Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 16, 2021

locked 'til ???
As I noted earlier, this year’s National Hockey League season is kaput. And while the end has been in sight for weeks now, the finality of it provided that final jarring feeling.

It’s natural to assign blame for the first major-league full-season cancellation. Fans, predictably, are blaming the players, assigning it to greed. Bloggers, who for the most part are fans as well, pretty much are pinning it on the players as well. Reporters and analysts have parceled out equal shares of damnation to both sides, especially as the dispute dragged on; but even there, the underlying feeling had been that the players needed to acquiesce.

So mostly, the public sentiment has been that the players are responsible for no games this year. With that, let me make the following statement:

It is all the owners’ fault — without exception, without qualification, without a shred of doubt.

Clear enough? There’s no NHL hockey this season, and it’s the owners, with their greed and their duplicity, who have killed it. Not the players, not their agents, nobody but the boys in charge.


- The moment a team owner ceases to complain publicly about how much money he’s losing, give me a call. NHL owners have claimed long and loud about how much red their team operations are bleeding; some of them have been doing so for decades. It has to be considered a miracle just how any business, much less a high-volume one like major professional sports, can lose mountains of cash year after year, and yet continue to stay in business year after year.

- Salary levels rise year after year in the NHL; it’s a given. Yet every time a franchise comes up for sale (either an existing club or through expansion), buyers line up to grab the brass ring. If the business model is so lousy, why would anyone pony up for what’s allegedly a sure money-loser?

- The owners claim to have offered to let the NHLPA look at team books. When those books show overhead expenses like rent — for facilities that just about always are owned by the same holding company that controls the team — and municipally-owned parking lots, it doesn’t take much savvy to figure that there’s a lot of cooking going on.

- I’m sure every business owner on the planet would love to have “cost certainty” built into their operations. But last time I checked, when you run your show in a free market, the only certainty you have is competition — for talent, for results, and for the opportunity to show you can succeed against your peers. An entertainment venture measured (mostly) in wins and losses is the most transparent way to demonstrate that.

I can go on. I can point out how the owners abandoned the semantic dancing around not calling their various proposals “salary caps” — for the past two week, “cap” dropped from Bettman’s and Daly’s lips freely. I can mention how, for a decade, the league opted to continue operating under the last collective bargaining agreement that was killing them, despite having two opportunities to end it. I can bring up another half-dozen things that show how hollow their poverty-pleading is.

But why? Bottom line, the owners stonewalled by negotiating via fiat, forcing the union to make a last-ditch effort in accepting a cap, then pulling the plug despite this philosophical agreement. It’s over, the process basically begins again from square one, and my fingers are crossed for on-ice faceoffs come October 2005.

Life goes on. Eventually, so will the NHL.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 11:33:33 PM
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz | Permalink | Feedback (4)

touch me
When Donald Trump graced Tampa with his newest high-rise development, I figured the biggest benefit to The Big Guava would be simple association with The Donald’s magic touch.

That’s very much the case. Otherwise, there’s scant chance that Tampa would be the centerpiece in a USA Today piece about the rise of luxury condo towers across the country.

Much like landing a major pro sports franchise, getting Donald Trump to put his imprint in your ‘hood signifies that you’re bigtime. The surface logic is that, if Trump deems the area to have deep enough pockets for him to operate, then it’s good enough for other higher-end endeavours.

There remains some skepticism about the Tampa Bay area’s worthiness:

[Tampa Downtown Partnership president Christine] Burdick discounts questions about whether there are enough people here who can afford Trump Tower Tampa. “There is money in this area,” she says. “There are people who want to invest in a quality housing product.”

This is in line with the theory that most of the Trump units are being bought up by out-of-town investors. Doubtless that’s part of the market; but according to real estate agent Toni Everett, that’s not who’s driving the initial buy-ups:

“We thought most of the reservations would be coming from out of town, but it’s been mostly local or from the surrounding areas,” said Everett, as she raced to fax the reservation agreement to New York. “Out-of-towners have shown interest, but it was all reserved before they could sign up.”

If reservation-holders become residents when the Trump project is completed in about three years, the high-rise will be occupied by young to middle-age business people, some of whom have moved from as nearby as Harbour Island. Everett said none of her buyers have been retirees, and only a handful intend to use it as an investment.

It’s been a low-level secret that plenty of money resides on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A lot of it belongs to retirees, but there’s a growing younger class that’s developing its own prosperity. They’re actively looking for ways to invest that cash, and they don’t necessarily want to invest out of the area.

Could this area truly be ready for primetime? Ready or not, Trump’s seal of approval is accelerating the arrival.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 10:51:08 PM
Category: Celebrity, Florida Livin', Business | Permalink | Feedback (2)

All kinds of things going on at Poynter this month… This coming Tuesday, New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. will participate in a moderated public discussion at the Institute.

I’m going to decide tomorrow whether or not to attend. Word is spreading, so it’s bound to fill up shortly. How often do you get a chance to ask the top dog at the Grey Lady a question?

If I do go, I’ll just have to post something about it.

Poynter is accepting questions submitted via email, for those who can’t attend. Keep it clean, folks.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 09:51:54 PM
Category: Media | Permalink | Feedback (1)

I’ll have to mark my calendar for this one: Sports Illustrated’s “Hot Shots” Photography Exhibit is coming to the Poynter Institute in two weeks, starting February 28th. It’ll be worth a lunchtime visit. I can probably even stroll over there from the office.

Most of SI’s contents aren’t worth much of a browse these days (Frank DeFord being the notable exception). But the “Illustrated” part of the magazine is still the gold standard for sports photojournalism, in my opinion. I’ll relish the chance to gawk at 50 prime examples from its pages.

Just hope there’s a few good hockey pics. If they’re not playing this year, I’ll take stills as a scant compensation. (Actually, considering this is Stanley Cup territory, there’s bound to be at least a couple of Tampa Bay Lightning action shots.)

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 09:39:21 PM
Category: Media, Sports | Permalink | Feedback

you nicks
What can I say, I have a minor weakness for vanity license plates. And with the ACME License Maker, I can recreate the notable ones I spy during my road travels.

I just know there’s some techie geek gazing upon this “Unix OS” Florida plate and salivating. Too bad it’s already taken.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 07:27:11 PM
Category: Tech, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)

They pressure-washed the front of my building today, including my front door and stoop.

The bleach content of the cleanser is way up there. I could see someone who has any sensitivity to the stuff totally gagging if they had to walk through their front door.

But at least the joint is grime-free. and you can’t smell the stuff indoors, thankfully.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 06:53:54 PM
Category: General | Permalink | Feedback

It’s all over but the cryin’.

Not that I actually am crying. Maybe a little part of me is. But I was resigned to the 2004-2005 NHL season biting the dust, despite the faint glimmers of hope right up until the end. The shoe skate has dropped, so now it’s time to look forward.

I’ll have more to say about this tonight. But in the meantime, in way of a preview and of demonstrating my feelings at this moment, I’ve swiped adapted a little exercise from Princess Wild Cow. Feel free to partake:

1. On your Windows PC desktop, empty your trash (if it isn’t already empty).

2. Open a new file on your PC.

3. Name it “Gary Bettman”.

4. Save it onto your desktop.

5. Now send it to the trash.

6. Empty the trash.

7. Your PC will ask you, “Do you really want to get rid of Gary Bettman?”

8. Answer calmly, “Yes” and press the mouse button firmly.

9. Feel better, don’t you?

Why, yes. Yes I do.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/16/2005 04:26:56 PM
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz | Permalink | Feedback (1)