The Official Manchester Millrats to Saint John, New Brunswick Thread

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Minor League Man
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The Official Manchester Millrats to Saint John, New Brunswick Thread

Post by Minor League Man » Tue May 04, 2010 5:15 am

Why did they have to leave Manchester? When I posted KEEP THE MILLRATS IN MANCHESTER! on Ian's Facebook page, he left a lot of self-serving responses, basically trashing the community and saying Saint John will be a much better place. Even worse, Chris (formerlyknownasfells) actually agreed with him, citing the crowds of only 200 at SNHU.

Well, here's news for you, Ian-A CROWD OF 200 LOOKS MUCH FULLER IN SNHU THAN IT WILL AT HARBOUR STATION! Plus, he is COMPLETELY disregarding the excitement of their rivalry with Vermont (don't be surprised if they change their name to the New England Frost Heaves this offseason).

I even started up an online petition and posted it on the Millrats' Facebook page-no signers yet, but here goes:
http://www.petitiononline.com/millrats/

Thoughts on the move? Personally, I think the PBL has found its Clay Bennett here!
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Post by LandoG » Tue May 04, 2010 11:39 am

...hate to see the Millrats leave NH. Having said that, Saint John will do a good job hosting a PBL team. I hope they are already thinking about marketing.

http://www.nbhub.org/html/communtyprofi ... age001.jpg

http://www.qmjhlarenaguide.com/harbour.jpg

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Post by one way » Tue May 04, 2010 11:56 am

They are moving because they have no money. They are trying to be a big fish, but in the end they have no money. No fans and no knowledge on how to run a franchise. ANother market with potential ruined.

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Post by LightningMan » Tue May 04, 2010 12:05 pm

I hate to see any team move. I would have to know more about the fan support in the two areas to comment any further.

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Post by millratsgm » Tue May 04, 2010 12:48 pm

As most here know I am very approachable and reply directly to anyone who makes an inquiry of me. I haven’t posted on the boards in years and probably won’t again after this post. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] if you’d like. However Michael Burmeister has chosen to distort me so I’d like to set the record straight.

Michael, who is from Wisconsin, posted on my Facebook to: “KEEP THE MILLRATS IN MANCHESTER”.

Michael, I did not leave "a lot of self-serving responses"...I replied 1x to you and 1x to Chris Munson. Secondly I did not say anything remotely "trashing the community" of Manchester.

In fact I said "...it's not official but we're working hard at it. The folks at SNHU and Manchester in general have been great but it's a hard draw playing at a D2 facility in the woods and the Verizon Wireless Arena - run by SMG - it's not an option. We wanted a professional setting and the Harbour Station is just that."

On the online Petition you set up - which btw got 0 replies since you set it up yesterday -you state that you discovered this “on several video sites". Again, a distortion because there is actually only one video (http://www.haligonia.ca) where I stated how we were looking into the possibility, and how great the folks at SNHU and our fans in Manchester have been over 3 seasons. No trashing of the community buddy.

You state on the Petition that my saying "Manchester has been a great incubator" should be an insult. The context, which you leave out, was that playing at a low cost, smaller facility such as SNHU in Manchester was a great incubator – and it was. We have been able to operate on a low risk budget for 3 seasons, and have had a great time, and have accomplished a lot on the court and off.

You mention the great support the community has had for the Monarchs, the Fisher Cats, and the Wolves, and state that must means nothing to me! No it does, and the Monarchs play in the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Fisher Cats play in Merchantsauto.Com Stadium and the Wolves did play in the Verizon before they folded. (I guess you didn’t notice that they folded almost a year ago). You see the only problem in Manchester is that paying $30,000 a game to be in the Verizon does not work for minor league basketball. The Maine Red Claws investigated Manchester thoroughly and tried to negotiate with the arena but were unable even for a D-League team…so they moved on to Portland, Maine.

And Mike, my hometown is not Manchester; I am from Washington, DC. I founded the team in Manchester and am very happy with that decision. However, we are ready to take the franchise to another level and that isn’t physically possible in Manchester. There is only the small option (SNHU) and the large, expensive option (the Verizon) and nothing in between.

So while I appreciate your concern for a city 1,300 miles away, however since you aren’t the one paying the bills, I’d suggest you spend your energy rallying support for something more important such as raising money for Haiti or helping to fight the oil spill.

Now to clarify what is going on with the Millrats. We have been invited by a Canadian Company as a title sponsor to move the franchise to Saint John. We have spent the last 6 months visiting the city, touring the arena, and meeting with city officials, citizens, and prominent folks there. We feel like it will be a great fit. We have received a very favorable lease from the Harbour Station Arena. The consensus from all the people there is that the people are looking for more entertainment options and that they would really support it.

It is not a done deal; there is a lot of work yet to be done. There is a strong possibility of another Atlantic Canadian team for next season, so that would make a great region in Quebec, Saint John, Halifax, and the other one. It would make travel more viable and energize the region and the already-existing rivalries felt between the cities there.

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Post by formerlyknownasfells » Tue May 04, 2010 1:14 pm

Ian,

You and I have spoken quite a bit over the years and I for one support your decision to move to St. John.

Manchester is a tough area to build a team and you have given it a good shot. Yes, the Monarchs and Fisher Cats do well, but that is because those teams have the resources to pay the high rents those venues charge. Quite simply, any minor league basketball team outside of the D-League simply do not have that kind of money.

People also have to realize the dynamics of Manchester. Having lived there for about five years, it just isn't a huge basketball town. Hockey is huge, baseball does very well, but other sports just are not as big.

Think about it. Hypothetically if the Millrats draw an average of 200 fans a game, their average gate including concessions runs about $3,000 per game. (I am guessing here, I don't know the actual numbers) $3,000 a game doesn't cover things like payroll, per diem, rental of SHNU and the other costs that it takes to run a professional team. Now, take a place like St. John, NB which seems to have a solid fan base and is ready to support a team. If their average attendance is close to what it is in Halifax, Ian and his partners have the ability to bring in ten times the amount of money that they were in Manchvegas. It is simply a matter of economics. A move also cuts the travel costs down for the league and in turn helps everyone out.

That is what this decision is all about is the almighty dollar. The fan support in Manchester just isn't there. If Ian and the Millrats were drawing 1,500 a game, this would be a much more difficult decision. With 200 fans a game, I think the decision is an easy one. Good luck Ian and I hope things work well north of the border.
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Post by Minor League Man » Tue May 04, 2010 1:41 pm

Ian,

I got your Facebook message, and I apologize for any misquotations I might have given. I have decided that I should just leave you alone and let you go to Saint John, but with a Cleveland Browns-style deal:

1. You can't take the Millrats name, logo, colors, mascot, or history-that would stay in New Hampshire.
2. If any owner wanted to start up a new team in Manchester, you'd help him out.
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Post by ABARedWhiteBlue » Tue May 04, 2010 1:45 pm

[quote=""formerlyknownasfells""]A move also cuts the travel costs down for the league and in turn helps everyone out.
[/quote]

Just curious, but would the PBL require St. John to cover the travel expenses for opponents like Halifax does? And how would that added expense impact the transplanted franchise?
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Post by wellington » Tue May 04, 2010 1:58 pm

Saint John will make for a solid basketball market and the rivalry with Halifax should be fantastic. It is a great city -- kind of a gray place though due to it's location on the Bay of Fundy... reversing falls is an interesting phenomenon (except the huge paper mill/factory next door is a bit of an eyesore).

The only downside is going to be the impact on league-wide travel. It is a good thing for Halifax, Quebec... but not so good for Lawton-Fort Still.

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Post by formerlyknownasfells » Tue May 04, 2010 2:04 pm

[quote=""ABARedWhiteBlue""]Just curious, but would the PBL require St. John to cover the travel expenses for opponents like Halifax does? And how would that added expense impact the transplanted franchise?[/quote]

I have no idea. That is something you would have to talk to Ian about. 99% of the time I keep my head in my own league, but I saw this and had to chime in.
"Of all of the things I have lost, I think I miss my mind the most."

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