The race for the one of the “Big 4” sports franchises (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) to enter Las Vegas was won by the NHL. On June 22nd, 2016 NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that an expansion team had been born in Vegas. 310 days later, the Vegas Golden Knights have already been put on death watch.
Breaking: The Raiders’ move to Las Vegas has been approved 31-1, per @AdamSchefter.
The Dolphins voted against the move. pic.twitter.com/0plIIUztjl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 27, 2017
When you read those words, “The Raiders’ move to Las Vegas has been approved”, you should hear a judge’s gavel hitting the bench after handing down a death penalty in the background.
When listing the “Big 4” earlier, the NFL truly sits #1 on the list while the NHL is firmly entrenched as #4 (outside of Canada anyway eh). Through no fault of their own the Vegas hockey team, who reportedly have over 13,000 season ticket deposits, saw whatever momentum they worked so hard to develop completely squashed! Staff writer Kail Schofield feels no remorse for the Golden Knights:
I have zero sympathy for the ownership or the league. They (NHL) crammed that move in the face of common sense!
Kail then very simply, and undeniably, explains how the addition of the NFL Raiders has completely undercut the Golden Knights:
The Raiders have a far greater chance to succeed for the following reasons:1) only 8 home games versus 41 for the NHL. With 8 games, you can treat it like an event!2) Raiders are a BRAND, a lifestyle. The Golden Knights are going to be an answer to a trivia question.3) THE NFL, for all its evil, knows how to market.
For some reason we are always compared to Phoenix when we should be compared to the market closest to us which is Anaheim. The Coyotes are a terrible comparison because that market has the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, and Arizona State sports. The dollar will only stretch so far when your product is less than average.We have 41 million people walking 200 yards away from the arena with 2.3 million residents with a large portion of them from East Coast cities or hockey cities.The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly do not play in a traditional hockey market but fill over 96% of their building which is better than the Ottawa Senators. We are a city built on the impossible becoming possible. Las Vegas needs to make promises of making this a huge event 41 times a year. If done correctly I don’t ask how the NHL can compete with the rest of the Vegas entertainment, I ask will they be able to compete with the NHL.
One can argue the argument is apples and oranges comparing an expansion team to a transplanted team. With so many options in the NHL of teams that could/should/would have made more sense to transplant instead of going the expansion route, this team is already in trouble. The Golden Knights in the NHL cannot compete with the juggernaut that is the NFL marketing machine. We hardly knew ye!
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