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center33

Columbus With FHL Ownership Interest

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@SJSharkies4ever: A comment behind "Orlando  17,353" should read: "This is what you get when an NBA-ECHL common owner wants desperately to fill dates in his arena."  But I gotta say, Amway Center is one impressive place to watch minor-pro hockey.  It's like the Taj Mahal to Kalamazoo's elephant barn.  :dontgetit:

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1 hour ago, SJSharkies4ever said:

I feel the need to chime in. Everyone keeps referring to arena sizes to base arguments over SPHL and ECHL and FHL. Arena size does not seem to be a factor in hockey as it is with baseball, plus amenities. My hometown, Greensboro, NC, had an ECHL team and we still hold a near 25 year old attendance record for the ECHL. From the context of these discussions, it is being viewed as all ECHL teams have these massive arenas, or much bigger than that of the SPHL.

Greensboro Monarchs played in one, if not the biggest arenas in ECHL back in the 90's. The Greensboro Coliseum is a 21,000+ seat arena for hockey.

Listed capacities for ECHL arenas:

Adirondack 4,794 Small market in the Adirondack Mountains
Allen 6,275 Suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth
Atlanta 11,355 Suburb of Atlanta
Brampton 5,000  
Cincinnati 14,453 Old arena
Florida 7,186  
Fort Wayne 10,480  
Greenville 15,591  
Idaho 5,002  
Indy 6,800 Not even the main arena in Indianapolis
Jacksonville 15,000  
Kalamazoo 5,113  
Kansas City 5,800 Suburb of Kansas City
Maine 6,206  
Manchester 9,852  
Newfoundland 6,287  
Norfolk 8,701 Old arena as well
Orlando 17,353  
Rapid City 5,119 What is in South Dakota? 150,000 Metro population
Reading 7,160  
South Carolina 10,537  
Toledo 8,200  
Tulsa 17,096  
Utah 10,100 Suburb of Salt Lake City
Wheeling 5,406 Old arena
Wichita 13,450  
Worcester 12,239  

 

Very surprising.  My first question is how do the teams with small arenas stay afloat with the budgets estimated above?

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39 minutes ago, AuburnAL said:

Very surprising.  My first question is how do the teams with small arenas stay afloat with the budgets estimated above?

Higher ticket prices for some, more ad revenue for others (look at the ice in Orlando and there's hardly a spot on it that isn't painted), and then just more dates than the SPHL to try and make it up through those two means, and truthfully: A lot lose money year-in, year-out. But if NHL teams have an investment in it like Toronto does with Newfoundland, they'll keep it going for the chance to develop prospects. Because Toronto will absolutely lose money every year on an ECHL team if it means even one NHL player every couple years. That, and like JMC-STL said, some just want to fill dates no matter the cost.

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12 hours ago, TroopSupporter42069 said:

From what I have heard and after doing some digging, a team in the SPHL is 2-3x as expensive as a FHL team. The numbers I've heard for the FHL are around $500k for the whole year for teams like Watertown, Mentor, PH, and Danville, but teams like Carolina and Elmira likely have higher budgets of maybe around $750k, while the SPHL is closer to $1.2m to $1.5m, with a certain team in North Carolina being on the low end at $1m.

Travel, even FHL teams from what I've seen now travel by bus, Watertown, Elmira, Carolina have all posted pictures of the big charter bus being loaded up before a road trip this season, that's really the one area you can't skimp, because if you make players pay their own way to get there, that's not pro hockey and you'd have a really hard time getting people to play AND have to pay their own way to games.

But to where there are big savings: Even with the SPHL's very low salary cap, the FHL is even lower and over the course of the season is about $50k less paid out to players, provided both of those teams play at max cap each week. Which, maybe that happens in the SPHL, and almost no way that happens in the FHL unless you're Carolina. But while $50k is a big number in terms of pay, in the overall budget it might be a 5% savings, so the still FHL has to cut costs everywhere it can.

I'd have to guess that because the rinks in the FHL are smaller, colder, aside from Carolina, get a ton of other uses from high school teams, men's leagues, youth leagues, public skates, and whatever else, their leases are the big difference in savings. And that adds up in people working at the arena too that are likely built into the lease. A rink with say 2,000 seats and only 1,000 fans a night like Watertown takes a LOT less people to run, and to pay, than say Huntsville which has to accommodate 5,000 people a night.

That and SPHL teams probably have an actual staff of a head coach, assistant coach, trainer, equipment manager, and then large off-ice staffs of a GM, media person, marketing head, sales leader, then who knows however many people in sales trying to sell tickets and sponsorships. While the FHL has a head coach (usually a player is an assistant so there's some savings), MAYBE a trainer or at best an on-call trainer from some local physical therapy place at just the games, and then an off-ice staff of a GM, media person, and a head of sales while all three of those people also have to double-up as sales people trying to sell tickets and sponsors. FHL teams are on absolute skeleton staffs and that's a big savings. Then they have to hope that a TON of volunteers step up on game-day to run the merch stand (if they have one), and do whatever else happens on game day.

Not to mention whatever savings there is in marketing budget. Some SPHL teams like Huntsville do a TON of social media advertising that costs a lot of money but gets a lot of reach, and as we've seen, brings in a lot of fans. While the FHL, aside from Carolina, their "advertising" is just a post on Facebook by whoever has a computer nearby saying, "Hey come to the game tonight! Go Prowlers!!111!!" The ol', gotta spend money to make money line, and FHL teams likely try to avoid spending on that type of thing.

Another thing to consider, but I don't know this one for sure,is player equipment. The SPHL has a deal with Warrior, so they likely get a discounted rate but we all know hockey equipment is absurdly expensive. If SPHL teams pay for all the gear then that's an absurd expense, while the FHL might supply the players with a jersey, socks, pant shell, and maybe gloves, helmet and sticks, while the players have to find their own skates, shin pads, chest/shoulder protectors, pants, and whatever else. 

Add all that up and I can see how the FHL is that much cheaper. Basically, cut corners anywhere and everywhere, hope that enough word of mouth advertising gets out to sell 750 tickets a night, and sell enough ads on the boards, jerseys, in-game promos, and wherever else, and you might survive in the FHL.

 

The operating costs in the SPHL range from $900,000 to $1.3 million. That is first hand knowledge.

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On 12/30/2018 at 10:44 AM, TroopSupporter42069 said:

From what I have heard and after doing some digging, a team in the SPHL is 2-3x as expensive as a FHL team. The numbers I've heard for the FHL are around $500k for the whole year for teams like Watertown, Mentor, PH, and Danville, but teams like Carolina and Elmira likely have higher budgets of maybe around $750k, while the SPHL is closer to $1.2m to $1.5m, with a certain team in North Carolina being on the low end at $1m.

Travel, even FHL teams from what I've seen now travel by bus, Watertown, Elmira, Carolina have all posted pictures of the big charter bus being loaded up before a road trip this season, that's really the one area you can't skimp, because if you make players pay their own way to get there, that's not pro hockey and you'd have a really hard time getting people to play AND have to pay their own way to games.

But to where there are big savings: Even with the SPHL's very low salary cap, the FHL is even lower and over the course of the season is about $50k less paid out to players, provided both of those teams play at max cap each week. Which, maybe that happens in the SPHL, and almost no way that happens in the FHL unless you're Carolina. But while $50k is a big number in terms of pay, in the overall budget it might be a 5% savings, so the still FHL has to cut costs everywhere it can.

I'd have to guess that because the rinks in the FHL are smaller, colder, aside from Carolina, get a ton of other uses from high school teams, men's leagues, youth leagues, public skates, and whatever else, their leases are the big difference in savings. And that adds up in people working at the arena too that are likely built into the lease. A rink with say 2,000 seats and only 1,000 fans a night like Watertown takes a LOT less people to run, and to pay, than say Huntsville which has to accommodate 5,000 people a night.

That and SPHL teams probably have an actual staff of a head coach, assistant coach, trainer, equipment manager, and then large off-ice staffs of a GM, media person, marketing head, sales leader, then who knows however many people in sales trying to sell tickets and sponsorships. While the FHL has a head coach (usually a player is an assistant so there's some savings), MAYBE a trainer or at best an on-call trainer from some local physical therapy place at just the games, and then an off-ice staff of a GM, media person, and a head of sales while all three of those people also have to double-up as sales people trying to sell tickets and sponsors. FHL teams are on absolute skeleton staffs and that's a big savings. Then they have to hope that a TON of volunteers step up on game-day to run the merch stand (if they have one), and do whatever else happens on game day.

Not to mention whatever savings there is in marketing budget. Some SPHL teams like Huntsville do a TON of social media advertising that costs a lot of money but gets a lot of reach, and as we've seen, brings in a lot of fans. While the FHL, aside from Carolina, their "advertising" is just a post on Facebook by whoever has a computer nearby saying, "Hey come to the game tonight! Go Prowlers!!111!!" The ol', gotta spend money to make money line, and FHL teams likely try to avoid spending on that type of thing.

Another thing to consider, but I don't know this one for sure,is player equipment. The SPHL has a deal with Warrior, so they likely get a discounted rate but we all know hockey equipment is absurdly expensive. If SPHL teams pay for all the gear then that's an absurd expense, while the FHL might supply the players with a jersey, socks, pant shell, and maybe gloves, helmet and sticks, while the players have to find their own skates, shin pads, chest/shoulder protectors, pants, and whatever else. 

Add all that up and I can see how the FHL is that much cheaper. Basically, cut corners anywhere and everywhere, hope that enough word of mouth advertising gets out to sell 750 tickets a night, and sell enough ads on the boards, jerseys, in-game promos, and wherever else, and you might survive in the FHL.

 

For the FHL you also have to factor in controlled dates.  2 days a week plus holidays are really the only games.  Leaves the buildings easily open for other things and allows players to work part time locally or do volunteer work as part of commercialization.

The FHL is where the SPHL was at the beginning. Low A.  It fills a void in some cities and helps the SPHL pulls players up when needed

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