I feel like it’s the NASCAR Silly Season when it comes to ECHL Hockey returning to the Greensboro Coliseum – News & Record Story on Tuesday. THREE potential groups! Jeff Brubaker was at the Grasshoppers game on Friday, reportedly accompanied by a “poential” investor. Another investor – mentioned in the article – has been in town a time or two.
Now there is even talk to Season Ticket Deposits being collected by the Greensboro Coliseum.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big minor league hockey fan – check out my Generals Fan Website.
But I am not ready to buy into a team coming back to Greensboro and here’s why:
- There is no pressure by the city council on Matt Brown to make the coliseum profitable or even better utilized. Let’s face it, the coliseum is empty most of the time and when it is full – it is REALLY full. Those capacity events make the city look good to visitors and city promoters. Whereas the smaller events, where the coliseum must curtain off 50% of the seats looks bad, no matter how you spin it.
- The ECHL got fancy and strayed from its roots. During the Monarchs reign and success, the ECHL was smaller and teams were easy bus trips apart. While Greensboro strayed from our minor league success and failed with the upper leagues, the ECHL players unionized because the ECHL failed to police its owners – the players needed basic employment benefit. The owners failed to force their own to provide their players basic job related benefits, so the players unionized. As a result, the cost of operating a team increased over what it cost to be a good employer. (Let’s not even discuss the West Coast situation.)
- Costs are higher, therefore tickets are more expensive. When the Monarchs were in their glory, tickets and concessions were close to half of what they were when the Generals went belly up. There is little chance that prices will return to their early 90’s level and that is why it is going to be a HARD SELL.
Look at the Grasshoppers – the Highest Priced Ticket is $9. Parking is free or the money goes to charities. Food is hot and cooked where you can see it. The prices are the same as the coliseum, but the quality is far worse at the coliseum because of the facilities. Hockey’s cheapest ticket was $9.
The Coliseum has the ACC Basketball as its primary tennant. It does not need hockey and until we see the money, hockey is not coming to Greensboro.