Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 06, 2021

First it was Gum, then Gumtrail, then Rippl3, and now (so far) it’s Peashoot.

That’s all for the same thing: A super-secret cross-channel Web analytics service that Dr. Dave yongfook has been cooking up for a while now. Whatever becomes of the project, at least he’ll have a modest package of domain names in the portfolio.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/06/2021 02:02pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Internet
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nolo relo
Unwilling to let a little thing like the Great Recession keep National Hockey League action out of the Golden Horseshoe, BlackBerry billionaire (C$) Jim Balsillie has pounced upon the Phoenix Coyotes with an offer to buy the bankruptcy-declared team and move it to Canada.

Plenty of reaction since this hit the fan last night. Let me just point out a couple of extenuating circumstances:

- The issue with Balsillie buying the Coyotes out of bankruptcy is key, particularly in this credit environment. Whereas Chapter 11 used to provide a reasonably long grace period for an organization to raise funds while still operating business-as-usual, the current tight lending landscape erases that former advantage. Without money from elsewhere to borrow, the Coyotes had to integrate Balsillie’s rescue plan into their filing, or else risk having their creditors force drastic action, i.e. selling of assets, etc. This doesn’t mean Balsillie automatically wins, but presuming all other options in Arizona and beyond have been tried, he’s positioned very well to have his bid accepted.

Secondarily, Chapter 11 provides a clean exit from the team’s long-term lease situation at Jobing.com Arena, which otherwise would have required a hefty payout to break.

- The league is rightly perceived as being against Balsillie’s latest attempt to muscle into the NHL boardroom. But not so much because of the territorial encroachment that a Hamilton/Waterloo team would represent to the flagship franchise in Toronto (and secondarily, the one in Buffalo). Rather, it’s because of the larger issue of major-league hockey constriction that having three teams (four, if you consider that Detroit’s not that far away) in such a concentrated area creates:

In a nutshell: You don’t tend to the long-term health of a sports league by effectively imploding it thusly. Jim Balsillie’s efforts to move a team north of the border have been seconded by Canadian pundits who argue that hockey’s following is so strong that, not only would a southern Ontario team get support, but so would a second team in Toronto, and so on.

That’s probably true. Just as it’s true that, even today, NFL teams in burgeoning suburban zones would probably do well. But in terms of league macroeconomics, it sets the stage for ultimate constriction of the product. It’s in the same category as league contraction — again, the notion that shrinking the NHL’s footprint would concentrate its energy and revitalize it.

Yes, I know I’ve beaten the no-constriction drum before. My feeling is that if it was a serious enough pratfall for the astronomically-successful National Football League to have avoided three decades ago, then it hardly seems like a good idea for its weak-sister hockey brethren to adopt.

- Finally, assuming that this inside track to relocating an NHL team into the Maple Leafs’ backyard comes off, I’m thinking that there’ll be a unique concession made to the incumbent club: Namely, that the new-look Ontario Horseshoes will be forced to remain in the Western Conference, instead of being realigned to the East. The Leafs are going to want to salvage something of their Greater Toronto monopoly, in the form of being the primary game in town to catch more games versus popular East Coast NHL teams. So they’ll force their new neighbors to stay slotted in the opposite conference.

Which might not be a bad deal for the locals. Remaining in the West would mean that the Western Canadian teams who now visit Toronto only once per season will be scheduled for multiple trips to the area. If the team gets shifted from the Pacific Division to the Northwest, that would mean even more visits from Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton. It would also keep in line the existing consolidation of the Canadian clubs into two divisions. Hockey paradise for those fans situated midway between!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/06/2021 11:29am
Category: Football, Hockey, SportsBiz
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