This has been in the news for quite awhile. Are the Coyotes moving from Phoenix, are they staying put? The other day, I was approached by some folks at lunch that asked – what is my opinion on the subject. Not to be short on any opinion about hockey, so I gave my dollars worth of thoughts.
On staying or going: I really will be disappointed if we lose the Coyotes. I truly understand if it happens. Business is just that business. There is no way that any team can continue to survive when you lose money every season.
On some of the shortcomings that will likely lead to leaving (or maybe some thoughts on how to improve if the stay put). This economy is definitely going to have some impact, that is a fact that is not going away anytime soon. So, how do you do better.
- First, the Coyotes really need to market their product! Since they have come to Phoenix, the ownership has changed hands. The team has done little to drive up fan base. The players are largely unknown. If you are going to market the team and its players – then do it. Don’t just put up billboards, some fancy slogan commercials or update the website. Get out and be with the consumer! Not just go to the rinks and interact with the youth hockey players – you already have them. Get out and market this great game.
- Put a winner on the ice! Frankly, Phoenix is a bandwagon area, if you are winning the fans will come. You do not need to go far to see that when the Suns were winning the stands were full, struggle and empty seats start to show. The Dbacks win the World Series and they break attendance records, watching them on TV today – is like watching 10 rows of fans in each section. Now, let’s talk Cardinals football – a few years back every game was a home game for the visiting team. The past two years things are turning around on the winning side and the fans are coming out for the Cardinals. Another reason for strong support – they only play 10 home games, including pre-season (and if they are in the playoffs – maybe one or two more). You can not keep building on a slow pace, the average Phoenix fan will not wait. I don’t think you can afford to wait for them to pay you.
- Convince Wayne Gretzky to decide if he is an owner, managing partner, front man for the Coyotes or the coach. Too many hats just do not work. Stretch anyone that thin and the focus on all of the roles just gets peanut buttered across.
- Teach the game.. Get coaches and players out and really teach the potential spectators what to know, how to watch the game, some potential strategy, situations – anything to get the fans to really see why this game is great.
To the league…
- Make changes in the length of the season. Right now the regular season is too long (hey, I like as many games as possible) but you are competing for limited funds. A season as long as basketball is too much. Less regular season… Finish up your playoffs during the break between March madness and NBA playoffs.
- Commissioner – come out from underneath the rock and realize that this great game needs some help. To keep saying that everything is good, there are some struggles but all is fine. That is way old, there needs to be some definite help. Either step up or get out of the way.
I have played hockey in my youth and as an adult, refereed for a few years and coached youth sports for quite a bit – there is no better sport.