Moving past the obvious fact that every sports team has its fair share of die-hard fans, it’s clear that teams such as the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers would be less endangered to relocate if their season tickets were selling like iPods. Instead, their games are generating Microsoft Zune-like attention, so they find themselves in a tough situation when it comes to selling their teams.
(The Dallas Stars are probably the equivalent to Pearl Jam’s music career by this analogy, then. They were hot in the ’90s, ignored once they fell out of favor and now are approaching previous levels even if most people haven’t noticed.)
When St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts announced that the team is up for sale – basically everything, including his 20 percent share, by the way – it marked a unique moment in recent sales news. Unlike the Stars, Thrashers and Coyotes, the Blues are a box office hit this season even though their team is middling at best.
Of course, with that almost-blind devotion comes plenty of emotion. Upon hearing news that their team might be on the market, Blues fans reacted in ways that ranged from genuine concern to boiling outrage (warning: the latter link is quite vulgar).
First, Jeremy Rutherford dispelled the notion that the team might move in his chat today.
Michael Cook: I feel like with all the failures the Blues have had with our owners throught the years, that it would appear to me that with in five years the Blues will be forced to move. Whats your thought on this? My reason is simple the Blues with a full sellout home crowd this year is still only a break even team.
MikeJeremy Rutherford: Here’s the key question: Where would they go? Would an owner take the risk of moving to another city where there’s no guarantee that they could withstand the initial novelty of having an NHL team. Possibly, but is it worth the risk? Fans in St. Louis have proven they will come out in droves, regardless of if they’re watching a playoff team. If you put a playoff team in front of them, the new owner can count on the support. And if the team ever puts it together and makes a real run, you’re talking about the possibility of playoff revenue and raising ticket prices and then you’re talking about some real money.
So here we are, five years later, and another failed owner for this franchise goes down. I stand by this team, as you all know. I refuse to side with Checketts, though, as I feel as if he has broken my trust. In business terms, he sold me what I thought was a cherry, and it turned out to be a total lemon.
This Blues franchise, despite never winning anything in the history of ever (or at least as I see it), is a proud franchise with a solid fan base. But we, as fans have had our trust in the management of this team tested way too many times. And now, it happens to me again.
As you can see, fans aren’t too pleased with the news, even if the team is unlikely to move. If nothing else, prospective owners cannot accused the St. Louis market of a lack of passion for the sport, though.
* – The Toronto Maple Leafs’ sale resides in a whole other dimension.