Friday, July 15, 2011

Smackdown In Glendale

I’m going to do something I thought I would never do. I’m going to help Elaine Scruggs. I mean really the whole situation in Glendale went beyond a joke and into the realm of absurd a long time ago and I need to see it end. So as a public service I’m going to lay out a multi point plan that’s going to get Glendale out of this mess and at the risk of confusing Glendale city council I won’t even ask for an outrageous consulting fee.

Step number one, as with any addict in recovery is to admit you have a problem. Glendale and the greater Phoenix area need to come to grips with the fact that they are not a hockey town. I’m sorry they just aren’t.  I’m saying that without even relying on the old biases of weather and latitude. The simple fact of the matter is that very few people (relatively speaking) in Arizona care about the NHL. The fact that they have consistent on-ice success and they can only sell 7000 season tickets in a metro area of 5 million is the first tip off.  The second clue is when they can’t fill the rink on free beer night. Most people will go almost anywhere for free booze, think about it.  The last and most humiliating reason is that when the Detroit Red Wings or Vancouver Canucks come to town the cheers are louder for a visiting goal than a home goal. It’s time to say goodbye to NHL hockey, I’m sorry it just is.

Step number two is to give the NHL their comeuppance. The NHL has played a lot of games in Glendale and has convinced the tax payer to shell out a lot of cash to try and pump their own TV deal agenda. Being able to say there's an NHL team in phoenix has been a long time selling point for the NHL when pimping a TV deal and the last one was no different. Most of the heavy lifting of paying for the rink and keeping the team afloat has been borne by Glendale. So here’s what they need to do; withhold the promised 25 million to keep the team in Phoenix next year. Lay the smackdown on the NHL and if they say “we’ll move the team”, say go ahead make my day. Remember you have already resigned yourself to the fact you don’t need hockey anymore and really where are they going to move it too? Quebec to play in Les Collissee? Fine it’s probably for the better anyway. Send the NHL carpetbaggers packing.

Step three, Take that 25 million and hire a top notch arena manager and booking agent. Someone with a proven track history of getting the big acts. For the right money, the right people can have that arena full almost every night of the year with WWE, tractor pulls, motor cross, Disney on ice, etc, etc, etc. Kansas City has done a nice job of building a new arena and keeping it full, without the aid of and NHL or NBA anchor tenant. Follow that model and make the investment pay, instead of paying for the investment.

Step four, make nice with the native band. The new casino project and the gaming license that goes with it could be a huge draw for the nearby arena as well. Get slot machines into , hold joint events with the casino, like MMA and boxing . Basically anything that puts buts in seats at is a good thing, and the casino can help. Chances are if Glendale drops their ridiculous litigation, the native band will be more than happy to help with promoting the rink.

There you go, easy as pie, a simple four step plan that turns into a money maker instead of a drag on the public purse. When the loan is paid and the acts are rolling through, then go back to Jerry Reinsdorf and sell the arena to him for a big wad of cash. That will mark the exit of the Glendale arena experiment and the city can go back to collecting stray shopping carts and buying cars for the local police department. On second thought, maybe I should send the city of Glendale an invoice; It seems they only listen when they’re getting fleeced.

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