Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Go time

For a Flames fan, definitely the 3rd most satisfying result of the year (as always, the stats at the very top left of the page are a valuable reference).

I was dismayed to see the Oil fail to fold after the dreaded "lopsided-play, tie-score" result of the 1st period; I hoped to witness that as reward for, uh, being unable to witness any other Alberta hockey. Ahh, but it is a long season, isn't it.

Postscript/Housekeeping: the Flames released their PPV plans yesterday, after 13 games. I feel like writing something snarky here, but I'm just glad that (A) there's now more games on TV, and (B) the Flames organization is now officially disqualified from ever blaming "their market" for any shortage of revenues.

Really: if they were selling 15-game PPV packages before the season started, I have no idea what they could have charged, or how many they could have sold. What I do know is that now, on November 1st, those numbers are smaller. There is a bunch of dough that is lost to the Flames (and the NHL, and the players) forever, and a bunch of fans who wanted to pay to see the team in October but wasn't permitted. Kudos, folks.


How is that even possible? What kind of show is being run down there? Does Telus own the team or something?

God I hate bad customer service. Even bad customer service that doesn't affect me.

It's too bad the players didn't take this new "partnership" seriously enough to get the PPV deal done before the season.

Yeah, that's sarcasm, but do any of you who were roughly on the owners' side in the CBA dispute see things differently in this kind of context? I don't want to have to do an actual post on this, but is the absurdity clear? The Flames decide their cable deal isn't as profitable as they would like, so they take their sweet time thru October, meanwhile the players' take is based only on revenues, so they're getting boned.

Has ALL the money from the four playoff rounds in '03 been poured down the toilet yet? Just askin'.

Speaking of wasted money, is Peca awake yet?

Excellent question, Cosh. It will not surprise you in the slightest to hear that coverage, such as it is, of the Flames financial situation is rife with internal contradictions, apologia, and general economic ignorance.

The general narrative that we're all supposed to accept unflinchingly is basically that Flames owners are honourable men (which I'm not disputing). As such, the organization spends exactly as much money as it can, charges a fair price for tickets, and returns a fair amount to the owners for their trouble.

Most media haven't even decided if Calgary is a large market, a small one, or something in the middle. If something (e.g. the new CBA) needs to happen to "ensure the viability of the franchise", then we all nod OK. If you wonder just how much money the Flames made from 20,000 sweaters and 100,000 car flags last spring: Hey! This is a private business, the owners are entitled to make money, etc. etc.

I listened to Ken King speak, basically OTR, at a function in March at the Petroleum Club in Calgary. The message was certainly tailored to the mostly-well-off, non-sucker audience, but he said the Flames were "in the middle" in terms of markets, and came damn close to admitting that the lockout wasn't really for the Flames' benefit, but for the poorer franchises. (I actually came away with the impression that, at the time, he would have accepted a much less total victory than the one that was eventually achieved).

So to answer your question: I have no real idea, but if the Flames ever cry poor again, I'll want a fully-audited account of the toilet. Appearances are that revenues did, and continue to, exceed expenses by a fairly wide margin.

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