Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Atlanta Hawks Slash Ticket Prices for 2nd Half

The other side of the Atlanta Spirit are offering discounts of 75% for people who buy the rest of the season. Keep in mind that the Hawks are actually having a pretty decent season.

This is a short run cash grab by the ownership that will discourage people from buying full season tickets next year. It provides a strong dis-incentive to buy up front over the summer.

It makes you wonder if a) the Atlanta Spirit is in terrible fiscal shape and is so desperate for money that they're trying to limp to the finish line or b) the current ownership expects to lose their control of the teams in the near feature and are looking to staunch the bleeding.


  • I think that both of your points regarding financial distress are accurate. As I have written on the Thrashers message forum a couple of times, there are a few reasons for their hard times.
    1)The combination of their marketing department cutting the throat of STH in the 07/08 season, and, B. Levenson insulting some of those same STH with his "deal with it" remarks really damaged the Season ticket renewals for the 08/09 season.
    2) The same gaff as listed in #1 could cause revenue sharing to be lost for the 08/09 season.
    3) At the instructions of his bosses D-Wad has kept the payroll toward the lower end of the NHL, consistantly brought in older, declining players. The prime aim is at "not losing money", not putting a competitive team on the ice. As a result, more financial problems.
    4) We already know that at least one member of the Spirit is not able to continue contributing his share of capital required for day to day operations. Any weak link in the financial chain creates stress on the remaining links. The big question is how many links are having experiencing this?
    5) In the buyout agreement between Steve Belkin and the Spirit there is a clause that exempts Belkin from having to experience additional capital from that time until his share of the team is purchased by the remaing members of the Spirit. In other words when the other members are required to contribute another $1 million, he doesn't have to contribute anything! His share of the team was about 30%. That is a BIG financial hurt.
    6) Continuing attorney fees are eating at the Spirit's core.
    7) At the start of the Court battle 2 years ago the Spirit were required by the court to post an $11 million bond, which further hurt cash flow.
    8) the downturn in the economy is another obvious thorn in their fiscal side.
    9) Paying Bob Hartley not to coach the current season doesn't help.

    Any one or two of the above items that I've listed could create difficulty. All nine, and anything additional that we aren't even aware of would surely be terrible.

    It is almost assured that they are having a tough time.
    Sports law Professor Michael McCann states that the legal battle may continue in court for years, not months.
    Sooner or later the Spirtr are going to come to the conclusion that if they sell the team they may recover some of their investment, and sleep a whole lot better at night.

    By Anonymous Tween the Pipes, at 10:46 AM  

  • Oh please let it be option B.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:12 AM  

  • We could probably come up with a rough estimate of the financial condition of the Hawks/Thrashers and Philips Arena--but the real unknown is the financial condition of the ownership.

    Who knows how well the DC owners are doing in their business venture? Did they suffer any losses in the Maddoff scheme? How about the Atlanta investors?

    As you mention it is possible that the DC/ATL owners had the cash flow to sustain losses in previous years but now can no longer do so.

    I find it hard to explain the ticket slashing any other way. In my mind it is obviously a short run cash garb that will hurt efforts to sell season tickets in the near future. What sort of people make that decision? People lacking options.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 12:13 PM  

  • I'm sure they are hurting financially all the way around--but don't underestimate the stupidity of Spirit employed marketing folks. Is it really hard to see them blindly believing that if they get folks in to watch a good Hawks team that they will be hooked and compelled to return next season? I think thy are all arrogant enough to believe their product is so awesome that it trumps basic common sense.

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 11:29 PM  

  • I normally don't wish any ill will on anyone, but I really do hope that ASG sells all of the teams and the ownership of The Bulb. I say this because I want them to sell to a group or individual who will really put a quality team out on the ice. And hopefully, they will leave the Hawks' system alone so that they can have at least one winning team already playing at Phillips. It is getting ridiculous! The last game I went to was the St. Louis game, and the Bulb was so empty. And they were giving away red player jerseys to the kids! I would have loved to get one of those! But the point is, that I have never seen the seats so empty.
    I am going to the Leafs-Thrashers game on Jan. 16th. I don't know if I will go to another game after this one, as I want to wait and see what the team does. But, if Levenson has the attitude that we, as fans need to deal with it, then either it is going to get worse or it already is really bad.

    I have emailed ownership, and they don't seem to want to hear from anyone about suggestions.

    I wish that Waddell would either resign or ask to be put in a position where he is no longer in charge of player personnel or coaching decisions like a figurehead vice-president or maybe a vp in charge of marketing since he is so good at selling people on hope like he has done in the last 10 seasons.

    Even the commentators for NHL Network one time this season mentioned how the ownership and management in Atlanta is terrible. I know that if I was in the ownership group or management group and constantly heard how unpopular I was, I might change what I am doing.

    By Anonymous S, at 8:09 AM  

  • Falconer,
    I know this is off subject, but at this stage of the season, what line combinations would you say would be the best for John Anderson to use on both offense and defense?

    In my opinion,
    the best forward line is Little-White-Kozlov. Then you said that the Armstrong-Reasoner-Perrin or Thorburn line was the next best.

    For defense,
    I think that statistically the Havelid Enstrom line is the best, but who would you put with Hainsey now? I am sure that Bogosian will get a lot of play time now that he is back. With whom would you put him? I think that Anderson will put him with Schneider again, but I think that maybe they should try someone else. Lehtonen should get more starts now that he is back, but not against Philly later this month. I think that they should play Hedberg to start and then have Pavelec read just in case, but Lehtonen has proven he loses to Philly. What other insights do you have right now if Anderson is going to make line changes?

    If you had to trade anyone at the Trade Deadline or before, who would you trade now?

    By Anonymous S, at 10:25 AM  

  • Yeah! A win against an unlikely team! But then again, they were without Luongo. Their defense was a bit lacking. On a better note, our guys played tough almost the entire game! This was a much better game, and I hope that the Thrashers have turned a corner! IF they can play like this every game, they might prove a lot of people wrong.

    Kovy played like his old self; taking lots of shots, and trying to make things happen. Many other good things to say, but got to go.

    By Anonymous Steve, at 10:54 PM  

  • Hey, there. Usually don't like to do this in non-email form but I couldn't find your addy on the site.

    My name is James and I run Cycle like the Sedins (you may know me from such blogs as Battle of California as well). Currently, we're running a feature called "Hockey Orphan" in which we rate the desirability of each NHL franchise for a budding fan.

    Not too shockingly, the post on Atlanta wasn't too flattering ( but I'd like to invite you and/or your readers to submit a rebuttal or a more "expert" viewpoint on the Thrashers.

    Did I leave out some key prospects/other reasons for the Thrashers to have a brighter future? Should I have been more brutal?

    I'd love to hear your take and the take of your readers, so feel free to comment (or send me an e-mail if you have a post-sized response ... which would be even better).

    /shameless solicitation

    By Blogger jamestobrien, at 11:00 AM  

  • the Hawks management is pathetic, I'm not surprised at this. Good points about creating a dis-incentive. 9 people in 3 separate locations just seems like bad management. Despite that they were a 4th seed this season yet ranked 20th in attendance.

    By Blogger Strength Lennon, at 7:14 PM  

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