Sweden Again? No Thanks.

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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Jesse on Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:34 pm

booboo wrote:
Jesse wrote:booboo, I understand your premise, but I think people in Sweden are more concerned with Karpat, Frolunda, and Modo vs. the KHL. They have their own league over there, which is very popular.


I'd let Swedes address that.
But the way I saw it in Europe, people in hockey were looking up to NHL and they were always
keen to see their formerly local stars in action in their current club jerseys.

Still, I agree with your main line of critique.
And I definitely agree with other on this forum who hold NHL accountable
for screwing up its promotion on the US market.


I think we can all agree that we'd prefer they be preseason games.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:37 pm

As a long distance Pens fan, I am happy that the Swedish fans (and other Europeans, too) got to watch live what most of us take for granted. I was excited to see my first live Pens game in ten years earlier this year, so I can empathize.

However, I like the exhibition games-only idea. Have 4-6 teams in Europe for ten days and play several games in hockey hotbeds to gain exposure. I'm not liking the regular season games overseas at all.

I wonder if we would be having this discussion if the Pens swept and crushed the Sens? :lol:
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby André on Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:37 pm

KG wrote:I keep hearing that 14,000 tickets were sold, I saw a ton of empty seats in prime locations...


After period breaks. Once a period has started people aren't allowed to return to their seats until play is broken up (to not block the view of those already in their seats).
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Jesse on Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:44 pm

Digitalgypsy66 wrote:As a long distance Pens fan, I am happy that the Swedish fans (and other Europeans, too) got to watch live what most of us take for granted. I was excited to see my first live Pens game in ten years earlier this year, so I can empathize.

However, I like the exhibition games-only idea. Have 4-6 teams in Europe for ten days and play several games in hockey hotbeds to gain exposure. I'm not liking the regular season games overseas at all.

I wonder if we would be having this discussion if the Pens swept and crushed the Sens? :lol:


Digital, I had planned on writing this article regardless. I made comments like this in the game thread on Saturday.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby newarenanow on Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:55 pm

Digitalgypsy66 wrote:As a long distance Pens fan, I am happy that the Swedish fans (and other Europeans, too) got to watch live what most of us take for granted. I was excited to see my first live Pens game in ten years earlier this year, so I can empathize.

However, I like the exhibition games-only idea. Have 4-6 teams in Europe for ten days and play several games in hockey hotbeds to gain exposure. I'm not liking the regular season games overseas at all.

I wonder if we would be having this discussion if the Pens swept and crushed the Sens? :lol:


I agree it should be held to preseason games.

As for if this discussion would be happening if the Pens won both, I would say yes, because I felt this way before the games were even played, and even after Saturday's win.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Eismann on Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:17 pm

Pitts wrote:
Eismann wrote:Perhaps they are. Do you know?

Yes they are and yes I know.



Fab. Please enlighten....

:pop:
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby jaysmiter on Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:20 pm

Why So Serious? wrote:What I don't understand is that the NHL can barely sustain/promote itself in the American market. And for some odd reason, Gary Bettman is bent on taking the game overseas and promoting it over there. How bout we worry about making sure the game gets to a wider audience in America before taking it overseas. I just don't understand.


It's not like the American market is the only market that spends money on the NHL...by sending teams over there, including one of the more recognizable franchises (the Rangers) and a team with the league's biggest, most marketable star (the Pens)...you are going to be gaining new fans across the pond.

Does the NHL need to work to gain American fans? Yes, they do.

Is the NHL going to make a good amount of money from this European trip? I'm sure. I sure saw a ton of jerseys in both audiences, among various other attire. I'm not sure how this is all going to pan out in the long run, but I'm fairly certain that Bettman wouldn't do this if he didn't have some financial goals in mind.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Why So Serious? on Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:59 pm

jaysmiter wrote:
Why So Serious? wrote:What I don't understand is that the NHL can barely sustain/promote itself in the American market. And for some odd reason, Gary Bettman is bent on taking the game overseas and promoting it over there. How bout we worry about making sure the game gets to a wider audience in America before taking it overseas. I just don't understand.


It's not like the American market is the only market that spends money on the NHL...by sending teams over there, including one of the more recognizable franchises (the Rangers) and a team with the league's biggest, most marketable star (the Pens)...you are going to be gaining new fans across the pond.

Does the NHL need to work to gain American fans? Yes, they do.

Is the NHL going to make a good amount of money from this European trip? I'm sure. I sure saw a ton of jerseys in both audiences, among various other attire. I'm not sure how this is all going to pan out in the long run, but I'm fairly certain that Bettman wouldn't do this if he didn't have some financial goals in mind.


That's fine and dandy and all. But, that is all secondary. The primary is to get a wider viewership of the NHL in America. Once that is somewhat established, you can start promoting the game in other parts of the globe. Getting fans from other parts of the world is all secondary, in my opinion. The number one goal should be for Bettman to get more people to tune into NHL games and market the game where it is currently established, in the U.S., not overseas in other countries.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Samuelsson on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:03 pm

There are die-hard Penguin fans in Sweden who care about the Pens just as much as any other fan. Just saying.

Now, that the crowd consisted of lots of people without any emotional ties to the teams, except for the fact that the Sens have Alfie, is very true.

But I was there. And I noticed a lot of other Pens fans who most definitely cared. I'm not necessairly ALL in favor of the european premiere thing, but for some of us the chance to see our boys in person doesn't come around very often. I was fortunate to be in Pittsburgh for the two regular season ending games in 2007. This was my third and fourth Pens game in 15 years of following the team. Criticize it all you want, just don't ignore the fact that a lot of people over here care. A lot. If you saw all the fans in Pens jerseys walking around the arena, you would know.

To me this is not so much about expanding to Europe as it is about the NHL giving something back for all the great european players being shipped overseas...and for very little money in return I might add. That alone kinda makes sense to me.

I'll give you that the Globe was a terrible choice for the games though. It is considered one of the worst arenas for hockey among swedish fans. Even when sold out it often has an empty feeling about it. Djurgarden even moved their home games to the old Hovet arena, which says a lot.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Why So Serious? on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:09 pm

We are all just saying that the atmosphere is nothing compared to the atmosphere at the Mellon Arena, for various reasons. And the focal point here is that our players feed off the energy and noise of the crowd. As fans from Pittsburgh, we can't help but to feel that a home game was stolen away from us because we had to play in Sweden. A home game, mind you, that we probably would have had a great chance to win at the Igloo, following the energy of the crowd. That was not evident with the crowd at The Globe Arena. Watching from home, you would have thought these guys were playing hockey in the middle of a funeral. To make the story short, when our boys are playing inside Mellon Arena, I feel like we can win every game against any team.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Tomas on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:25 pm

I posted a few things on the NPR board about this. I understand that for the specific group of die-hard NA fans, this may not be the preferred scenario, but the issue is quite simple - both NHL (Gary Bettman viewtopic.php?f=6&t=28906&p=653336#p653039 ) and NHLPA (Paul Kelly viewtopic.php?f=6&t=29047 ) now seem to consider Europe an important new revenue source. And, if you want those European fans to pay $250 average price per ticket (isn't that more than the maximum price at Mellon Arena?), if you want ample space on front pages of local papers, new cable subscriptions, merchandize sales, re-establish the dominance over Europe with respect to KHL,etc. - you simply cannot offer them some meaningless pre-season games. The "NHL in Europe" was a big deal just because those games mattered (no matter how sloppy the play was).

It appears that the experiment earned positive profits for everybody - the organizers AND the NHL. If that is indeed the case, the NHL will continue playing regular season games in Europe. And since it appears that the Penguins price is relatively low (don't ask me how those payments values are set) while they have a broad Euro-appeal, I think this team will be sought after by the European promoters.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Samuelsson on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:31 pm

Why So Serious? wrote:We are all just saying that the atmosphere is nothing compared to the atmosphere at the Mellon Arena, for various reasons. And the focal point here is that our players feed off the energy and noise of the crowd. As fans from Pittsburgh, we can't help but to feel that a home game was stolen away from us because we had to play in Sweden. A home game, mind you, that we probably would have had a great chance to win at the Igloo, following the energy of the crowd. That was not evident with the crowd at The Globe Arena. Watching from home, you would have thought these guys were playing hockey in the middle of a funeral. To make the story short, when our boys are playing inside Mellon Arena, I feel like we can win every game against any team.


I see your point about the atmosphere, as I hope you see mine about real Pens fans in Sweden. I've been at the Igloo and the atmosphere at the Globe was obviously nowhere close in comparison. And with many people not having any emotional ties to any of the teams, that was bound to happen.

Like many seem to agree, I would not object should they keep it to exhibition games in the future. I would be fine with that, an exhibition game would still be a must see for me. Giving the fans over here a chance to see their favorite teams and players is still a good idea. Maybe not in this exact format, but definitely in some form.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Tico Rick on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:35 pm

Jesse wrote:I think we can all agree that we'd prefer they be preseason games.


I for one disagree. For players visiting these European cities, for the first time in many cases, there are enough distractions as it is. If these were preseason games, the players would be totally unfocused, and the games would be very sloppy. Make them count, and the quality of the product will be better. Also, if they were preseason games, we'd then get the argument that we shouldn't be sending teams all the way to Europe just to play a couple of lousy preseason games. (And that's an argument I'd have to agree with.)

I agree that the NHL needs to sell itself in the states more, but I also understand the benefits of having Europeans see firsthand the league that many of their athletes dream of playing in - and perhaps this will make even more European players wish to come to the NHL, which can only be good for the league.

My only real objection to the trip is the possible effect of jet lag later, and I have two thoughts on this:

1. If the players are going to have to go through that experience, both coming and going, why don't they get a few more games in while they're over there? It's a lot to go through just for two stinkin' games. I would have loved to have seen a round-robin tournament were the Pens play the Senators, Rangers and Lightning in four different cities.

2. With a week to recover, and a long stretch of home games ahead, it seems that the effects of jet lag on game performance should be minimal.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Idoit40fans on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:36 pm

The advantage of a "home-and-home" set of exhibition games in Europe would be that in each "home" game, the home team could play their stars the same way they do here. That way the fans of one team could go to that team's home game and others could go to the other game. Obviously many would be going to both games, but with people knowing which game the stars were likely to play, it would draw more fans of one team vs the other and make for a better atmosphere.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Idoit40fans on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:38 pm

Tico Rick wrote:I would have loved to have seen a round-robin tournament were the Pens play the Senators, Rangers and Lightning in four different cities.


So you do or do not want them to be exhibition games? In this scenario it would obviously have to be exhibition.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Tico Rick on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:41 pm

Idoit40fans wrote:
Tico Rick wrote:I would have loved to have seen a round-robin tournament were the Pens play the Senators, Rangers and Lightning in four different cities.


So you do or do not want them to be exhibition games? In this scenario it would obviously have to be exhibition.


Why?
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Idoit40fans on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:50 pm

Because assuming you are adding "a few more games" and keeping it regular season it would have to be a double round robin tournament, which would mean playing each of those teams twice and eat up 3 home games instead of one. People are already complaining about losing that one home game this year. Of course if you are just playing that pre-season, then it takes up the entire preseason and obviously would be exhibition.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby pekkasteele on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:53 pm

To all that complains about the fans beeing quiet and all, well, there are a simple reason for that, if the pens are playing in Pittsburgh, the biggest part of the people in the arena are pens fans, then the rest are mostly the fans of the visiting team, and then there are just a small number of people there that are not a fan of either team.

In Sweden, id say, over 50% of the people at the game had a favorite team that was NOT Pens or Sens, they just went to the game because there was an NHL-game, of course they do not scream as much, "their" team are not on the ice, but they still had a good experience, seeing good players from NHL. And not to mention, all the small kids, that up ntil this game, only had seen there local team play, it is a big chanse now, that they are either Pens or Sens fans after this two games.

And also, this games was not for the Pens-fans in Pittsburgh, it was for the present and future fans in Sweden and Europe.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Idoit40fans on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:56 pm

pekkasteele wrote:To all that complains about the fans beeing quiet and all, well, there are a simple reason for that, if the pens are playing in Pittsburgh, the biggest part of the people in the arena are pens fans, then the rest are mostly the fans of the visiting team, and then there are just a small number of people there that are not a fan of either team.

In Sweden, id say, over 50% of the people at the game had a favorite team that was NOT Pens or Sens, they just went to the game because there was an NHL-game, of course they do not scream as much, "their" team are not on the ice, but they still had a good experience, seeing good players from NHL. And not to mention, all the small kids, that up ntil this game, only had seen there local team play, it is a big chanse now, that they are either Pens or Sens fans after this two games.

And also, this games was not for the Pens-fans in Pittsburgh, it was for the present and future fans in Sweden and Europe.


Yeah, thats what people are complaining about. Maybe its not for the people in Pittsburgh, but the fact that the fans there are indifferent as to the result of the game affects the Penguins, which in turn affects the fans in Pittsburgh. So its hard to fault them for complaining.
Last edited by Idoit40fans on Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Samuelsson on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:57 pm

pekkasteele wrote:To all that complains about the fans beeing quiet and all, well, there are a simple reason for that, if the pens are playing in Pittsburgh, the biggest part of the people in the arena are pens fans, then the rest are mostly the fans of the visiting team, and then there are just a small number of people there that are not a fan of either team.

In Sweden, id say, over 50% of the people at the game had a favorite team that was NOT Pens or Sens, they just went to the game because there was an NHL-game, of course they do not scream as much, "their" team are not on the ice, but they still had a good experience, seeing good players from NHL. And not to mention, all the small kids, that up ntil this game, only had seen there local team play, it is a big chanse now, that they are either Pens or Sens fans after this two games.

And also, this games was not for the Pens-fans in Pittsburgh, it was for the present and future fans in Sweden and Europe.


My thoughts exactly.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Tomas on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:59 pm

Idoit40fans wrote:Because assuming you are adding "a few more games" and keeping it regular season it would have to be a double round robin tournament, which would mean playing each of those teams twice and eat up 3 home games instead of one. People are already complaining about losing that one home game this year. Of course if you are just playing that pre-season, then it takes up the entire preseason and obviously would be exhibition.


Once again - why? You simply play a single round robin tournament. Each team plays 3 games. Total of 6 games. Out of 4 teams, 2 of them will play two "home games", the other two will be charged 1 home game. Granted, it would create a slight bias, but the under current conditions, the Euro promoters apparently paid a fair price to each team for a lost home game. Provided that it is indeed the case, the involved teams, NHL, and NHLPA should not be unhappy Of course, for the fans of the "2 home game teams" that would be a different story - but I just wanted to show that this scenario would be "manageable."
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Tico Rick on Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:09 pm

Tomas wrote:
Idoit40fans wrote:Because assuming you are adding "a few more games" and keeping it regular season it would have to be a double round robin tournament, which would mean playing each of those teams twice and eat up 3 home games instead of one. People are already complaining about losing that one home game this year. Of course if you are just playing that pre-season, then it takes up the entire preseason and obviously would be exhibition.


Once again - why? You simply play a single round robin tournament. Each team plays 3 games. Total of 6 games. Out of 4 teams, 2 of them will play two "home games", the other two will be charged 1 home game. Granted, it would create a slight bias, but the under current conditions, the Euro promoters apparently paid a fair price to each team for a lost home game. Provided that it is indeed the case, the involved teams, NHL, and NHLPA should not be unhappy Of course, for the fans of the "2 home game teams" that would be a different story - but I just wanted to show that this scenario would be "manageable."


Yep. Since I don't live in Pittsburgh and I haven't been to the Civic Arena (oops... Mellon Arena) in about 15 years, I'm not emotionally attached to losing a couple of home games, though I can understand how season ticket holders might be. But since the Pens make good money by selling out every home game, I'm sure management would not have done this deal if they weren't going to be making even more money than they would have made at home.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Henry Hank on Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:12 pm

Jesse wrote:
Henry Hank wrote:
Opening weekend in the NHL went by unnoticed. People on the Flyers/Islanders boards didn't even know regulation games had begun yet.


Those aren't the people the games were meant for. I can guarantee it didn't go unnoticed in Sweden and the Czech Republic.


So now NHL games aren't meant for NHL fans?

As for it not going unnoticed in Sweden, didn't seem to me like those in attendance were overly excited about what was happening.

The MLB has a lot of Japanese players and fans. I don't see Selig packing his bags and sending teams over there?


That's not my point. You said that some fans of other teams didn't know they played regulation games. The point of going to Sweden wasn't to give a big bang to the start of the season in the US so that fans of other teams would be forced to take notice. The point was to make a presence felt in Europe, where many NHL players come from and where revenue streams exist for fans who either have interest in the NHL or can become interested in the product by exposure.

Actually, the MLB has started its season in Japan before, in fact I believe the Red Sox and A's started this season in Japan.

I just think the position that the NHL shouldn't go to Europe because they aren't all that in the US lacks logic. Why does one prevent the other? Shouldn't they be exploring as many revenue streams as possible? They're fighting a very extreme uphill battle in the US because hockey isn't ingrained in US, because there are many areas in the US not familiar with the sport, and because it's a sport that's not easily accessible to kids. Growing the NHL on a nation-wide scale is going to be a long process. I understand that your alternative was to make the opening of the season a bigger deal in the US, but that's going to fall on deaf ears for the most part because there's simply limited mass interest in the NHL here, especially now with baseball playoffs and the college football and NFL seasons in full swing. It's just reality that hockey is down on the totem pole and it makes no sense to me that because that is true they should ignore any possible potential to gain revenues by increasing exposure in Europe.
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby bhaw on Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:29 pm

Jesse... I agree that the games in Europe shouldn't be for points. Here's a solution: send some NHL teams overseas to play some exhibition games vs European teams (like the preseason games but more of them). That way at least the home fans have a rooting interest in the outcome. It would accomplish the same things that the NHL is looking for and possibly more. Think about it...

Would you be more excited watching two KHL teams play each other in Madison Square Garden where you don't know the players or the teams? Or would you be more interested if Jagr's team came to the US to play the Rangers? Or Emery's team came back to play the Sens?
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Re: Sweden Again? No Thanks.

Postby Idoit40fans on Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:49 pm

Just send Atlanta over. That way they get a European Superstar, a team that no one will care about missing over here, and a team that won't matter in the playoff picture. Win, Win, Win.
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