A timeline view of 2013 in NHL to Seattle news

I spent some time looking through twitter feeds and facebook posts to recap this busy logo red 2year. There were more events, quotes and news worthy items than is listed below. I tried to keep it high level and focused on events that shaped the NHL to Seattle news. Nothing on Markam, Las Vegas and very little on Quebec news. If you have questions or feedback on items I am missing, let me know.

January 21 – Announcement that a deal is in place for the sale of the Sacramento Kings being to Hansen-Ballmer group with intent to move to Seattle. Subject to NBA Board of Governors approval.

January 22 – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announces pledge to keep Kings in Sacramento.

January 28 – Coyotes deal with Greg Jamison falls through. NHL says they are still committed to Glendale. At this time, NHL to Seattle is secondary to NBA team but with rumblings on the Kings, the door starts to open for Coyotes moving to Seattle.

January 29 – Paul Kelly, former NHLPA Executive Director, says to a media scrum in Toronto, long term plan was to get the NHL to 32 teams.

January 31Two separate reports that the league would prefer to relocate a team to Seattle and expand to Quebec City & Toronto.

February 22 – ILWU lawsuit against City of Seattle regarding SoDo Arena plan dismissed.

February 26 – ESPN Radio reports Seattle is favorite city for expansion or possible relocation for NHL.HockeyView_MainConcourse

March 5 – Seattle Arena design passed by review panel.

March 7 – NHL & NHLPA agree on NHL realignment plan. The 4 division alignment two eastern divisions with 8 teams and two western divisions with 7 teams. Adding more speculation that the league would like to add two more teams in the west.

March 9 – Stern publically states Sacramento Kings Ownership Group deal too low which opens the door for a higher bid. This could be perceived as the moment Stern is guiding the Sac group to keep the team in Sacramento.

March – Tough to nail down exact date but the Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin mayor_kevin_johnsonJohnson, announces several “whales” of potential owners. The whales started with Ron Burkle, Mark Mastrov and ended with Vivek Randive.

March 23 – Mayor Kevin Johnson announces arena deal. The key here is that the potential Kings owner will not be part of the funding plan.

March 27Multiple reports that Leblanc and Gosbee are lead group to purchase the Coyotes with the intent to keep the team in Glendale.

March 27 – 7% Minority Stake of Sacramento Kings that was auctioned off in Bankruptcy court was sold to Chris Hansen.

April 7 – Gary Bettman states that preliminary research that he has seen indicates that Seattle would be a “very strong hockey market“. (This could be the first time I heard Bettman mention Seattle.)

April 8 – Ron Burkle is officially out of Sacramento Kings ownership group due to conflict of interest based on NBA League rules.

April 12 – Local Sacramento ownership group announces plan to keep Kings in Sacramento and match dollar for dollar the Hansen-Ballmer deal.

May 10 – Hansen/Ballmer increase bid for Sacramento Kings by 75Million.NBA

May 15 – NBA Board of Governors reject sale of Sacramento Kings to Hansen-Ballmer group.

May 18 – I did not win powerball so officially announce that I will not be part of any ownership group trying to bring an NHL team to Seattle.

May 25 – NHL and Renaissance Sports Group (Gosbee/LeBlanc) have a contingent deal in place to purchase Phoenix Coyotes.

June 4 – Herb Kohl says new arena will see to it that Bucks stay in Milwaukee. This begins Kohl’s public appeal to get some kind of arena subsidies from the state of Wisconsin.

June 12 – Ken Campbell from the Hockey News, reports that Phoenix Coyotes would move to Seattle and not Quebec should the City of Glendale not reach a lease agreement with LeBlanc and Gosbee.

June 14 – On Hockey Night in Canada’s Hot Stove, Elliotte Freidman from the CBC reveals that the Vancouver Canucks were blocked from moving their AHL affiliate to Key Arena. Additionally Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza are identified as potential ownership group that would move the Coyotes to Seattle.

June 15 – Chris Daniels confirms that a potential NHL ownership group has met with Seattle City officials & the Mayor McGinn had a phone call with the NHL offices and states that Seattle is a plan B scenario.

June 17 – Reports surface that Jeremy Roenick will lead hockey operations for Bartoszek/Lanza group.

June 21 – Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn tweets that he is confident that Key Arena will be ready to host NHL 2013-14 season if necessary.

July 2 – City of Glendale approves lease agreement with prospective Phoenix Coyotes owners Leblanc & Gosbee. Coyotes are staying in Glendale.

July 24 – NHL Deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, says the Pacific Northwest will get serious consideration in the2012+NHL+Entry+Draft+Rounds+2+7+lyfx4JlSpv9l future in case of a relocation or expansion scenario

August 1 – Report out of Portland is that Paul Allen might be interested in NHL franchise with the intent to have a team in Portland.

August 6 – Peter Steinbrueck defeated in Seattle Mayoral August Primary election. Steinbrueck was an opponent in the SoDo Arena plan.

August 15 – City of Seattle publishes first draft of Environmental Impact Study of Sodo arena. Proponents claim no red flags while opposition states assumptions are bad and should be thrown out.

September 9 – Sonics Arena rebranded to Seattle Arena in new design mockups. No official reason for change but hockey fans view this as a sign that hockey could lead the way to get shovels in the ground.

September 26 – Chris Hansen meets with NHL leaders in New York City. Meetings are downplayed and Bettman says they are “routine” and “people should not look into it”.

BV1kIHACUAAn1PoOctober 5 – ESPN Magazine publishes results from NHL Player Survey. Results for “Which city deserves a new NHL Franchise?”: Seattle #1 with 37%, followed by Quebec City at 27%.

October 29 – Maple Leafs CEO & Powerhouse NHL Executive Tim Leiweke says NHL has a once in a lifetime opportunity to put the NHL in Seattle.

November 5 – Ed Murray elected as new mayor of Seattle. Murray’s campaign message on SoDo Arena was that he will support the MOU that was signed by Seattle City Council.

November 9 – Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban states to the Dallas Morning News that he is open to NBA expansion. States, it’s a “good chance” of it happening.

Voila_Capture746December 3 – Reported that there are 3 groups interested in bringing an NHL Franchise to Seattle. Jeremy Roenick is identified as heading up one of the groups and was seen in Seattle, presumably to meet with Hansen.

December 10 – Bettman confirms there is interest in expansion and says they are listening. Reiterates that there is no prioritized list at NHL headquarters.

November NHL Attendance Report: Numbers still strong

November proved to be another good month for the NHL reported attendance numbers. Attendance was up 1% compared to games in November of 2011 and is up 2% for the first two months of the season compared to 2011. 2% might not sound like much but in a league where half the teams sellout every team, that is significant. Big gainers for the month were the usual suspects and the ones with the most opportunity for improvement: Dallas, Phoenix & Colorado all had increase of over 15% in November. They are also the top 3 teams for the full year to date. On the other side of the equation is Florida, Ottawa & St. Louis that were down 9%, 12% and 13% respectively.

NHL Attendance 2013 Oct-Nov  compare


Senators get the dubious honor of falling from the ranks of the Sellout Team group and are the only Canadian team to not sell out every game.

St. Louis

Last month there were several of us that speculated St. Louis was off due to the Cardinals playoff run but that was for October as November proved to be just as daunting. I looked at opponents and Day of the week and there was nothing that stood out. There were two Thursday games (Calgary and Colorado) that drew under 15,000 compared to their normal 18,000+ they were averaging in years prior for Thursday games in November. They had 3 Saturday games in November that were roughly 5% off their average. Any theories?

ST Louis byGamenumber

Here is the Illustration on days of the week for St. Louis for October and November games

St Louis game of the week

Here is how the Blues games have stacked up to the averages against those same opponents of the last 5 years: STL Matchups

Only the Nashville matchup stands out as “out-performing”.


I know there are a lot of people out there that are convinced that the NHL cannot work in Glendale. Two months don’t necessarily prove long term sustainability but you have to be impressed with what the new ownership group has done in such a short period since purchasing the team. Coyotes are up an impressive 21% compared to October and November of 2011. Last month the Coyotes had 2 of the top 5 biggest games for November since the Coyotes started playing in Jobing.com arena.

PHX by day of the week

Top 5 Games in Attendance during November since Jobing.com opened:

Coyotes top November games


There was some press last week on the Blue Jackets poor gate performance to date but the reality is they are up 3% through November compared to October and November of 2011. However, they were down 3% if you isolate November. Here is a look at the Blue Jackets Seasonality.

Columbus by month

Final thoughts

I know this isn’t perfect since this is reported attendance and not butts in seats but it is consistently reported this way over time and it is all we have. Attendance is one component but there are price points to consider as well. I.e. the Islanders might have 25% lower attendance than Ottawa but the Islanders average ticket price is 55% higher and therefore bring in more revenue. Secondary ticket markets and ticket giveaways make this tough to nail down but attendance is up rather broadly and that should be considered positive for the league.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

UPDATED: 9:20 PST on 12/5/13

I received several questions on Dallas and what is driving the spike. For one, it’s not sustainable. October and November of 2011 were brutal months for Dallas and it was right when they transitioned to the new owner so I imagine there wasn’t much Sales and Marketing going on before the season. We should expect to see decent growth in Dec, Jan and Feb but it might taper off.

Here is the seasonal month by month view of Dallas Attendance over the last 5 years.

DallasStars by Month

Arena progressing and potential NHL ownership group in town

UPDATED 11AM PST: Check the bottom of the post.

Chris Daniels teased us for about 24 hours when he tweeted that he would have an exclusive interview with Hansen to get an arena update and talk NHL first scenario.

Remember – after #MNF, tune into KONG or KING5 for the exclusive interview w/ Chris Hansen on the #SeattleArena status…

— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) December 3, 2013

…and then Daniel’s teased us hockey fans more with this one:

Here is a link to the King5 Video that eventually was posted: http://www.king5.com/sports/Chris-Hansen-Were-waiting-for-the-right-opportunity-234175161.html

Ok let’s recap the video:

  • Chris Hansen says arena is progressing & he is optimistic on working with the new city council member and mayor
  • Dow Constantine (King County Executive) says in a nonchalant manner that the MOU will probably need an addendum to lead with NHL
  • Chris Daniels mentions that potential NHL investors were in town and if that isn’t enough, read the quote from the article:

“a source who was in the meeting, says NHL legend Jeremy Roenick was in Seattle on Monday, along with an investment team, to discuss an expansion franchise and working with Hansen. It is believed Roenick wants to be the “front man” for the NHL franchise. He made an attempt to be part of a group to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle earlier this year.”

I’ve always thought that one of the biggest hurdles locally would be hammering out an agreement with Hansen and the potential NHL group. From the cities perspective, the first tenant should not matter as long as the terms remain the same. Being that Hansen made the intro of Bartoszek/Lanza Group to the Mayor & JR was rumored to part of that group, I think it is relatively safe to say that discussions appear to be going well on the Hansen-NHL group front.

It looks like JR is fitting in well: http://instagram.com/p/hcsFd6PTB2/#

11AM Update:

Apparently JR is part of a separate ownership group interested in brining a team here, not the Bartoszek/Lanza group that we has allegedly part of in June 2013 as part of the Coyotes “Plan B”. This is probably a good thing to help our odds with the team. Now they have two groups that are potentially bidding on Expansion team and Hansen now has two groups that he can try to come to terms with on his side of the deal. How this ends up is anyone’s guess but I for one would be ok with either ownership group. There is no way JR is a principle investor here so who those other parties are remain to be seen. Hang on boys and girls, this should get interesting.

Here is Aaron Levine’s tweets on the matter: