directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Momentum killer!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Momentum killer!

Just as the on-ice product was finally showing signs of getting somewhere we get the off ice bomb dropped on us yesterday that the team has lost over 80 million since the 02-03 season.

Talk about a momentum killer. Better yet try a momentum brick wall.

Honestly could the timing of this be any worse?

The team just made the playoffs after 8 long miserable years. The team will be trying to extend its franchise player. Morale is up. People feel good about the direction of this franchise and then BOOM!

From the Dispatch:

After losing $80 million in the past seven years, Columbus Blue Jackets owners are hoping that selling Nationwide Arena to the county could stave off serious discussions about moving the team to another city.

Asked if failure to approve the plan would force the team to leave Columbus, Priest said:

"The reason we're being proactive and working and talking is to find a solution so that we don't have to go down that road or have those types of discussions. The whole purpose of this is to avoid that. Other teams have been through this and have found solutions."


Yes, if we do not find a solution John P. will consider selling the team and that may include moving it.

One has to wonder how much John P. even cares about this franchise. I read earlier that Jackets President Michael Priest was quoted as to saying the financial evaluation of this team has been on going for a year. Seriously, did they even let the dirt settle on John H. before phoning the NHL?

Better yet, if John H. was still here is this even a story?

Well we are where we are but I would hope that at this point if John P. has intentions to sell just come out and say it and get on with it. The last thing any of us need is to be dragged through the mud.

If John P. does plan to see this thing through to the very end and finish what his dad started then I'm one fan who would like to see more public comittment from him to ease tensions amongst a very on edge fanbase.

Here's the scariest part to me about this entire situation. You usually see owners come out publicly like this and put pressure on the politicians when they need a brand new stadium b/c they need new revenue streams. The Jackets have a plush 9 year old gorgeous pile of bricks they play in every night yet here we are.....already!!

I understand they are losing money but I'm baffled how it's as high as they are reporting. Absolutely baffled.

Usually it's just "give me the corporate luxury suites and we'll be fine".

I understand the Jackets don't get all that revenue but you can't tell me that an extra 15 suites, parking and naming rights can make up that much coin.

..and their solution to all this is to install a "sin tax"? Ain't happenin. No way in hell. Everyone in their mother wants new taxes right now due to budget shortfalls. There just isn't enough support for the Jackets yet to get something like that pushed through....especially in economic times like these.

You need more than one good year in nine to drum up that kind of support (thanks MacLean).

Look you, me and the folks that read this blog... we'd pay it without thinkin twice. That's a bubble though. You run this past Joe Schmo workin second shift who could give two craps about hockey, you know the majority of the folks out there, it's not gonna fly (see Dispatch poll here)

...and you know what, I don't blame them. Not one bit. This was billed and built as a privately funded arena - how would expect them to respond?

Personally I'm wondering why we never hear anything about the Fox Sports Television package. I have heard rumblings over the years that the Jackets pretty much give away their television rights (thanks again MacLean).

I think to myself that we are fine.... Nationwide can't afford to lose the Jackets. Not after they dumped 750 mil into a beautiful Arena District that we all love. They can't afford to lose their centerpiece and let their development fail. Then I read the following quotes from the President of Nationwide Reality Brian Ellis:

"Without a broader solution, I don't think anything we can do would be sufficient to fix the problem," Ellis said. "There's no way that just an adjustment to the lease, as it's currently configured, would be sufficient to maintain the long-term viability of the Blue Jackets."

That tells me this problem is much bigger than anything Nationwide can do. I really do believe they will do anything they can to help. They have too much riding on it not too.

This is not good people and is a very serious situation. In fact I'm depressed as hell.

Publicly this is about as bad a time this news could hit. Right now we should be talking about the draft and improvements that need to be made to the roster to take that next step. We should be talking about how Rick Nash should be excited to sign an extension and lead this team to Stanley Cup glory.

Instead this offseason will now be dominated by Arena talk... the folks coming out of the woodwork with the "I told you sos" about Columbus as a hockey market.. and "sin tax". It will be a big cloud hanging over this entire offseason.

I was worried about the viability of this franchise in this market when attendance didn't explode down the stretch... now I'm petrified.

Folks mention bringin an NBA team here. What will that accomplish? There may be more dates on the calendar but now your splitting corporate sponsorships and luxury box sales. That's the big money that keeps pro franchises afloat and I just don't think there are enough of those corporate dollars in this market to sustain two pro teams. I could certainly be wrong.

Hopefully they can find a solution to this mess. Although I find myself wondering what's the real end game here? Maybe the thought is to let the Jackets walk and try an NBA team here?

For me I think this, at the very least, is the first step towards John P. unloading the franchise if he can't get favorable terms he seeks --- be it local ownership or not.

It would be a shame as this team was John H.'s gift to Columbus and just like that it could be swept out from under it. That will effect a lot of jobs, a lot of business and would be a major step backwards in terms of the perception of Columbus as a major league market.

I hate to be so negative but you know I try to keep it real in this blog. The real world unfortunately is not all sunshine and rainbows and instead much more dollar and cents.

I do hope my worries are for naught and that a solution is found and we can all put this behind us.

One thing I do know is that this story isn't going away anytime soon.



DP@WFNY said...

This is totally a stomach punch. I wrote a big long piece about it for WFNY, but hadn't even thought about John P. wanting to unload the team. That just makes it all ever worse. Lord knows Gary and his henchmen won't trip over themselves to keep the Jackets here.

I do know, however, that I'm willing to pony up 28 freaking cents for a 12 pack of suds to keep them here. Yes, that much I know.

DP@WFNY said...

Also, there's NO WAY an NBA team comes to Columbus. The Cavs are already established (and let's be honest, the support is MUCH higher than was support for the Penguins/Red Wings when we got a hockey team), and with LeBron James poised to potentially make the Cavs a marquis franchise for the next decade, why would the NBA (read: Dan Gilbert and the Cavs) ever introduce something to upset that apple cart?

Further, there's NO fan base for a team here. I'm not going to stop being a Cavs fan just because Columbus gets its own team. It was much easier to give up the Red Wings, because I had no local connection to them. I have that with the Csvs.

JuneyMoon said...

Doesn't the arena deal factor into the overall worth of a sports franchise? I wondered if maybe they aren't trying to improve their deal to make the team worth more, making it easier to sell.

Any time you're counting on a rich person's kid to give a rats ass about anything but themselves you're on dangerous ground IMO.

Patrick said...

I wonder what this revelation does to Rick Nash's mindset this summer...

BZArcher said...

Between the censoring of the media, the treatment of the broadcast teams, and the general 'meh' attitude the franchise front office seems to be projecting, despite the increasing interest in the team, I think it's pretty clear that John P. isn't half the man his father was when it comes to this team, and that's truly a sad thing.

Even if the arena is resolved in a way that helps the franchise, I wonder if we may seem them for sale regardless - should that happen, I dearly hope a local owner who would be invested in the community and the team might be found.

LTL said...

I agree 100% about an NBA team DP but Mayor Coleman keeps pushing for it and the chatter won't go away.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense anyway you slice it -- especially with LeBron and the Cavs just a short 2 hour drive north and like you say the in state support.

This whole situation royally sucks. I'm really missing Mr. Mac and the stability he brought to the franchise right about now.


JAL said...

C'mon folks, I think everyone is overreacting here. I won't belabor the point here -- there is a lengthy discussion on my blog, for those interested.(link below)

Do want to chime in on the NBA thing. Even if (and it is a gigantic if) there was interest in putting a team here, could you imagine the howls when they see the ticket prices for an NBA game???? If you think the NHL is expensive, you ain't seen anything. :-)

A Shot From The Point

TSS said...

idk if im the only one but this almost brings a tear to my eye. I have been iffy about john p from the beginning, mainly because it would be pretty impossible for anyone to fill mr mac's shoes, and this is the final nail in the coffin. You just get the impression that the management could give a crap about this team. The team needs a management that actually CARES ABOUT THE TEAM. And $80,000,000???? Are you kidding? It just seems like we were doing so good, the future was so bright, and then this. You're right LTL, it is depressing. And there's no way nash is gonna sign a contract with things how they are now. God... I just can't believe this.....

Cory said...

So basically a billionaire owner made a bad investment and is whining that he's losing $10 million a year. He needs a bailout.

Sorry John P, but your daddy will come back down and kill you if you move or sell this team.

Also, I still don't understand how selling the arena to the county will magically fix the situation...

rocket said...

I'm worried... but, maybe a "savior" will come. Mario Lemieux saved pittsburgh, somebody has to save CBJ. This will completely destroy arena district. Christ just move them to the schot.