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Marksmen3519

Combs Signs Extension

23 posts in this topic

http://www.thesphl.com/view/thesphl/news/news_492094#.WZyfTJUiftI.twitter

 

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (August 22, 2017) – The Southern Professional Hockey League today announced the league’s Board of Governors has unanimously extended the contract of President Jim Combs through the 2021-2022 season.

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I'm not completely familiar with all Mr. Combs has done & said during his tenure.  But it sure seems to me that he's had a good influence on the League over the last few years, and has represented the owners well to the fan base & sports media.  :applause:

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brownnoser.gif~c200

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Shush!  I heard he was hiring interns, and looking for a "mature" candidate to mentor all the young college coeds.  naughty.gif

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11 hours ago, JMC-STL said:

I'm completely familiar with all Mr. Combs has done & said during his tenure.  But it sure seems to me that he's had a good influence on the League over the last few years, and has represented the owners well to the fan base & sports media.  :applause:

If, by that, you mean that he's expanded the league well outside of its' footprint and thus massively increasing operating costs and was unable to stabilize the business of the league to the point where an original franchise failed, then yes, he's had a good influence. 

I don't say that to be snarky, I say that because it's true. He's had nine markets fail in what has never been more than a 10-team league in 10 years as president. Yes, he's been able to keep the league going, but the question remains: For how much longer? The travel costs are going to continue to rise if he doesn't add teams closer to the Southern core. Considering that this is supposed to be a "cost-containment" league and most of the owners of these teams are real skinflints, he'd better be able to do that sooner rather than later. 

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10 hours ago, Harlan said:

If, by that, you mean that he's expanded the league well outside of its' footprint and thus massively increasing operating costs and was unable to stabilize the business of the league to the point where an original franchise failed, then yes, he's had a good influence. 

I don't say that to be snarky, I say that because it's true. He's had nine markets fail in what has never been more than a 10-team league in 10 years as president. Yes, he's been able to keep the league going, but the question remains: For how much longer? The travel costs are going to continue to rise if he doesn't add teams closer to the Southern core. Considering that this is supposed to be a "cost-containment" league and most of the owners of these teams are real skinflints, he'd better be able to do that sooner rather than later. 

Actually, I meant to type "I'm NOT completely familiar" - fixed my original post.

But your points are valid.  Though Jim Combs ultimately has to represent the collective wishes of the League's constuent owners, it does seem from a public perspective that he has a significant influence on major decisions.  So if indeed he was a contributor to operating cost increases, then he must own part of the responsibility for failures (Lousiana, Columbus?) as well as for successes in that area (Peoria, maybe someday Evansville?).  Though the latter two have certainly contributed to your travel costs concerns.

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17 hours ago, JMC-STL said:

Actually, I meant to type "I'm NOT completely familiar" - fixed my original post.

But your points are valid.  Though Jim Combs ultimately has to represent the collective wishes of the League's constuent owners, it does seem from a public perspective that he has a significant influence on major decisions.  So if indeed he was a contributor to operating cost increases, then he must own part of the responsibility for failures (Lousiana, Columbus?) as well as for successes in that area (Peoria, maybe someday Evansville?).  Though the latter two have certainly contributed to your travel costs concerns.

As for these travel cost to Peoria, Evansville, if I am not mistaken don't owners of the other teams have to vote these teams in to be a part of the league, seems to me that they knew what they were getting into when they voted them into the league

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18 minutes ago, SASRACE said:

As for these travel cost to Peoria, Evansville, if I am not mistaken don't owners of the other teams have to vote these teams in to be a part of the league, seems to me that they knew what they were getting into when they voted them into the league

It's a devil's bargain - you can try and break even or make money with higher travel costs or, without the midwestern teams, the league folds and the owners lose their entire investment. Of course they're going to vote the teams in when confronted with the question: "Would you like to lose $100K over the next year, or $1M+ immediately?"

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On 8/24/2017 at 0:09 PM, Harlan said:

It's a devil's bargain - you can try and break even or make money with higher travel costs or, without the midwestern teams, the league folds and the owners lose their entire investment. Of course they're going to vote the teams in when confronted with the question: "Would you like to lose $100K over the next year, or $1M+ immediately?"

I think you are not understanding the issue you are raising. The representatives of the teams within the league make up the Board of Governors, the actual governing body of the SPHL. They vote on whether to accept a new franchise or not. The applicant submits an application to the league, provides the financial requirements to the league, and the BoG's vote as to whether or not to approve the franchise.

So, basically, you are putting all the blame on Jim as he was the one responsible for Peoria and Evansville additions. If the board voted in favor to accept two teams from Midwestern locations, that tells me that the representatives of the teams wanted to expand the footprint, as the ECHL eventually did.

I can assure you, that Jim did not hold anyone at gun point (figuratively speaking of course), to sway votes to allow Peoria and Evansville in. Especially Peoria, there is a solid history there.

My whole point is, you cannot blame Jim for everything you are unhappy with pertaining to the league. Teams come and teams go, that's the world in minor league sports. Also, no one is going to be Donald Trump overnight in minor league sports ownership.

Disclaimer: I do not intend for this to sound mean or disrespectful in any form!

Edited by SJSharkies4ever
Added disclaimer
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20 hours ago, SJSharkies4ever said:

I think you are not understanding the issue you are raising. The representatives of the teams within the league make up the Board of Governors, the actual governing body of the SPHL. They vote on whether to accept a new franchise or not. The applicant submits an application to the league, provides the financial requirements to the league, and the BoG's vote as to whether or not to approve the franchise.

So, basically, you are putting all the blame on Jim as he was the one responsible for Peoria and Evansville additions. If the board voted in favor to accept two teams from Midwestern locations, that tells me that the representatives of the teams wanted to expand the footprint, as the ECHL eventually did.

I can assure you, that Jim did not hold anyone at gun point (figuratively speaking of course), to sway votes to allow Peoria and Evansville in. Especially Peoria, there is a solid history there.

My whole point is, you cannot blame Jim for everything you are unhappy with pertaining to the league. Teams come and teams go, that's the world in minor league sports. Also, no one is going to be Donald Trump overnight in minor league sports ownership.

Disclaimer: I do not intend for this to sound mean or disrespectful in any form!

I assure you I understand the issue. I've years of front office experience in four leagues and two sports, and I've shepherded two teams through expansion processes, though not in the SPHL.

Combs didn't force the vote, no, and leagues do add and lose teams every year. But at the same time, this league doesn't do anything to help the business operations (as the AHL and ECHL do, extensively) of its members while at the same time pushing itself as a "cost-containment league" with a business model that is clearly unsustainable.

This league needs leadership and it starts at the top. Jim Combs is a nice guy, but...

 

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Secondly, as the league president, Combs is the guy who handles the business end of the expansion. He's the one in charge of due diligence. He's the one who prospective owners (like, say, Fidel Jenkins) come to and say, "What does it take to get an SPHL membership?"

Sure, teams come and go. But Combs let Danny Smith in the league, playing in a substandard building with a front office that couldn't organize a two-car funeral. He let cheap-ass MacNaught run Fayetteville into the ground. And then Columbus, a cornerstone the league was built around, failed.

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39 minutes ago, Harlan said:

Secondly, as the league president, Combs is the guy who handles the business end of the expansion. He's the one in charge of due diligence. He's the one who prospective owners (like, say, Fidel Jenkins) come to and say, "What does it take to get an SPHL membership?"

Sure, teams come and go. But Combs let Danny Smith in the league, playing in a substandard building with a front office that couldn't organize a two-car funeral. He let cheap-ass MacNaught run Fayetteville into the ground. And then Columbus, a cornerstone the league was built around, failed.

Update on Fayetteville :

Under the new management, Fay will be up off the ground and running smoothly with due time.....in the short 5-6 months they have taken over they have added so much and are looking to a better future. Signed a 5 yr lease with 5 yr option (10 yrs total). Brought in two former ECHL champions to help the organization. Cruthers (director of opterations) and Mazzolini (coach), together these two are making good contributions already. Big changes in Fayetteville on the horizon. I wouldn't be surprised if attendance is better and we don't finish last in that category.

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33 minutes ago, Harlan said:

Secondly, as the league president, Combs is the guy who handles the business end of the expansion. He's the one in charge of due diligence. He's the one who prospective owners (like, say, Fidel Jenkins) come to and say, "What does it take to get an SPHL membership?"

Sure, teams come and go. But Combs let Danny Smith in the league, playing in a substandard building with a front office that couldn't organize a two-car funeral. He let cheap-ass MacNaught run Fayetteville into the ground. And then Columbus, a cornerstone the league was built around, failed.

I'll agree with you on the Fayetteville thing, to a point, but Columbus was more than a league issue.

For Fayetteville, they just stopped caring and wanted to sell.

As for Columbus, Wanda Amos stated they lost money every year. That tells me that was more of an issue with the City and the Civic Center. That is something that league has no control over.

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1 minute ago, SJSharkies4ever said:

I'll agree with you on the Fayetteville thing, to a point, but Columbus was more than a league issue.

For Fayetteville, they just stopped caring and wanted to sell.

As for Columbus, Wanda Amos stated they lost money every year. That tells me that was more of an issue with the City and the Civic Center. That is something that league has no control over.

Read my previous post, (about Fay) if you havent already.

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Just now, Marksmen119 said:

Read my previous post, (about Fay) if you havent already.

The previous ownership is what I was referring to in regards with Fayetteville, not the fans. 

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24 minutes ago, SJSharkies4ever said:

The previous ownership is what I was referring to in regards with Fayetteville, not the fans. 

I didnt say fans either......all I'm saying is new management is taking Fayetteville hockey to better futures than previous management did.

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10 minutes ago, Marksmen119 said:

I didnt say fans either......all I'm saying is new management is taking Fayetteville hockey to better futures than previous management did.

I know this. I never said the new management didn't care. Again, I was referring to the old management. They gave up.

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2 hours ago, Harlan said:

This league needs leadership and it starts at the top.

Since you tout your own experience...

If you discovered yourself running the SPHL in lieu of Combs, what would you do?  What changes would you make to improve the stability of the existing league and to encourage sustainable new franchises? 

 

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2 hours ago, TwistedBrass said:

Since you tout your own experience...

If you discovered yourself running the SPHL in lieu of Combs, what would you do?  What changes would you make to improve the stability of the existing league and to encourage sustainable new franchises? 

 

This league's business model is unsustainable as it stands at the moment. The Columbus situation proves that.

Member teams need to be able to prove that they can cover the full expense of playing the season without selling a single ticket with a performance bond before they are approved to play. Teams must have adequate staffing to sell tickets and sponsorships, do public relations, create a first-class website, and provide a quality webcast.

Teams must share best practices for sponsorship, group and season ticket sales. The league needs to invest in educating team staffers in sales techniques and marketing.

Anyone wanting to buy into the league would be vetted to the point that it would feel intrusive, because it has to be. Can't have another Danny Smith.

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How many years of maintaining or growing in size does it take to be considered sustainable?

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49 minutes ago, Harlan said:

This league's business model is unsustainable as it stands at the moment. The Columbus situation proves that.

Member teams need to be able to prove that they can cover the full expense of playing the season without selling a single ticket with a performance bond before they are approved to play. Teams must have adequate staffing to sell tickets and sponsorships, do public relations, create a first-class website, and provide a quality webcast.

Teams must share best practices for sponsorship, group and season ticket sales. The league needs to invest in educating team staffers in sales techniques and marketing.

Anyone wanting to buy into the league would be vetted to the point that it would feel intrusive, because it has to be. Can't have another Danny Smith.

So, your argument is that a person must prove that he/she has $$ in his/her personal accounts to cover a hockey team without selling tickets. Does this mean that business owners, say of a convenience store, need to personally fund a store without selling items?

That argument makes no sense. No one, and I do mean no one, with a lick of sense, would want to show that he/she can fund a team to keep it afloat. If the team is not making money, then shut it down. Hockey, is more than a sport, it is a business. It always will be. No revenue, why even operate?

The Columbus situation is an invalid point to use in this argument. From what I gathered from the articles and fan feedback, the City of Columbus did not work too well with Wanda and the team. And I for a fact know that Mr. Hughley, aka city manager of the Consolidated government of Columbus is not a very nice man to deal with.

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55 minutes ago, Harlan said:

... Teams must have adequate staffing to sell tickets and sponsorships, do public relations, create a first-class website, and provide a quality webcast. ...

Seems to me that fresh and engaging Facebook & Twitter presence now outweigh the influence of a team's/league's website.  I'll take your word on the "quality webcast" value; I've seen minor pro leagues over the last few years trying to establish webcast networks, and the few providers seem as clueless as their customers.

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10 hours ago, SJSharkies4ever said:

No one, and I do mean no one, with a lick of sense, would want to show that he/she can fund a team to keep it afloat

As an individual I agree with you.  But, as you immediately point out, hockey is a business.  A performance bond guaranteeing you could survive to the end of the season under any condition is simply business capital.  In order to maintain their lines of credit for day-to-day operations, business are often required to maintain a minimum amount of capital in the bank.  Why would this be any different?  Yes, it increases the initial investment to start a franchise.  But it would dissuade the kind of mid-season collapses we've seen in the FHL.

Cost-conscious owners should crunch hard numbers at the beginning of every summer.  If business conditions are bad and they question whether they'd survive the upcoming season, why risk the performance bond?  Shut down before the season starts.  Don't drop the puck and hope you can keep the doors open until playoffs.  Hope is not a business plan.

 

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