to goals, power plays, and big hits.  This is a place where you don’t have to worry about unruly fans (not including the Red Wing games), and you can definitely take your kids.


The Coyotes have very reasonable prices for the upper bowl, and are always advertising specials.  The lower bowl seats go for about $50 normally, but you may be able to get a deal for less.


The food is ok at Jobing.com Arena.  A little variety is available including BBQ, Hooters, and Weinerschnitzel.  There is somewhat of a variety of beer there, but you have to look for it.  Thankfully it doesn’t take that long to walk an entire lap around the arena.  There are usually just a couple stands with premium beer, but you can get domestic beer at any stand and Molson at some stands.  Large beers go for about $8.


The traffic and parking are also OK.  The parking is free (for now), and access to the 101 is pretty good. 

Category: NHL
Tags: Coyotes, Phoenix
Posted on: February 4, 2009 5:27 pm

Best Value in Phoenix Sports

The Phoenix area has all four major sports teams, all vying for the fans money.  Where is the best value, which venue provides the best experience for the money?  I’ll take a look at the ticket prices, fan atmosphere, parking, and stadium amenities to determine where you are most likely to have a good time.  This does not take into account the actual sport being played, just the atmosphere at the game.

I'll post this in four parts, one for each team. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 21, 2008 10:29 am

The year that was

Only a handful of games left, a bit of a stumple in the last week, and giving up 5 goals in regulation to the ugh, (insert vomiting sound here) Kings last night, we Coyotes fans probably won't be seeing the return of the white out.  But, this was a good season and the team made a lot of progress.  Here are some of my highlights from the season.

From Russia with Love:  Ilya Bryzgalov has come to mind the net, and finally the Coyotes have a bonafide #1 goalie.  I am still amazed that the Coyotes got him, but he was, without a doubt, the turning point for the season.

The Kids are all right: Peter Mueller really had a great rookie year, and while he may not get it, he could be in consideration for the Calder.  Martin Hanzal had a very respectable season as well and appears that he will be filling a more supporting role on the team.  When he learns to use his size he will be a big challenge for opponents.  Daniel Carcillo is proving to be a great power forward and has learned to control himself more in the last few months.  Maybe sometime off for injuries and a brief stint in San Antonio cooled him off.  I'm looking forward to when we finally get to see Turris, Porter, and Wheeler suit up for the Yotes.

The Great One Coacheth:  Wayne Gretzky seemed to find his nitch this year for coaching.  Many people, including myself, were questionning whether or not he should be behind the bench.  Now, five months later, had the Coyotes made the playoffs he would have been a legitimate choice for the Jack Adams award.

A sniper in our midst?  Radim Vrbata has not done much the last few weeks, but at times he was unstoppable this season, and he may or may not reach 30 goals, but at 27 he is knocking on the door.  And Shane Doan is already at his career high in points and has 26 goals.  While 30 goals is not by any means an exceptional season, the Coyotes have only had a handful of 30 goal scorers in the new millenium so I consider it progress. 

And the last highlight, beating the crap out of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.

Category: NHL
Tags: Coyotes
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com