Thursday, August 30, 2007


The Peerless found a reference to this article in his mailbox this evening, and it set him to wondering, "is the NHL really growing?"

Well, maybe not. The Peerless also remembers this analysis by the Globe and Mail on complimentary tickets, and that set him to wondering if the higher revenues the league is enjoying is less a product of growing the fan base -- a byproduct of the appeal of the on-ice product -- and more a product of price escalation on items at the periphery of the on-ice product and puffed up statistics.

Then there was this, the latest in those persistent, just-under-the-radar stories that hint at potential expansion, and it set The Peerless to wondering how one-time infusions of fees are a good thing for the long term health of the league.

Higher prices for merchandise and tickets, inflated attendance figures, hints at juicy (albeit one-time) expansion fees down the road. The Peerless was set to wondering how the league was going to grow the product when a stagnant volume of fans are tapped out of ridiculously priced merchandise, charged ticket prices beyond their affordability, and stuck with a diluted product...

The intersection of these wonderments might suggest a good investment for potential owners -- in the short term -- or benefits (or at least tolerable burdens) for corporate swells whose interest is less in hockey than in having a place to entertain clients.

None of this sounds like a very good deal for fans or families. Maybe the NHL had better beware that as it drives through this intersection, it doesn't end up in a ditch.

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