Stockton Thunder hockey, Tickets (and now the team) still available!

So the big story of the day is that Thunder owner Michael Reinsdorf wants to sell the team. It has nothing to do with money or attendance or anything like that. He just claims that he’s tired of making trips to Stockton all the way from back east. And really we can’t blame him. Of course whenever a team owner even hints at possibly selling the team some casual fans (also known as idiots) immediately think they’re trying to move the team.

I call these fans idiots because even a cursory glance at the usual factors surrounding moving rumors (which, being Kings fans, we’re sort of experts in) aren’t anywhere close to being in play here. Any move would have to be approved by the ECHL. The factors most leagues look at are the economic viability of the venue (for the team, not the city) and fan support/attendance. The Stockton Arena is brand spanking new by ECHL standards and the Thunder’s sweetheart deal with the city gives them an added boost in this category. And considering we’re about to lead the league in attendance for the 4th straight year I’d say we’re doing fine in regards to fan support. So the only reason an owner could justify moving the Thunder is for shits and giggles, and you need more than that to uproot a franchise. Unless of course you’re Clay Bennett (who ironically owns another team called the Thunder). Of course this is all ignoring the fact that moving a franchise would also require another city getting some sort of better, state-of-the-art arena to entice the franchise to move. And in this economy it’ll be a while before we see a publicly funded arena again.

The other story within the story is how this affects the aforementioned sweetheart deal with IFG and the Thunder. Reinsdorf, in addition to owning the Thunder and Lightening, is the managing director of IFG (the company that manages the city’s various venues for those of you living under a rock for the past decade). We’ve always thought that was kind of a conflict of interests since we can’t imagine Reinsdorf/IFG would renegotiate contract terms that would hurt the revenue of the franchises he owns.

We’re pretty sure that’s exactly why Ann Johnston thinks the sale could help in negotiations with IFG. Once Reindsdorf sells the team(s), he has no real vested interest in the money that goes to the tenants since he’d no longer be one of them. It’s like if someone were to sublet out their apartment before the lease is up. If the landlord comes while you’re still there and suggests raising rent you’d probably fight it to the death. But once you pawned off the place one someone else you probably wouldn’t give two shits about what rent was after you left. Let that sucker who took the place off your hands deal with it.

So in short, Reinsdorf selling off his teams is probably the best thing that could happen to the Arena short of IFG deciding to get off it’s lazy ass and actually trying at their job for once.

Update: I didn’t see Fitzy’s take on this so I figured I’d pass it along. Mostly because it confuses us as to what we’re actually talking about renegotiating. The article we linked to seemed to infer (and by infer I mean outright stated) that after Reinsdorf sold the team, it’d help with the contract we have with IFG. Fitzy seems to think the contract we need to focus on is the one with the actual team.

We’re by no means experts on the city’s contracts so some clarification may be needed. There’s the of the lease with the actual franchise (which the city would have to approve the transfer of upon sale of the team), then there’s the contract with IFG. As the article states they’re two separate entities. Fitzy seems to be confusing them as one.

So is Fitzy confused, are we confused, or is everybody confused? Please let us know.


~ by Slick Diaz on March 11, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: