John McCain: Corporate Welfare for Desert Ice Hockey, Si; Goldwater Institute, No

I've been meaning for a while now to blog about the disgusting effort by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to tarnish the good folk over at the libertarian nonprofit Goldwater Institute for attempting to disrupt the flow of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of a freaking hockey team in Arizona, but instead I'll just invite you to read George Will:

After the [Phoenix Coyotes] team entered bankruptcy in 2009, the NHL bought it for $140 million and has lost at least $30 million operating it. It might decamp to Winnipeg, Manitoba. This would enable Glendale, which spent $180 million on the hockey arena, to cut its losses. Glendale, however, not wanting its eight-year-old arena to sit vacant, wants to sell up to $116 million of municipal bonds so that it can give $100 million to a wealthy Chicago business executive to help him buy the team. With the $100 million, the city would supposedly purchase the right to charge parking fees at the arena the city owns, with the fees going to pay off the bonds. But the city already owns the right it is purchasing: It already imposes a ticket surcharge for parking.

If future fees are insufficient, Glendale's taxpayers will have to make up the shortfall. Furthermore, Glendale would pay the new owner an additional $97 million under a contract, awarded without competitive bidding, to manage the arena through the 2014 season.

Fortunately, this folly may be illegal. The Arizona constitution's "gift clause" may block Glendale’s booster socialism [...]

The Goldwater Institute, a think tank and advocacy organization dedicated to the limited-government principles of its namesake, plans to sue, if necessary, to see that Arizona's constitution is respected. So the city, which has been dilatory regarding documents sought by the institute, is threatening to sue the institute, which warned bond rating agencies and others about its possible constitutional lawsuit. Glendale correctly says that the lawsuit will add a risk premium to its cost of borrowing. [...]

John McCain who holds the Senate seat once occupied by Barry Goldwater but does not hold Goldwater's views about governmental minimalism, calls the institute's actions "disgraceful" and "basically blackmailing": "It's not their role to decide whether the Coyotes should stay [here] or not." Well.

Constitutions do not impress the co-author of the McCain-Feingold assault on the First Amendment (his law restricts political speech). But the institute's job — actually, it is every Arizonan's job — is to protect the public interest. A virtuoso of indignation, McCain is scandalized that the institute, "a non-elected organization," is going to cause the loss of "a thousand jobs." McCain's jobs number is preposterous, as is his intimation — he has been in elective office for 28 years — that non-elected people should not intervene in civic life.

Whole thing, well worth a read, here.

This is yet another weird and vulgar chapter in McCain's long and contentious relationship with Barry Goldwater, a subject on which I wrote at length in McCain: The Myth of a Maverick.

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  • ||

    Another reason I'm glad I voted for Barr in '08. I'm really not at all sure McCain would be any better at this point than Obama.

    George Will seems to get better as time goes on. I like reading anything from him even if I don't agree (which is rare).

  • Almanian||

    Ditto on all accounts. McCain scares me nearly as much as Obama. OK, basically the same...he's more unpredictable, and unlike O, has a looooong track record of being a statist fuck as evidenced through his votes.

  • Ray||

    You sure you're glad you voted Barr in '08?

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/.....legal_team

  • ||

    Yes, I dont regret that vote. I'm a defense attorney so I have represented some pretty bad people on occasion. It didn't change the fact that they needed an attorney and that was/is my job. I'm not aware of the particulars with Duvalier but if he needs an attorney, I don't see how it is immoral to represent him, as long as it is done in an ethical and professional manner. I understand non lawyers have a hard time seeing it that way.

  • Ray||

    Barr wasn't just "defending" Baby Doc, IIRC he said he is "bringing a message of hope to Haiti."

  • prolefeed||

    The point of voting for Barr was to send the message that Obama and McCain were unacceptable, since "none of the above" was not an option on any ballot.

    So, yes, I'm still glad I voted for Barr.

  • Otto||

    Had Baby Doc been on trial for his many, many crimes against the Haitians, you would have a point. He was instead trying to get million the thug stole frm his country when he was "President."

  • Almanian||

    Again, what Pablo said.

  • ||

    Even if you interpret Barr's actions re: Baby Doc in the most uncharitable way, they don't even compare to the mischief that Obama (and McCain) are doing.

  • MJ||

    "A virtuoso of indignation, McCain is scandalized that the institute, "a non-elected organization," is going to cause the loss of "a thousand jobs." "

    The Goldwater Institute is probably organized as one of those sinister "corporations" that McCain-Feingold supporter believe re inherently rightless.

  • MJ||

    "After the [Phoenix Coyotes] team entered bankruptcy in 2009, the NHL bought it for $140 million and has lost at least $30 million operating it. It might decamp to Winnipeg, Manitoba."

    Which the NHL execs probably regret it ever left in the first place. The team might not have done great in Winnipeg, but the dedicated fanbase they had there would have likely resulted in healthier bottom line than the population of transients in Phoenix would give them.

  • ||

    I think that overall problem that led the team to move to Phoenix (and similar to the Nordiques moving to Denver)was that NHL players for Canadian teams are paid in US dollars but the gate receipts are in Canadian. When the dollar was stronger it was very hard for the teams north of the border to maintain pace with the US based teams.

    Now that the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollars is more favorable to Canadians it does make sense to move them back to Winnipeg and I wouldnt be shocked to see another team move in the coming years as well. The snowbird experiment in Miami has been a failure and the same can be said for Nashville as well.

  • Tman||

    Nashville and the Predators are actually doing ok in terms of the fanbase, but the reality is that they aren't making any money. And the city has come flat out and stated that we will not be floating a Hockey team with tax payer dollars if they can't make it on their own, so I don't know how long the NHL will let them stay.

    All it would take is for the Preds to GET OUT OF THE FIRST FARKING ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS for once to help close the budget gap, but some things are easier said than done.

    I'm just glad that they aren't even considering asking the State for any money.

  • ||

    FWIW, Tman, I'm optimistic for Nashville this year in the first round. Ducks are on a tear, but Preds match up well against them.

    And since we're talking about governmental asshattery in sports, let's give a shout-out to self-described fiscal conservative Brian Rafalski for his stand against Tennessee's jock tax! (Yeah, that was last year. Nothing ever came of it.)

  • ||

    I'm still not sure where you get your scoring from (Martin Erat is your top scorer with FIFTY points?) but with your defense and your 8-foot-tall goalie I wouldn't want to face you guys. Should be a great series.

  • Tman||

    Yeah, well scoring has never been a strong point here in Smashville, but hopefully the "BUILD BIG FENCE-PUSH PUCK IN OTHER NET" theory finally gets some success in the first round.

    This town will go completely bananas if they make it out of the first round though. We are starved to death for something like this to rally around.

  • ||

    You can make a serious argument that Weber and Rinne are the best in the world at their positions... when you have guys like that in your lineup, you always have a chance

  • ||

    I'll give you Weber, but I won't go that far re: Rinne at this point.

  • Tman||

    Rinne is hit or miss, but when he's on he's almost unbeatable. Which one shows up in the playoffs is anyone's guess. If we get the good one we have a shot at a Cup, if not I don't think we get out of the first round.

  • *,*||

    No love for Suter? Weber fell of the map when Suter was injured.

    Typical Poile/Trotz team, smothering team defense and scoring by commitee.

  • ||

    As a Blackhawks fan, I'm well aware of what Rinne can do when he's at the top of his game. I'm just not ready to declare him the best in the world, particularly when you have a defense and a system that make his job a lot easier.

    The dominant theory in hockey stats is that you need five whole seasons before you can really filter out all the noise and figure out how good a goalie is. I've seen enough guys go from good to bad (and sometimes back to good) that I believe it, and we just haven't seen enough of Rinne yet.

  • ||

    He won't be recognized by anyone as the best in the world right now because he doesn't have the performance history that some other guys have that are close and in that top tier with him. But that doesn't mean there isn't a strong argument for it. While there are other goalies that I would take ahead of him, I'm not convinced that any of them are better than Rinne right now.

  • Tango Mike||

    Fleury's playing better than anyone now. Should be, but won't, league MVP.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I think that overall problem that led the team to move to Phoenix ....

    The whole reason the teams left Canada was at the encouragement of Gary Bettman who thought putting teams in the Southern U.S. would increase TV rights dollars.

    Bettman is such an idiot I expect him to retire to a life of public service.

  • DJF||

    “””"It's not their role to decide whether the Coyotes should stay [here] or not."“’”

    How dare those citizens think that they have a say in where the government spends their money.

  • ||

    lol, John McCain really is dumb as the day is long. Amazing.

    www.total-privacy.it.tc

  • ||

    +1 Anonbot. Very nice.

  • Spiny Norman||

    It is interesting that Anonbot writes better comments than either Tony or Max.

  • Pip||

    And he doesn't suck diseased cock. Or bark.

  • Shrike||

    cuz he's a fucking bushitlerpigchristfag

  • prolefeed||

    What's so interesting? Even spouting random gibberish would suffice to beat Tony and Max.

  • Ralph||

    This asshat has been living off of gov't money his whole life: Military family, 2nd wife inherited a gov't imposed monopoly, has cashed a gov't paycheck his entire life. John McCain would be a nobody without the government.

  • ||

    Shouldn't he be paying us back for all of the planes he managed to crash?

  • ||

    The Phoenix Coyotes finished 29th out of 30 teams in home attendance this year (and the Yotes have made the playoffs each of the last two seasons, so you can't blame it on a poor product on the ice).

  • Ice Nine||

    It does seem curious indeed because when the average Arizonan thinks of team sports I'm sure the majority of them think of, what else, hockey. I sure know that the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of Arizona is ice skating.

  • Invisible Finger||

    With Bettman in charge, I'd assume the team would move to Monterrey before they move to Winnipeg.

  • Otto||

    Sad, but true. Idiotic, as well, since Winnipeg wouldn't need to give anyone millions to make a hockey team work there.

  • Lowdog||

    It's because they built the latest stadium in the suburb of Glendale - most of the fan base lives over 30 minutes to the East of Glendale. I am a huge hockey fan, play 2-3 times a week, etc, but I do not got to more than 3 or 4 games a season because of location.

    It will be sad for AZ to lose the Coyotes, but it was horrible decisions that got them into this mess to begin with.

  • ||

    Wow those smiles look so warm, so inviting...so genuine.

  • Almanian||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Sorry, I thought that was the Friday Funny.

  • NoVAHockey||

    Pens in 5. Rags oust the Caps.

  • ||

    I'm giving the Blackhawks a 30% chance of knocking out Vancouver in the first round. Not saying it'll happen, but don't be surprised if it does.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I could see that if "playoffs" Luongo returns.

  • ||

    Exactly. Plus the Blackhawks are way better than their record shows... they're third in the conference in goal differential. They certainly have their issues, don't get me wrong, and Vancouver is clearly the best team in the conference, but the matchup is much more competitive than your typical 1-8.

    Who's your team of choice? I would guess Caps based on your handle, but you are picking against them (though that doesn't necessarily preclude you from predicting another early exit).

  • NoVAHockey||

    While I never lived there myself, my family is originally from Pittsburgh and I inherited the yinzer gene. Pens, Steelers, and (sigh) Pirates.

    It's cherry blossom time in DC. That means tourists and a Caps playoff choke-job. ideally in spectacular fashion, like giving up an OT shorty or something.

  • ||

    Unless Roloson stands on his head you guys should be able to handle Tampa. I don't see New York knocking off Washington, but certainly stranger things have happened.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Caps won the Winter Classic, so therefore they are destined to participate in and lose the Stanley Cup Finals. It is written.

    I don't like it any more than you do.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    I had pretty much written this season off after Crosby and Geno went down. Anything past the playoffs is icing on the cake. As long as the Filthy Criers go down in flames again, I'll be happy.

  • NoVAHockey||

    Misses half the season and still finishes in the top 20 in goals. unreal. i should hate the flyers more. but i drive by the Verizon center daily.

  • Kristen||

    drive by the Verizon center daily.

    You drive in Chinatown? I knew there had to be people who actually drove cars down there because of the massive unending traffic jam, but I never thought I'd actually "meet" one!

  • NoVAHockey||

    it's not too bad if you know what lane to be in -- i take 6th 7th or 9th street to get to independence to pick up HOV 395. and 7th and H works much better now that there are no turns.

  • Really?||

    He is posting from his car.

  • Ted S.||

    Sidney Crysby already went down, thank you very much.

  • Tango Mike||

    He's ten times better than anyone on your team.

  • ||

    Let's Go Buffalo!

  • ||

    John McCain who holds the Senate seat once occupied by Barry Goldwater but does not hold Goldwater's views about governmental minimalism, calls the institute's actions "disgraceful" and "basically blackmailing": "It's not their role to decide whether the Coyotes should stay [here] or not." Well.

    It's not too early to start shooting them.

  • ||

    I can't believe I ever liked him. Ahh, the innocence of youth.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I can believe I never liked him.

  • alan||

    Same. He has been on my shit list since the 90's when he was part of the anti-smoking mob.

  • ||

    There are a couple of points I'd add.

    One is that McCain is often spotted among the few fans who show up at Coyotes' games. There's a charge floating around in the background that McCain's support for the team isn't about jobs or the people of Arizona; it's about John McCain losing his personal favorite team. ...and I think there's something to that.

    I think if NHL hockey managed to stay in Phoenix, after a while, it would flourish, just as NHL hockey has flourished in Anaheim, LA, Nashville, Dallas and Carolina. The reason hockey is having such a rough time right now in Phoenix is because of the local economy, the foreclosure rate, etc. It's one of the worst hit cities in the country.

    But expecting the poor people of Arizona to chip in $100 million or so just so John McCain can keep going to see his favorite hockey team play--amid all the economic hardship the people of Arizona are already suffering?

    That's absurd.

    The Coyotes actually made the playoffs this year! But their attendance was still at the bottom of the league.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance

    They probably won't even sell out their playoff games. If the people of Winnipeg (or Hamilton or Quebec) are willing to pony up, then that's where the team should go. Better yet, Toronto hasn't had a team since 1967--maybe they'd like to have an NHL caliber team?

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    I think if NHL hockey managed to stay in Phoenix, after a while, it would flourish, just as NHL hockey has flourished in Anaheim, LA, Nashville, Dallas and Carolina.

    LA is the only team in that list with close to full attendance. All but LA and (just barely) Nashville are in the bottom third in terms of percentage of filled seats. I'd hardly consider that flourishing.

  • ||

    Some of that has to do with the relative strength of the teams. The Islanders attendance would be better if they had a better team. Orange County would be right up there with the Kings if the economy hadn't been so bad and the Ducks' prospects for the season had been better from the beginning.

    On a percentage basis, most of those teams are looking pretty good--they're selling more than 85% of the their seats despite how brutal the economy has been in the Sun Belt since September.

    I think hockey tickets are about the first thing to get chopped from the family budget when times are tough, and with unemployment hovering around 10% since last September nationally, and even worse in the Sun Belt, I think those teams have done remarkably well...

    Except for Phoenix. They've had exciting players in Yandle, Doan and Bryzgalov all year. They're in the playoffs! ...and they still can't draw 80% capacity.

    JFTR, I don't think attendance is what the NHL is really concerned about anyway. I think they're really worried about TV ratings. The Phoenix metropolitan area will be a really large and growing television market going forward, and they want those advertising dollars.

    Look at Edmonton. They sell 100% of their seating capacity, and they still rank in the bottom third of the league! And how important is Edmonton as an advertising market in terms of cash flow to the owners of the NHL? Probably not as big of a deal as the Phoenix metropolitan area could be. There are 4 million people living in greater Phoenix.

    Edmonton has a million. You only need one fourth as many people in Phoenix to watch to have the same viewership as Edmonton.

    Winnipeg has 700,000 people. You only need about 1/6 as many people in Phoenix to watch to do better on viewership in Phoenix than in Winnipeg.

    Potential TV viewership isn't worth anything if you can't draw enough people to pay for the team--it means more to the owners nationally than it does to whether any one team can stay afloat locally, no doubt.

    Personally? I think the NHL should look at Las Vegas. They could put the area in one of the hotels and use it use it for Cirque du Soleil productions in the meantime. Vegas is hurting locally like Phoenix, but there are plenty of hockey fans flying in from out of town on any given day...

    It's a thought. Oh, and somebody should give Paul Allen a call. If they can put a baseball team in D.C. so close to Baltimore, they could put an NHL team in Seattle.

  • Scooby||

    Yeah, you need a much smaller proportion of Phoenixites (Phoenicians?) to watch to support the team vs. a Canuckian city- but it's in the middle of a fucking desert. Who's going to go to a hockey game once the novelty of seeing frozen water in Southern Arizona wears off?

  • Invisible Finger||

    The fact is only 5% of Phoenix gives a shit about hockey. If that 5% were the rich 5%, then it would be OK.

    They've had plenty of time, it's not working. Move the team elsewhere and let Phoenix try again in twenty years. If the demand is there it will eventually be met.

  • ||

    Yeah, the serious negotiations begin once tax payer money is no longer on the table. The team can negotiate with its creditors in or out of bankruptcy court too. It can renegotiate its lease, its labor agreements with vendors, etc...

    I can't see using $100 million in taxpayer money in such an economically hard hit city right after the worst of a recession.

    ...but none of those other creditors are about to renegotiate either so long as there's $100 million that might come to the team either.

    If you're trying to renegotiate money you owe me, and I think you have a reasonable shot at getting $100 million? I wouldn't renegotiate anything until I knew you definitely weren't getting that money.

  • ||

    The Coyotes actually made the playoffs last year too! I think the problem is two-fold: not only is AZ a non-traditional market, but it's also a transplant market, so most folks who do like hockey root for other teams. Maybe their kids will grow up to root for the Yotes, but can you wait that long?

  • ||

    Lot's of transplants, especially from Chicago. When I lived in AZ, It always seemed like the Cubs fans outnumbered the D-backs supporters. I wonder if the same ratio exists between the Blackhawks and the Coyotes?

  • ||

    I would guess so. I've only been to one Hawks-Yotes game in AZ (they happened to be in town while I was there to catch some spring training games) but it was at least 50-50, and that was back in 2003 when the Hawks suck-diddly-ucked. I watch pretty much every Hawks game and generally when they're playing in Phoenix it sounds like a home crowd to me.

  • ||

    They were counting on the snow birds. A big chunk of the population of Canada comes south for the winter--especially retired people. They keep homes in places like Arizona. They fly in in November, and they go back in April.

    When Jack Kent Cooke sold what was the LA Kings (and built the LA Forum to house both the Kings and the Lakers without any public money), he said he'd brought the team to LA because his people did a study and it showed that there were 300,000 Canadians living in LA at any given time, and he assumed they would come to see the Kings play in Los Angeles.

    Anyway, when he sold the team, he said something to the effect that now he knows why those 300,000 Canadians left Canada--those are the only 300,000 Canadians in Canada who hate hockey!

    He was joking, of course. It's just that Canadian hockey fans don't change their allegiances much--and they're not eager to buy tickets to see a team they don't really care about--just because it's NHL hockey. Just because they're loyal to their team, doesn't mean they're loyal to yours. And they are loyal. Being a Leafs fan, for instance, is like being in a cult! It doesn't matter how poorly the Leafs perform; it doesn't matter how badly the Leafs management treats them...

    Every once in a while someone will go over the edge and start throwing waffles on the ice, but for the most part, all it takes is one more win, and all the Leafs fans are back to planning the parade!

    They certainly aren't about to buy Coyotes tickets just because they're spending the winter in Arizona! ...unless the Coyotes are playing the Leafs. Especially nowadays with NHL Center Ice and Direct TV. If they can watch the Leafs from home on the computer or TV, they're not about to go pay to watch the Coyotes downtown.

    The NHL was counting on snow birds again.

  • waffles||

    They throw me on the ice? Brrr...that's cold man. Fucking Canada, always hating on the waffles.

    I do find the NHL to be weird in general. What other league has 90% of the players playing in a foreign country. I guess I could look it up, but not so many American players. How much of a youth hockey scene is there in Nashville, Phoenix, LA?

  • ||

    In Detroit they throw an octopus on the ice.

    Anything can happen in hockey. I've seen players attack fans. I've seen fans attack players. ...just this season too!

    Fighting is part of the game. It's faster and more physical than any other sport. I've seen guys get cut open--they stitched 'im up in the dressing room so he could get back out on the ice in the next period. The players don't do that in any other professional sport. Even in boxing, they'd stop the fight for a serious cut!

    Hockey has the stats appeal of baseball too. Traditions going back eons.

    It's an awesome sport. It's just that most Americans didn't play it as a kid, so they don't understand the rules, and they don't understand what's going on.

    If you didn't know the rules of football, you wouldn't understand why stuffing a run up the middle on 4th and 1 was an exciting play. If my fellow Americans would just watch it long enough to understand what was going on, they'd never stop watching ever.

    Enforcers and agitators. Octopuses and waffles. If I was John McCain, I'd be pissed too.

  • ||

    Octopi.

    If people who have never experienced hockey are interested in it enough to give it a chance, watch 5 games. It takes 5 games (relatively close together so maybe you'll remember something) watching on TV and a good announcer to learn to follow the game. If one game interests you at all, give it 5 games and you'll be a fan for life. Even better if you follow the same team for 5 games so you'll learn some of the players.

  • Tango Mike||

    I love football and am a huge Stillers fan, but there is nothing as exciting as playoff hockey. I can read the newspaper and watch football. When I'm watching hockey, I can't even eat a sandwhich 'cause I can't take my eyes off the screen.

  • Lowdog||

    There's a huge youth hockey scene in AZ...we've actually got some good teams and good individuals. Still not as good as Michigan, Minnesota, or even CA, but making progress.

  • ||

    Ken, you're making a ton of great points. I've gotten to know a few AZ hockey fans and their assessment of the situation is pretty similar. Many are diasporic Red Wings fans, and the 'Yotes are their secondary allegiance. They might take in another regular-season game or two, but they're primarily interested when the Wings are in town.

    Unfortunately, the attitudes of many traditional-market fans toward southern and western teams has given the latter a huge chip on their shoulder. That seems to cloud the policy issues for a lot of Coyotes fans, McCain included. They're quick to blame some cabal of Goldwater and Canadian fans who reject the legitimacy of their franchise. A lot of the (pretty uniformly awful) sportswriting on the subject relies on this narrative, pitting the plucky desert fans against an array of killjoys. It's easy to make the lazy cognitive leap from Goldwater to "conservative" to traditionalists against hockey in the South.

  • ||

    You make a good point, Lola. Hockey fans tend to bitch about their sport being relegated to a lower tier than the NFL, NBA and MLB, but then they bitch about expanding into the Southern markets. Personally, my issues with expansion were with HOW they did it (do we really need TWO teams in the LA area and TWO teams in Florida already?) but it's nothing but positive for the sport if they can expand into non-traditional markets.

  • ||

    Exactly.

    There's nothing geographically impossible about hockey in Phoenix--if Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Los Angeles and other towns are doing just fine.

    It's really leftover resentment towards the league for leaving Winnipeg. When a Canadian team leaves Canada--it strikes a nerve with the Canadian segment of the fanbase. And the idea that they went to place with a climate like Phoenix's just makes it stand out more. ...that's why the Colorado/Nordiques nexus doesn't get the same bad press.

    I'm especially sympathetic because I heard all these same arguments directed at my home team when I was growing up. My folks bought Caps season tickets their inaugural year in 1975 (I think it was), when I was just a little tiny kid. I grew up playing hockey in Maryland on the swamp behind the houses in my neighborhood when it froze, and I grew up rooting for Dennis Maruk!

    All the things people are saying about the Coyotes now, I used to hear people say the same things about the Capitals when I was growing up. Including the stuff about the climate! Our franchise was in terrible trouble over and over again--but look at us now!

    It still irks me to no end to hear other fans talk about us Caps fans as if we're bandwagon fans or new to hockey fandom--especially when it's coming from someone who was born a decade after I went to my first Caps season!

    The other point people sometimes miss is that the fans in tough sell markets are sometimes more hardcore fans than the fans in markets where hockey is really popular. It's easy to be a Canucks fan in Vancouver! ...especially if they're winning.

    It's hard to be a Coyotes fan. ...especially when they're losing. But it's the real fans who stick it out anyway--despite all the hardship. Show me some fans who root for their home team when they're winning, and boo their own goalie off the ice, and I'll show you a bandwagon fanbase. Show me a bunch of fans in Florida or Phoenix who show up and support the team come hell or high water--who put their money down for next year's season tickets despite all the talk of them moving out of town?

    ...and I'll show you some hardcore hockey fans.

  • ||

    The handful of real-life interactions I've had with 'Yotes and Thrashers fans bear out that assessment. I can absolutely see why those guys get feisty when the rest of the league chirps. (By "guys" I mostly mean "girls." Online, at least, I see more female fans in these markets, vs. male-dominated or mixed-gender fan bases They also seem to be the ones most defensive about the puck bunny label, but that may be a coincidence.)

    I know I lucked out as somebody who grew up around hockey in Michigan during the ascendancy of Yzerman. Sometimes I envy the absence of bandwagon elsewhere. Everybody knows the basics of the game, but you can't count on the guy in the expensive leather Stanley Cup Champions '08 jacket to be able to name the goalie, much less offer an opinion on the 2nd PP unit.

  • ||

    And also:

    I think if NHL hockey managed to stay in Phoenix, after a while, it would flourish, just as NHL hockey has flourished in Anaheim, LA, Nashville, Dallas and Carolina.

    Anaheim: 26th in attendance
    LA: 14th
    Nashville: 21st
    Dallas: 23rd
    Carolina: 20th

    I don't know if I'd call that flourishing, especially considering the first three are all playoff-bound and the fifth has one of the best young stars in the game AND hosted the All-Star Game this year.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I can't believe Columbus isn't at the very bottom in attendance despite the crappy product management has give us the past 11 years. Nationwide Arena was filled for a long time -- but patience has finally worn out. (On the plus side, the arena was built with private dollars.)

  • ||

    Between Nash and Mason I thought you guys had a core you could really build a team around; obviously it didn't really pan out. I blame poor attendance on your blatantly phallic mascot.

  • Seer||

    It's because Michigan has a good franchise, so Ohioans feel compelled to support their team so we don't beat them. Which we do anyway.

  • ||

    I love when Michiganders get all worked up about Ohio. All because both of your dumb-ass states fought a war over Toledo (WTF?) where the only casualty was a cow (double WTF??) and the loser actually won because 1.) you didn't get Toledo and 2.) you got the mineral- and pasty-rich Upper Peninsula (triple WTF???!!!).

  • Almanian||

    U.P. pasties for the win, bitches!!

    PS I almost died in Toledo when a truck took me out on my beloved ZRX1100 (RIP)...so I have an especially-irrational and personal hatred of that shithole. FUCK Toledo. AND Ohio in general.

    *back to work in the Metro-Cleveland area as a transferee who has one more year before returning to MI....*

  • ||

    My wife is a Michigander (as is my brother-in-law, as is my best friend from undergrad, as is my best friend from law school), hence my amusement at the whole Michigan-Ohio rivalry . . . and my love of pasties.

  • ||

    "I can't believe Columbus isn't at the very bottom in attendance despite the crappy product management has give us the past 11 years."

    It's the only major professional sport played in Columbus.

    No local competition!

    1.7 million people!

    I'll buy that for a dollar.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    It's the only major professional sport played in Columbus.

    Ohio State football would beg to differ.

  • ||

    I know it's hard for college sports people to understand this, but college sports are elitist.

    You don't have to have gone to Ohio State or know someone who went to Ohio State or be related to someone who went to Ohio State to root for the Blue Jackets. To root for the Blue Jackets, you just have to be from or have live somewhere around Ohio.

    And although college sports may be professional in all but name, they're not professional sports.

    They're just not paid for what they do.

  • Really?||

    Ken,

    Everybody cheers for Ohio State. You in no way have to justify a connection to that University to root for its football team in Ohio. You just don't.

  • Almanian||

    The entire fucking state of Ohio roots for OSU, no matter where they went to college themselves. Waaaaay worse than Wolverine fans (who are fucking INSUFFERABLE themselves). The state of Ohio is absolutely rabid for the Buckeyes.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Here's why pro sports are better:
    I just can't bring myself to boo a 20-year-old "amateur" wide receiver for dropping an easy catch.
    But I sure as hell can boo a $500,000 a year winger for missing an open goal.

  • ||

    "The state of Ohio is absolutely rabid for the Buckeyes."

    Regardless, there's not much competition for the only major professional sports team in Columbus.

    There's nothing surprising about a poorly performing team like the Blue Jackets drawing relatively large attendance numbers when you consider the size of the city of Columbus and the lack of competing professional major sports franchises.

  • ||

    "You in no way have to justify a connection to that University to root for its football team in Ohio. You just don't."

    And people in Cincinnati never have to think about that.

    People in Cleveland had to think about that for while, but now they never have to think about that anymore.

    They just don't.

  • Really?||

    Ken, I'm not following.

  • ||

    Cincinnati and Cleveland have NFL teams.

    Columbus doesn't.

    It just doesn't.

  • The Joke||

    Ken's Head

  • Really?||

    Among all of us here, CN, and because I know you work for the news, Nationwide is going to make an active attempt, and soon, to dump the arena onto the public (yes, despite Columbus rejecting that TWICE). Home attendance ranks at 25th, I believe, and a 34-35-13 record does not bode well for next season.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I know there have been rumblings. But it's going to be very hard to dump Nationwide on the city/county now. If the Jackets/Nationwide had struck after the (one) playoff season, the chances of getting some public support would have been greater.

  • ||

    Look at the percentages.

    They're doing alright.

    Attendance drops when the prospects for the team is bad--and the economy has sucked really, really bad over the past season.

    Anaheim, Nashville, Dallas and Carolina all had pretty slim hopes from the beginning of the season. If they had the Caps type prospects from the beginning of the season, they'd have Caps like attendance. The New Jersey Devils are down this year too--that's not a problem with their fanbase. That means they played terrible this year, and people are reluctant to pay to watch that.

    The Coyotes are in an unsustainable pattern. Nobody's talking about moving Nashville because its fanbase is unsustainable. Nobody's talking about doing that with the Kings or Anaheim. You'll get some brinksmanship like there was in Pittsburgh last year, when the owner wanted public money to renovate the arena. But Penguins weren't about to move anywhere with or without Syd the Kid.

    I think that's the way it is with LA and Anaheim too. They may whine and cry when they want something, but they're not going anywhere.

    Phoenix can't pay its bills.

  • ||

    Relative rankings isn't a useful metric for determining whether the sport is flourishing in a particular market. Look, instead, at percent home attendance (i.e., actual attendance at home games as a percentage of available seating).

    Some non-traditional markets:

    LA: 99.7%
    San Jose: 98.9%
    Dallas: 81.3%
    Carolina: 87.5%
    Tampa Bay: 87.8%
    Nashville: 94.3%
    Phoenix: 71.3%

    Anything over 90% is good; anything over 95% is very good. 98%+ is outstanding.

  • ||

    Toronto hasn't had a team since 1967--maybe they'd like to have an NHL caliber team?

    I didn't know you were Canadian, Ken. Hating Toronto and the Leafs is one of the basic tests of Canadian citizenship.

  • Cyto||

    Glendale’s new plan would bring the city’s spending to almost $400 million on a team valued at $134 million — a team that has lost money in each of its 15 years here.

    You see George, what you clearly fail to realize is the nearly limitless value of the goodwill and prestige created by a major league franchise in the city. Once you factor that in a half a billion is a bargain.

  • ||

    So, if I'm following:

    Glendale wants to give the new owner $100 million for something Glendale already owns, plus

    Glendale wants to give the new owner $97 million to manage the team that he will own.

    Assuming the new guy pays the NHL what the NHL paid for it, he will clear a cool $50 million in the first year. Even if it runs at its current loss rate for the first year, he will clear $35 million, a tidy, what, 30% ROI.

    For crying out loud, why doesn't Glendale just buy the fucking team itself? It would be $50 million cheaper.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Because that would be unconstitutional.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Does anyone remember that whole boxing thing McCain was involved in? He is a bitch for the commercial sports mafia.

  • Warty||

    You mean when he ruined MMA?

  • ||

    Leave it to the Maverick to ruin two half-naked guys alternating between punching each other in the face and dry-humping.

  • Tony||

    fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap, fap

  • Warty||

    It's good to be reminded that the people who voted against John McCain were correct. Fuck those idiots who voted for Obama, however.

  • Matt Welch||

    Speaking of which, what ever happened to beloved commenter Warren? Did he change his handle, or did the DOOOOOM! overcome him?

  • Warty||

    I haven't seen him in months, at least. Maybe he switched to Quake.

  • Spiny Norman||

    I was tempted to vote for McCain, but then I read this book about him in 2008. The author's name escapes me at the moment...

    Of course, I probably would have voted against him anyway after he announced his plan to basically nationalize all mortgages. And the whole free-speech-air-quote thing.

    But still, good book.

  • ||

    I'm not dead yet!

  • ||

    But you're still to blame for everything!

  • ||

    Hi Ken :) How's everything south of the border? Stop by the clubhouse sometime and say hello to the gang. Place isn't the same without you.

  • kinnath||

    Charles Keating had John McCain figured out 25 years ago.

  • Ky Voter||

    The dad from Family Ties?

  • kinnath||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Keating

    Can you say "Keating Five"?

  • ||

    Can we just assume any remotely sensible thing ever said by McCain about economics was essentially an act of ventriloquism by an "adviser" such as Holtz-Eakins?

  • ||

    They said if I voted for John McCain, he would remain a statist, war-mongering asshole. And they were right!

  • ||

    another reason to root for the Wings.

  • Almanian||

    They're gonna have a rough go, I think. With that said, as a Michigander I am required by upbringing, DNA and state law to root for the Wings (along with los Tigres, Pistons and even the lowly Leos). Hope they surprise me and do well.

  • ||

    There's never a reason to root for the Wings. Not after what they did to the Park County pee-wee hockey team. Plus they're the fucking Wings.
    -K

  • ||

    Like Almanian, I am required by Michigan law to root for the Wings. I know others have a hatred for them that is usually reserved for the frickin' Yankees...

  • ||

    +1. As a Chicagoan, I am required by Edict of Mayor Daley the Elder to root against all things Detroit except the Tigers (and only because I'm a Cubs fan and my enemy's enemy is my friend).

  • Really?||

    Rooting against Detroit is like rooting against a kid with leukemia.

  • Almanian||

    That made me snort Mountain Dew out my nose. Kind of hurt, but it was worth it...

  • ||

    Yeah, but I'm a Cubs fan, which is the sports fan equivalent of BEING the kid withe leukemia.

  • ||

    Oh bullshit. Rooting for the Red Wings is like rooting for the house in blackjack.

  • Esteban||

    Have these publicly financed stadiums ever lived up to the promises the politicians have made about them?

  • ||

    Does the Pope shit in the woods?

  • Really?||

    God I hope so.

  • Radical Christian||

    I KEEL YOU!

  • Almanian||

    Do the Chicago Bears shit on Catholics? Do VFW's serve fish on Fridays?

  • DK||

    I'm officially sorry I voted for Palin/McCain. Have been unofficially sorry for some time.

    Hey Matt Welch, time to strap on the skates and join a beer league. You'll have no larger life-altering experience this year; that's the DK guarantee.

  • AU H20||

    DK, it's okay.

    I... I... I voted for Obama.

    I did, however, split my vote, hoping for a Republican Congress despite the polls at the time.

    Hey, in a roundabout way, it's made the debt so damn bad we can't ignore it.

    ...

    ...Yeah, I'm sorry about that one guys.

  • Holy Cow||

    Right, because wanting to divert funds to a hockey team is the same as nationalizing health care.

    Anyone who thinks McCain would have been just as bad or worse than Obama re: domestic libertarianism is retarded. Really. You either have too many or too few chromosomes.

    And you have no functional understanding of politics and how it works.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Don't forget that McCain wanted to nationalize the mortgage industry. He was also key to getting the bailout passed.

  • prolefeed||

    If this was the only awful thing McCain had done, then maybe you'd have a point. But, this is the McCain in fn McCain-Feingold, among many other odious things.

    If your point is that McCain might have been marginally less bad overall than Obama, then fine. But if your point is that he is someone that any libertarian who walks the walk should vote for, wow.

  • Somalian Road Corporation||

    As a lifelong Arizona resident I loathe John McCain with every fiber of my being. Unfortunately the aged and mostly senile Republican demographic around here would vote for Karl Marx if he ran under the Republican ticket and wanted to build a border wall. See also Joe Arpaio.

  • Russ 2000||

    Anything fucked up with hockey is Bill Wirtz's fault.

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