Note: This column appears in the 6/19 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/20 issue of the Peoria Times
Note Part II: The title of this post is purposely awful
Many of my loyal readers -- cough*MomandDad*cough -- may recall that I, rather officially, declared myself a Phoenix Coyotes fan about a week before the end of their season this past April. This appears to be excellent timing on my part, with the news last week that the Coyotes as a franchise lost $30 million during the 2006-07 season, and remain dead last in the NHL in ticket sales.
It would seem that this perfect combination of ice hockey and the desert is now threatened. I mean, $30 million is a lot of money. You could fill up your car for almost an entire year with that kind of cash flow. (Notice how I interspersed a topical and relevant cultural fuel crisis into a column about hockey…hope you’re taking notes, kids!)) And being last in ticket sales within a league that has -- maybe up until this past season -- managed to slip out of the national consciousness is also not good news.
So the Coyotes are dead. Stick a fork in ‘em. Tear down the arena. Let’s start over. What’s cool these days? Mixed Martial Arts? Let’s do that instead. Roller derby? Whatever. Let’s just do it already.
But hold on, me! Are the Coyotes really finished as a franchise in Glendale? Let’s look into this a little bit further.
For starters, okay, the Coyotes lost $30 million. In 2006-07. Hey, thanks for the breaking news. But, ummm, is this really relevant right now? To quote the movie “Friday” (also topical and relevant, released in 1995), “Why you bringin’ up old [stuff]?” Seriously. Did you know that the New York Yankees lost $4 million in 1984? (I made that up, but still…could be true.) It ruined them as a franchise. Also, it’s 2008. If you look past the news that the Coyotes lost some money two years ago, you would see that they witnessed a 20 percent increase in finances this past season. And I actually did look that up, and it is true.
You got to be a stupid franchise to get fired in the offseason
Besides, contrary to what I had stated earlier, $30 million isn’t a lot of money. Maybe for you and me, it is. But not in sports. Shaquille O’Neal made $30 million, like, yesterday.
Oh, but the Coyotes are last in the NHL in ticket sales…so what? Who cares about tickets? That’s merely one aspect of a franchise’s financial stability, and the Coyotes saw increases in advertising and corporate revenue this past season, and I’m sure they saw it at the concession stands, too. Look, I’m going to be very honest with you right now -- the last Coyotes game I went to, I did not buy tickets for. I can’t say why, because it’s incriminating. Still though, I bought 17 beers while I was there. And a taco. And a shirt with a Coyote on it that I spilled taco sauce on. And my wife didn’t talk to me for a week afterwards. You don’t see those kinds of things in stupid “financial reports.”
Finally, the Phoenix Coyotes aren’t going anywhere because they’re only five years into the 30-year lease they signed at Jobing.com Arena, and the penalties for breaking the lease vastly outweigh what the franchise is actually worth. So, if nothing else, we’ll have professional hockey for the near future because the city is holding the Coyotes hostage. Hooray!
Of course, it would help matters if the Coyotes started winning, and if the franchise didn’t respond to this most recent news by increasing season ticket prices by 50%. (You should have done the opposite, idiots.) Nevertheless, count me among the many who can’t wait to go to a ‘Yotes game during the 2008-09 season, which starts, I think, in a matter of hours.
I may even buy a ticket. If I can afford it. Stupid gas prices. (See how I brought it back around? Aaaaaand we’re done.)
...but were third in cup-holder sales