- Since 2003 - Since 2003 - Since 2003 - Since 2003
Corporate Support
How Much?
Your Rants
Notable Quotes
Jets History
Campaign Chat
Media Contacts
Wear in the World
The Founder
MTS Centre
Manitoba MythBusters
Home News NHL Winnipeg Sponsors FAQ e-Store

March 1, 2006

It’s time Winnipeg! It’s time we became a contending North American city again. Remember how it was? The “White-Outs”, the noise, the goosebumps, Los Angeles vs. Winnipeg? Remember when we rivaled Vancouver? We couldn’t stand them! Now we cheer them on and house their farm team. What happened? At what point did we accept being a little-league town?

For three years this site has been dedicated to returning an NHL franchise to Winnipeg and creating the vision to do so. The vision that Winnipeg can be put back on the map and enjoy a vibrant downtown. It set out to find an owner who wants to put hockey where it belongs and where no marketing is required to create hockey fans but rather where there already exists die-hard, born-and-raised hockey fans. Hundreds of thousands of them! This idea seemed laughable only three years ago, but since then, the three key ingredients that this campaign originally laid out have all fallen into place.

The new MTS Centre is now completed and has the ability to be the loudest, most intimate building in the NHL and sell-out every night! But only with top caliber hockey. As predicted, the NHL fell into disarray in September 2004, opening the door to the likelihood that salaries would come under more control once the dust settled and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was finally reached. With a new economic landscape and an NHL caliber arena built, all that was left to tackle was a buyer and a seller. This campaign has full confidence that our financially-abled individuals will step up if all conditions "make sense" to relocate a franchise to our hockey-crazed city.

Here are the 3 KEYS that have made it possible to witness a re-birth of the NHL in Winnipeg:

1. An Arena
MTS Centre has now been open for over a year and has been one the world's busiest venues for 15 straight months. It's location and capacity have been debated endlessly since the groundbreaking in early 2003. Luckily they don't have any bearing on the building's suitablity for the NHL. The questions of size restrictions in the new building need to be put to rest. The myth that arenas need to be 18,000-20,000 seats now-a-days is best proven in a dozen buildings across the league that remain 1/3 empty on most evenings, some even half empty. Not only are these buildings unnecessary but they are also unrealistic to fill on most evenings. For our market, MTSC is ideal. At 15,100 seats, MTSC can sellout consistantly and have a lower operation cost than any building in the NHL. It can also create the all-important supply and demand aspect of marketing. What better mentality than to have it be actually difficult to get a ticket to a Jets game! It is crucial to create that excitement and desire to want to get to the box office early to be part of the noise and intimacy the MTS Centre will provide. Walk-ups just before game time shouldn't exist. In fact, a majority of NHL teams don't need the huge buildings they are in. The NBA creates the need for the size these buildings are. Many American markets have numerous sports that utilize their arena. Winnipeg would have one key sport in MTSC. We would also be able to generate all of the revenue that Winnipeg Enterpises Corp. swallowed up in the past. There will also be new revenue opportunities that didn't exist before as well as revenue from concerts and non-hockey events to off-set any losses that may or may not result in running an NHL team. Owning a team and the building it plays in has many perks.

MTS CentreIt has been documented that owners in the NHL wish they actually had smaller arenas! The NHL has given the thumbs-up to MTSC in all aspects. After all, it is no longer about how many seats you have in your building as much as it is about how much you can get for each seat in it. A ticket will cost more than the Jets of old, but what doesn't cost more today? Fuel is double the price than it was in 1996. So are concerts. So is airfare. And on and on. Also remember that an arena is a glorified hockey rink. You see, an arena doesn’t need a million square feet of office space and room for an amusement park! We are Winnipeggers. We buy hockey free of gimmicks, at full price and we actually attend the game. In short, MTS Centre is just right for Winnipeg and arguably the most ideal size for NHL hockey. Just ask, Florida, Nashville, Carolina, Phoenix, New Jersey, Atlanta and the Islanders. Their fans couldn't fill MTSC's lower bowl on some evenings and couldn't fill our entire arena on most nights. And how many of them actually paid for their tickets? On a final note, the cities mentioned above are all, quote "larger markets". Are they?

2. The CBA Turned Out
By turned out I don't mean just for cities like Winnipeg but for every city in the current NHL. It simply couldn't go on the way it was. It couldn't sustain the costs that were being incurred through player salaries and the lack of revenues from poor attendence and no significant television contract. Businesses don’t often survive by losing more and more money every year while paying their employees more and more salary. That’s what was going on in the NHL until 2005. A league like the NFL sees every single one of it’s teams profit each year and salaries paid for by TV revenues alone. They can justify it. The NHL will never achieve the level of success that the NFL has due to the simple fact that the NHL will never acquire a television contract that will provide the windfall of income that football enjoys. A very different NHL is now upon us. It is an NHL that has created a "level playing field" for all teams that are putting together their championship roster. A salary cap now limits those irresponsible teams from spending insane amounts of money, sometimes triple what was average, just to win. It is now understood that league parity is an important factor for a competitive and exciting league. Revenue sharing also allows those teams with smart front offices to recieve financial help if, despite spending adequate money each year, they still report a loss. The new CBA also links league revenues to players salaries. This now puts Winnipeg in a favourable category in the players minds. As they play in half-empty arenas in a dozen current NHL markets they now view Winnipeg as an ideal choice to relocate. This is because they realize that Winnipeg can generate more revenue than many teams because we buy hockey at full price and actually show up at the games. More fans in the stands equals more league revenue. More league revenue equals a bigger salary pie, which in turn, gives the players a larger slice of that pie. It is clear the NHL will be a gate-driven league, whereby the key revenue generator will be ticket sales, not television. The American TV dream is gone, for now, and the sunbelt "experiment" has failed. It has become clear that returning to where the sport is loved unconditionally is inevitable.

3. An Owner
Afterall, that's part of the URL of this website! It shouldn't surprise anyone that current owners in failing US markets have Winnipeg on their radar as a home for their troubled franchise. And don't be fooled by NHL propaganda, there are many teams doing horribly. And why not put a hockey team in an existing hockey market instead of trying to market a hockey team in a hopeless American “large market” that has far more interest in the NBA, MLB, NFL, NASCAR and numerous college sports. They always will. Raw population really has little to do with a successful NHL franchise and I think Winnipeggers are getting tired of being referred to as a “small market”. LogoIf there are 300,000 die-hard, paying hockey fans in Winnipeg, a city of 700,000 and only 20,000 casual paying hockey fans in Atlanta, a city of 4,000,000, who has the larger market now? Per-capita hockey fans is really the statistic the NHL and its owners need to look at. They also need to realize that we have a brand new building ready to move into...NHL ready. With economics that make sense and this abundance of true hockey fans, it is clear a team can thrive here. The corporate support is here, the fan support is here and the buyers will be ready. There is little doubt there is the will in Winnipeg to give an existing NHL team a new home where they can be front page news and top priority.

Cleaning out the lockers for the last time. The Guys and Me having a cold one the day after the final buzzer. Age 19. Were we really smiling?

Darren and the Jets

© Copyright 2003-2006 All rights reserved.

site created by Lauren Robb