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Women's Professional Hockey: Crossroads

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3 hours ago, Doohickie said:

This sounds comparable to inviting a band to play at venue but not pay them, and expect them to do it "for the exposure."

Most adults have to pay to play hockey and now every woman must as well. Something also tells me that adult women’s hockey isn’t the competitive speed these women would like. Given the choice of playing hockey for little pay or paying to play, most people are going to choose being paid. The highest level they are able to play now is college or national team, neither of which is paid at all (I believe national team is stipend though).  There is nothing to be exposed to.

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The business model and CBA/cap of the WNBA I think is a relevant read of what it might take to bootstrap a womens pro hockey league.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_National_Basketball_Association

Caps would have to be higher because of larger rosters, but the initial number of teams would be fewer by roughly a proportionate amount.

Unrelated, I'd think it'd be easy for the NHL to include womens pro hockey as part of a package to be included in the NHL national TV contract.  A couple games year plus playoffs on NBCSN, and the revenue from such a package, would do wonders.  It'd damn sure be a better watch than Pro Bull Riding or whatever garbage used to follow hockey back when NBCSN was Outdoor Life Network.

And you can't tell me, despite how much I enjoy it, that the Curling World Cup, which currently being broadcast live from China, is a moneymaker for NBC Sports.

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5 hours ago, IKnowPhysics said:

The business model and CBA/cap of the WNBA I think is a relevant read of what it might take to bootstrap a womens pro hockey league.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_National_Basketball_Association

Caps would have to be higher because of larger rosters, but the initial number of teams would be fewer by roughly a proportionate amount.

Unrelated, I'd think it'd be easy for the NHL to include womens pro hockey as part of a package to be included in the NHL national TV contract.  A couple games year plus playoffs on NBCSN, and the revenue from such a package, would do wonders.  It'd damn sure be a better watch than Pro Bull Riding or whatever garbage used to follow hockey back when NBCSN was Outdoor Life Network.

And you can't tell me, despite how much I enjoy it, that the Curling World Cup, which currently being broadcast live from China, is a moneymaker for NBC Sports.

 

I skimmed that page but I had a hard time figuring out how pay works in that league. It looks like the NBA operated them at a loss owning all the teams for about 6 years before selling the teams to corresponding NBA owners where possible and 3rd party owners in a few other cases. It also appears it's taken nearly 25 years for just half of the 12 teams to be profitable.

 

In terms of TV deals, I never watch NBCSN unless hockey is on. I'm sure Premier League does decent for them too, but they have a lot of time to fill that could easily add woman's

hockey.

 

Another option is the NHL Network. They are the ones who showed all the US and Canadian Woman's games at the IIHF tournament last month. It was through a partnership with TSN though. So TSN did all the heavy lifting. Still the NWHL was already streaming most of their games on Twitter and YouTube, so they could just give that feed the NBCSN or the NHL Network and all those channels would need to do is figure out the advertising and intermissions if they didn't want to spend money on their own crews.

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16 hours ago, Doohickie said:

Right but who's idea was it?

Mutual

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That's my point.  It's one thing if it's mutually agreed upon; it's something else if the party that would customarily pay says, "Oh there will be no money, you can just do it for the exposure."

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2 hours ago, Doohickie said:

That's my point.  It's one thing if it's mutually agreed upon; it's something else if the party that would customarily pay says, "Oh there will be no money, you can just do it for the exposure."

It's something that is far too often lost in so many discussions around here.  We should have signed this guy.  We should have traded for this guy.  Both sides have to agree for either of those scenarios to play out.

That said, the option was available to these players and it sounds like that is pretty much what they were originally playing under.  They now want more and good luck to them on that.  I hope they have realistic goals from all of this.

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Wonder what % of NWHL attendance is female... vs NHL.

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On 5/2/2019 at 8:10 PM, pi2000 said:

They just killed their entire league.  Dumb.  

Welcome to the Me2 movement

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Not sure I see the connection there, Ross. 

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3 hours ago, pi2000 said:

Wonder what % of NWHL attendance is female... vs NHL.

I can tell you of the games I attended at the Harborcenter ... it’s about 50/50 most games. 

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4 hours ago, Ross Rhea said:

Welcome to the Me2 movement

 

4 hours ago, Doohickie said:

Not sure I see the connection there, Ross. 

 

Ross is stating his belief that the movement to create awareness of widespread sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace is dumb.  I thought it was clear.

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9 hours ago, E4 ... Ke2 said:

@SabresBaltimore Thanks for that information.

 

Not sure what you mean, but you're welcome!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Another thing I was thinking about with regards to the NBA/WNBA model, if it's taken like 20 years for teams to turn a profit in a sport of Basketball that is far more popular/profitable than hockey is in the US and it took them nearly 20 years to start having some profitable teams. The counter to that is the NWHL had at least one profitable team last season, although how much of one is unclear.

 

But if I'm the NHL, and already struggling for popularity in many US markets, I'm leery about the prospect of trying something similar. One of the articles I read proposed a 6 team league of Buffalo, Boston, St. Paul and Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

 

I'm surprised they didn't have New York on that list, but maybe the Metropolitans have never been popular in an already crowded New York city market? The Whitecaps were apparently profitable this past season by topping ticket sales and doing pretty well on merchandise as well. I get Calgary from a popularity perspective, but from a logistics/travel perspective it makes it a lot more expensive that a more central or east coast Canadian team.

 

I feel like Buffalo or maybe one of the proposed Canadian teams has the next best chance of being profitable. Then again based on some of the comments on this thread (assuming this forum is even remotely representative of Sabres fans as a whole) it seems that even among hockey fans there is little interest in woman's hockey.

 

Buffalo had the next best attendance behind Minnesota, but they probably operated at a much higher cost than the other teams. Then again, it's probably a lot easier for someone like PSE who already owns another hockey team to spread those costs out because they are already paying a lot of them for the Sabres.

 

Personally I still don't like many of the decisions Gary Bettman has made as commissioner, I'm not a fan of him overseeing a new Woman's league too.

 

With regards to attendance, I'm not sure the ratio of men to woman is that important. To me the most significant attendance number is young girls/woman that go. If they become fans, some of them go on to play themselves. The more that play, the higher the quality of the next generation of players and that's what will help the game most long term.

 

This year's IIHF  tournament shows that (at least under the right circumstances) a country not named Canada or the United States can contend for an international title. But right now in North America I think they have the depth for 6-8 teams tops. With the two leagues they had 11. Even if you eliminate the duplicate Boston team that's still 2-4 too many for a single league to sustain, and a bunch of players who aren't good enough to keep their jobs.

 

But in the short term, they just needs buts in seats. Especially season ticket holders, because that's up front/guaranteed money. Having any sort of streaming/TV package is another good way. The WNBA charges $17 for the entire season league pass and $10 for a team pass. Hockey could probably do something a bit cheaper. $17 is less than what I typically spend on concessions at a single Sabres game. Sell enough of those and it adds up. Of course part of the pricing will be how many games they play so the cost per game isn't too high.
 

Then they need to sell merchandise. The Beauts did a lot of meet and greets last year from what I saw. I think every home game had something at the 716 after. That's a good way to endear yourself to the fans. I think they also did some during intermissions at Sabres games as well.

 

It's no surprise 2/3 of the top selling jerseys were Buffalo Beauts ( Shannon Szabados and Emily Pfalzer). And I think a few others were in the top 10. I think jersey sales was the only real way for players to get any additional money beyond their meager salary or sponsorship deals.

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1 hour ago, SabresBaltimore said:

 

Not sure what you mean, but you're welcome!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Another thing I was thinking about with regards to the NBA/WNBA model, if it's taken like 20 years for teams to turn a profit in a sport of Basketball that is far more popular/profitable than hockey is in the US and it took them nearly 20 years to start having some profitable teams. The counter to that is the NWHL had at least one profitable team last season, although how much of one is unclear.

 

But if I'm the NHL, and already struggling for popularity in many US markets, I'm leery about the prospect of trying something similar. One of the articles I read proposed a 6 team league of Buffalo, Boston, St. Paul and Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

 

I'm surprised they didn't have New York on that list, but maybe the Metropolitans have never been popular in an already crowded New York city market? The Whitecaps were apparently profitable this past season by topping ticket sales and doing pretty well on merchandise as well. I get Calgary from a popularity perspective, but from a logistics/travel perspective it makes it a lot more expensive that a more central or east coast Canadian team.

 

I feel like Buffalo or maybe one of the proposed Canadian teams has the next best chance of being profitable. Then again based on some of the comments on this thread (assuming this forum is even remotely representative of Sabres fans as a whole) it seems that even among hockey fans there is little interest in woman's hockey.

 

Buffalo had the next best attendance behind Minnesota, but they probably operated at a much higher cost than the other teams. Then again, it's probably a lot easier for someone like PSE who already owns another hockey team to spread those costs out because they are already paying a lot of them for the Sabres.

 

Personally I still don't like many of the decisions Gary Bettman has made as commissioner, I'm not a fan of him overseeing a new Woman's league too.

 

With regards to attendance, I'm not sure the ratio of men to woman is that important. To me the most significant attendance number is young girls/woman that go. If they become fans, some of them go on to play themselves. The more that play, the higher the quality of the next generation of players and that's what will help the game most long term.

 

This year's IIHF  tournament shows that (at least under the right circumstances) a country not named Canada or the United States can contend for an international title. But right now in North America I think they have the depth for 6-8 teams tops. With the two leagues they had 11. Even if you eliminate the duplicate Boston team that's still 2-4 too many for a single league to sustain, and a bunch of players who aren't good enough to keep their jobs.

 

But in the short term, they just needs buts in seats. Especially season ticket holders, because that's up front/guaranteed money. Having any sort of streaming/TV package is another good way. The WNBA charges $17 for the entire season league pass and $10 for a team pass. Hockey could probably do something a bit cheaper. $17 is less than what I typically spend on concessions at a single Sabres game. Sell enough of those and it adds up. Of course part of the pricing will be how many games they play so the cost per game isn't too high.
 

Then they need to sell merchandise. The Beauts did a lot of meet and greets last year from what I saw. I think every home game had something at the 716 after. That's a good way to endear yourself to the fans. I think they also did some during intermissions at Sabres games as well.

 

It's no surprise 2/3 of the top selling jerseys were Buffalo Beauts ( Shannon Szabados and Emily Pfalzer). And I think a few others were in the top 10. I think jersey sales was the only real way for players to get any additional money beyond their meager salary or sponsorship deals.

In regards to the NYC area... my bet is that rink time is problematic... doubt the NHL could afford MSG, there is always something going on there and there really isn't any rinks in NYC other than MSG that can handle a crowd... you would have to go up to Westchester right now or at least until the new Islanders facility is built.   The Barkley Center is also busy but maybe a little more amenable, but not sure, especially once the Isles leave.  

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25 minutes ago, North Buffalo said:

In regards to the NYC area... my bet is that rink time is problematic... doubt the NHL could afford MSG, there is always something going on there and there really isn't any rinks in NYC other than MSG that can handle a crowd... you would have to go up to Westchester right now or at least until the new Islanders facility is built.   The Barkley Center is also busy but maybe a little more amenable, but not sure, especially once the Isles leave.  

Part of the issue is having far too much space. I don’t see why any team needs more than a 2000 seat capacity. I feel like appropriate venue size would go a long way towards helping build a sustainable league. 

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Yeah. I agree. I don't think there were a ton of fans filling the seats when the Beauts played at FNA, and they wer giving away free tickets to anyone who bought a ticket for that night's Sabres game.

 

However the Harbor Center was near to full capacity for all of their other home games I believe. It seems like the perfect venue for a Woman's team right now.

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27 minutes ago, SabresBaltimore said:

Yeah. I agree. I don't think there were a ton of fans filling the seats when the Beauts played at FNA, and they wer giving away free tickets to anyone who bought a ticket for that night's Sabres game.

 

However the Harbor Center was near to full capacity for all of their other home games I believe. It seems like the perfect venue for a Woman's team right now.

Yeh but the closet rink to that is the Stamford Twin Rinks near NYC

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Heck where the Apple Core Play, the Junior A Team in the area, at Brewster my guess is the stands hold 1,000 at best..  the other close places are Danbury and Bridgeport

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17 minutes ago, North Buffalo said:

Heck where the Apple Core Play, the Junior A Team in the area, at Brewster my guess is the stands hold 1,000 at best..  the other close places are Danbury and Bridgeport

I would much rather play in front of a sellout crowd of 1,000 than in front of a crowd of 1,500 out of 16,000 (I think that’s what Barcley holds for hockey). Not to mention the costs. When reading about the issues facing the WNBA, venues and operating costs seem to be a huge issue. Everyone wants to play a massive arena but sometimes what’s best is playing in a place where capacity can be reached. 

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2 hours ago, #freejame said:

I would much rather play in front of a sellout crowd of 1,000 than in front of a crowd of 1,500 out of 16,000 (I think that’s what Barcley holds for hockey). Not to mention the costs. When reading about the issues facing the WNBA, venues and operating costs seem to be a huge issue. Everyone wants to play a massive arena but sometimes what’s best is playing in a place where capacity can be reached. 

Agreed but some of these places need upgrade to make them attractive to semi casual fans at least Brewster would need to be.

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Don't any of the colleges in NYC or northern NJ have ice rinks?  They would be the kind of size you would want for a league and be a heckuvalot cheaper.

If I am looking at this from the NHL's point of view, I would think that strong US markets and the Canadian markets would be the best place to start.  Other places where this could work would be in areas with a large concentration of women's collegiate hockey programs.  In particular, the collegiate idea helps with placing teams in Western Canada.  (Even then, the travel could be horrible.)

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1 hour ago, E4 ... Ke2 said:

Don't any of the colleges in NYC or northern NJ have ice rinks?  They would be the kind of size you would want for a league and be a heckuvalot cheaper.

Not that I am aware, Mustache of God may know more about a place like Columbia... LI has some places. But Chelsea piers stands are nothing to write home about, Elmsford nope, Terry Conner rink in Stamford CT is the closest I can think of with that kind of capacity.  Fordam doesnt have a team... maybe Rutgers in NJ but people in NYC dont go to NJ.  NYU doesnt have a rink... hmmm?

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On 5/11/2019 at 8:12 PM, North Buffalo said:

Not that I am aware, Mustache of God may know more about a place like Columbia... LI has some places. But Chelsea piers stands are nothing to write home about, Elmsford nope, Terry Conner rink in Stamford CT is the closest I can think of with that kind of capacity.  Fordam doesnt have a team... maybe Rutgers in NJ but people in NYC dont go to NJ.  NYU doesnt have a rink... hmmm?

How far is Princeton from that area?

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Princeton is just north of Philly so about 2.5 to 3 hours.  You can take a train though.

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PS lots of rinks around, not a lot of stands... Rye Playland me able to hold a decent 1,000 capacity and they just redid it.  I think the Rangers practice there

Edited by North Buffalo

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