View Full Version : The Red Flags are flapping in the breeze!

Ken, Steelheads fan
04-21-2004, 02:15 PM
Hey Meyes!

Remember back when I said the Guaranteed Win promotion held by the Rockford Lightning (Guaranteed win being the team guarantees a victory or everyone gets into the next game free) was a bad idea? That type of promotion raises a red flag everytime--"Help! We're losing a ton of money either way!"

Remember when you told us the Guaranteed Win promotion was not an unusual promotion--the Indianapolis Ice did it from time to time? Well, I guess the Ice were flying a red flag of their own. They are now history as a professional franchise.

:wink: ...of course their demise could have been due to the recent Tonya Harding promotion the Indianapolis Ice held...and just think. I was tempted to make the drive down to Indy to attend THAT game. Tonya Harding is on my short list of American icons I have always wanted to meet.[/u]

04-21-2004, 02:43 PM
Aw hell, don't overdo this one.

The Colorado Rapids were doing that trick in year one. They're still around, playing in an oversized stadium, usually drawing 60,000 on July 4, generally averaging over 15,000 these days, with a new owner promising to build the team a new park in the 20K range next to Pepsi Center. Yes, soccer. Of course, I don't think they do guaranteed win anymore... :lol:

Ken, Steelheads fan
04-21-2004, 11:40 PM
The more I try to understand minor league sports (start-up operations in particular), the more I cannot see past the warning signs. Maybe it is because of high failure to success ratios. I'm not sure of the reason, but a lot of red flags seem to be popping up lately.

Take the OPBA (Ontario Professional Basketball Association) which begins their first season May 28th. One red flag went up right away when the threads on their website message board all read like "info-mercials".

The second red flag went up when one of the league founders stated they would hold-off making major announcements about the league until close to the beginning of the season--for maximum impact. Hmmmm. Sounds like yet another league trying to sneak-up on their fans. What's up with that anyway?

The third red flag went up--and I have never been to Ontario, but my perception is that far more people here in the Chicago area know about this league than people in Ontario. Of course, this relates to the second red flag above (marketing strategy). Maybe it is not time for the people of Ontario to know about this league.

Sam Hill
04-22-2004, 04:24 PM
Ken, IF you knew the background, you'd know that (a) the Ice have long been famous/notorious for their promotions, and (b) there's really no connection between the "Guaranteed Win Night" promotion and the fact that Horn Chen sold the name, assets, and leases (not the franchise - he still holds the franchise and said he's not sure yet what he's going to do with it, but it may just be idle for a while) to a guy who brought a USHL team in.

Chen said he lost a lot of money owning the Ice. Big surprise. He lost a lot of money owning them the first time he owned them, he lost a lot of money in his other CHL franchises, and he lost a lot of money in his CFL franchise. He, and minor-league sports, are quite often money-losers.

You're drawing a correlation that just isn't there, simply so you can say "I told you so."

Ken, Steelheads fan
04-22-2004, 07:35 PM
Darn! And I thought I had another big "I TOLD YOU SO!" :shock: :)

Although you kinda proved my point. Chen lost a ton of money on the Ice. I'm new to the "Guaranteed win" promotion. The first time I heard about this kind of promotion, a red flag went up. It sends the wrong message in my opinion. The Manute Bol and Tonya Harding promotions were much better...the Manute Bol stunt is still shown on ESPN every now and then.

Minor league franchises generally big money losers? Agreed. Think about it. All of the major league franchises are playing in new (or significantly renovated) taxpayer subsidized arenas/stadiums/ballparks. The minor leagues will have to follow suit (the ones who haven't already done so) to survive.

Sam Hill
04-22-2004, 10:24 PM
Well, that's part of it, obviously, but part of it also is that there's less of a market for this product than those products. But teams usually either don't spend like it, or the costs of doing business are simply too high for them to hope to recoup because of the relatively limited appeal of the product.

Horn Chen lost money in the IHL. He lost money in the CHL. He probably would have found a way to lose money if they'd dropped to the UHL. He was in a money-losing situation. Especially back in the early 90's, before the minor-league hockey boom, as now, you have to do those types of promotions to get attention, cut through the clutter, and hope to have a chance to survive.

Though I'm not sure that there's anything most teams can do. I'm amazed at the number of teams (in all sports) that continue to exist despite (just guessing here) losing scads of money.

Ken, Steelheads fan
04-26-2004, 01:37 PM
Check out what Mary Liss of the Portland Reign has to say about having a place to play. If this doesn't send-up a red flag, then nothing will:


Reminds me of previous posts on this board about people announcing that they have a new franchise, but not having an idea of where they will call home.

The plan is to convert a convention center into a 3,000 seat arena? Not the reality, but still in the planning stage? And what about her plan to play some home games in surrounding cities? Arena availability in surrounding cities seems to be an afterthought too...also a plan, not reality.

It will be an interesting 2004-2005 season for the ABA.

Sam Hill
04-26-2004, 02:52 PM
Seems to me that if you're going to convert a ballroom into a basketball arena, and then you're only going to play 10 games in it, it doesn't seem like you're going to be able to pay for the conversion, unless the local government helps you out with the costs.

And I don't know what the conversion would entail, but you'd think you'd need 3,000 bleachers at least - and they're not all that cheap. Not to mention scoreboards and clocks and things.

Ah, what the heck, they're up to 24 teams now - if they have a few fold, they'll still have a huge league. What's to worry about?

04-26-2004, 03:32 PM
I will say that the Oregon Convention Center is a large place (not as big as San Diego's, however). The problem will be actually finding the right ballroom, and enduring the walk to it. I've been there for something of a soccer convention prior to World Cup '94- the space is certainly there. I can't imagine this being a cheap rent, however.

Salem has the old Armory, which seats about 3,000, used to host girls HS basketball championships (more than one Olympic gold medalist has passed through there, in fact), has or had the scoreboard, and what not. Frankly, at 50 miles away from Portland in a quarter-million segment of the Portland market, that would be the better place to play, provided they haven't half-torn it up since the girls left for Portland.

Pendleton? :lol: :roll: At least they have a facility that might, might, be able to sell beer. You have to look at the size and location of the town.

Ken, Steelheads fan
05-01-2004, 09:46 PM
Have to file this one under the "Visions of dollar signs danced in their heads" department:


It's always good to think positive, but isn't Alltel Arena @ 18,000 seats a bit much for minor league basketball? Take the Gary Genesis Center @ only 6,200 seats. Seems like you are sitting alone in the great outdoors with a crowd of about 1,600 at the Genesis Center. I wonder what the atmosphere will be like at Alltel? Heck! I wonder what the expenses will be like?

Sam Hill
05-02-2004, 12:48 PM
RimRockers? Does Mark know about this? ;)

Yes, 18,000 is too big. I'm going to guess the rent on the building is going to be steep, and they'll have trouble making that money back.

Otis Birdsong has always seemed like a good guy, a sharp guy. I hope it works out for him.