5/4/09

Repeat After Me, A Guide Moving Forward

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/04/2009 12:29:00 PM
I thought I would leave everyone with a little more ground work and somewhat of a guide as you read more non-sense about hockey, the New York Islanders and how they are covered along with sports in this town and the financial business in terms of sports reporting.

* Repeat after me. Smg receives eleven percent of the Islander gate receipts, all parking, all concessions and forty percent of all revenue brought in from advertising. That deal ends 2014-2015 but Smg has some rights beyond that.

* Repeat after me. Some NHL teams receive these things from all events (not just hockey) in their facility. This is what the Devils and Mr Vanderbeek got along with Newark paying for part of the construction of the Prudential Center and this is part of what the baseball teams received for their new ballparks.

* Repeat after me. If Charles Wang had full parking, gate, concessions and advertising with revenue from all Coliseum events the hockey team would be self-sustaining as it is for most pro sports owners.

That's why Charles Wang needs the Lighthouse as the alternative to those revenue streams (a wonderful vision anyway for an ugly parking lot) that pays for what Smg currently enjoys which also pays for Nassau Country failing to renovate/replace the Nassau Coliseum themselves which Tom Suozzi made clear he cannot afford to do and frankly never should have been Charles Wang or any Islander owners problem.

* Repeat after me. Nassau Coliseum is Nassau County's building and they are responsible to modernize it or build a new one. The Lighthouse does not give Charles Wang all revenue from events at the Coliseum which is why he needs other means to make money on that property by developing it. For Suozzi, Wang or anyone to claim the building is not sustainable without the Lighthouse really means Nassau County wants to keep it's rent and revenue from events as part of the Lighthouse.

* Repeat after me. Charles Wang saved this team in a lot of ways but just like he has an enforceable lease until 2015 it was never in danger of moving in 2000 (or prior) and it cannot be relocated at all until the lease is up unless TOH approves the Lighthouse project and Nassau County cannot agree to a lease afterward.

That's Mr Wang's only out before 2015, or he can sell to someone determined to move it elsewhere after 2015 or take on partners to offset his losses until the leases are up but that's basically it so don't be so quick to buy Greg Logan's blog entry today especially after he failed to report NHLPA boss Paul Kelly would endorse revenue sharing for the Islanders after the CBA expires in two years in February
here which never made it into Newsday Monday afternoon who has a vested interest in seeing this team depart ASAP and will have it's staff grease the skids whenever possible to influence you that it may be time for the Islanders to go.

In a few years whoever owns the Islanders with these leases expiring will have Nassau, Smg and everyone else coming to them with hat in hand asking what can we give you to stay which keeps the Dolan's on the hook for hundreds of millions you can bet they do not want to pay after 2015 but are stuck with until 2030.

That's a very powerful incentive for this newspaper staff made up of mostly Ranger fans in the sports department to begin with.

* Repeat after me. You think Tom Suozzi is letting Mr Wang out of his lease if the TOH turns down the project that is something that has never been reported and it would ruin Suozzi.

* Repeat after me. You read about the losses in modern buildings like Dallas and Colorado (the later who will apparently now receive revenue sharing) for their hockey teams now among several franchises that were bleeding losses prior to the lockout with Msg leading the pack because of those 80+m dollar payrolls to operate a sports franchise in Manhattan with insurances, taxes higher for everything bringing the cost of running the franchise to 130 million and above in 2004.

How many times did you read the Wings or Flyers needed to make the finals simply to break even in an old building in Detroit or a modern one in Philadelphia. This is why hockey needed a hard cap to save some owners from themselves.

Then there are owners like George Gillette in Montreal bleeding red ink from his other interest (along with Tom Hicks in Dallas) and may have to sell while Tom Suozzi for now is not being paid by the NHL like what's happening in Phoenix.

* Repeat after me, if you spend 130 million a year to run a sports team, generate only 90 million from that spending you still lose 40m a year, that's why Msg led the league in losses in what Greg Logan writes today is a big financial market while everyone only reports about revenue made which is where publications like Forbes goes along with a lot of media because most owners do not talk bottom line and keep it positive.

This is why writing about revenue generated is worthless and you should know this upfront from the lockout already. The NHL generated a lot of revenue, when almost sixty percent went to the players contracts your not making money or coming close to breaking even unless you are the Minnesota Wild (pre-lockout) in a brand new building with 19,000 fans with a very low payroll. (pre cap floor)

* Repeat after me, Ignore Forbes Magazine entirely who have no access to any NHL teams financial records and make estimates of franchise values only entirely on guesswork and their opinion. Michael Ozanian actually appeared during the lockout and apparently YES network needs filler so they put him on television lately, when he writes about hockey for their publication it's beyond comical how uninformed he is but you have no information but in it's absence will accept anything as factual.

Stop it.

* Repeat after me. I know it's easy to blame the TOH and Kate Murray for everything short of global warming and her conduct has raised a ton of more than fair questions about her partisanship of the Lighthouse project but Tom Suozzi is the man who waited for years to settle on a developer and has done nothing to ease Wang's financial burden with Smg or the County.

* Repeat after me. Kate Murray and the TOH did not delay this process for years, Tom Suozzi and Nassau County did with people like Tom Gulotta who are the biggest part of today's problem that tied Suozzi's hands long before he took office. When Mr Wang wants to lament his purchase that's where he must direct his focus at the risk of losing his biggest verbal-only supporter.

* Repeat after me. The TOH must go by the process and cannot green light something of this scale that quickly and as frustrated as Mr Wang is he has to face a hard reality. We can play with words and Mr Wang can talk about his second decade as owner frustrated and waiting for action but the proposal was not submitted to the TOH until November 2007 and it was February 2003 that Wang first discussed plans to renovate the Coliseum with Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi here.

The Yankees and Mets as late as 2000-2001 had ballpark deals ready to go that were dropped until 2006 after Mike Bloomberg canceled Rudy Guliani's prior agreements when he took office.

* Repeat after me. I dare anyone who reads NYIFC to produce one Newsday article or blog entry just as harsh or critical of James Dolan who resides in as big an outdated dump of a building with far worse sight lines (that reportedly lost as much or more than the Islanders as late as 2004) than what we have seen their staff do not only to the owners or general managers of the New York Islanders, but the Jets, Mets, Yankees.

What's the line in the Caine Mutiny by the late José Ferrer about Fred McMurray's character in the movie? Newsday never even heard of James Dolan when it's time to be critical.

The Rangers have two playoff series wins since 1997 and have been a league-wide laughingstock for countless terrible moves on ice with no shortage of lawsuits off it it including it's latest disaster with the league itself where they are reportedly going to pay 15 million for the leagues leaal fees. They have signed seemingly half the NHL to poor or front-loaded contracts and their seats hardly look filled at many weeknight home games despite announced sellout. The Knicks by comparison make the four playoffs in six years Islanders under Wang look like another New York Islander dynasty in this town with hirings, firings and signings that make Mike Milbury look like Bill Torrey by comparison.

The day after Kasparaitis six year deal expired, Redden was signed to his front-loaded contract.

* Repeat after me. So where is Mr Baumbach or Mr Rieber's or Wallace Matthews, Barbara Barker's countless blogs or articles ripping the Dolan's with Neil Best also getting in his shots about Redden, Kasparaitis, Holik, Naslund, Gomez, Drury just for openers combined with that pathetic sideshow in front of all those empty seats for Harry Howell and Andy Bathgate which woke Steve Zipay from his slumber only to blame the fans and not his employer?

All I read are positive spin articles on both Garden teams as if the staff cannot be critical for fear of losing their jobs while even the city media was critical of Dolan who usually focus only on his relevant media purchase which is the Knicks. One team has not seen a playoff game since 2001, the other just choked away a 3-1 series lead for the first time in their dubious history with their latest coach suspended for conduct after he benched a player he said did not belong in the league before he cashed Dolan's check and took his job and changed his tune with their hired spin doctors doing the rest. They made the Islanders seem transparent when it came to reporting injuries when they finally had one.

* Repeat after me. You think Scott Gordon would get away with those tantrums John Tortorella has pulled on the Newsday media if he did that to Greg Logan, Dan Martin or even Mr Botta?

* Repeat after me. You think if the Islanders ejected Ovechkin from a practice at the Coliseum or Snow issued a statement blaming security at whatever the Caps call home Newsday would have had their back like Mr Dolan's writers did for the Rangers?

A writer like Larry Brooks for all his Ranger bias and vindictiveness toward the Islanders and other clubs is still even honest enough to call out John Tortorella's unprofessional conduct even after he lobbied like his agent for his hiring.

* Repeat after me. NYIFC would never have written a word about it if Newsday was just as harsh and critical of Dolan as they are of Wang and other sports owners. All that this fan (and you) should require is an even playing and coverage field. What should bother all of you is the double-standards in reporting that influence your thoughts.

* Repeat after me. Charles Wang, why are you giving someone like Jim Baumbach or anyone access to your teams books? Do you really trust him given what he has written about your ownership when he does not apply to exact same reporting standards to the Garden's teams.

I would not trust Jim Baumbach to do anything for us much less provide him those kind of documents. This is why you have a Lighthouse website and a hockey website and can communicate this information directly to your customers.

These are mistakes you CANNOT continue to make unless the intention is to bury this team forever in a ton of negative publicity that will drive away virtually all of your customers even if the Lighthouse were finished and ready for business tomorrow.

I do get the concept you cut the budget and Newsday became a sponsor advertised during games and your website so you owe them something but you are paying one heck of a price for whatever the Dolan's paid you.

By the time the message filters down through Canada and the blog communities all we read about is Milbury and the nineties along with how your good intentions in spending 130 million on players in 2002 was a mistake along with your decision to hire an inexperienced gm which the jury is out on but not looking great considering 30th is 30th.

Your message gets completely lost just as quickly as it is to ignore all the man games lost as a fair reason the club finished 30th which is almost never noted in outside coverage of why the club had such a terrible season.

* Repeat after me. Don't count on Charles Wang spending on player contracts beyond the league mandated cap floor this summer. He's gone above the cap and did a great job with this last summer (and thought his entire tenure) spending 20m on Streit, will he even sign his first round pick is the only real question remaining but I think the bank is closed in terms of increasing payroll but the money is in the budget to send fans to the NHL draft but not do ITV updates?

* Repeat after me. Is Greg Logan actually working harder these days on the Newsday Islander blog and cut the disparity of updates vs Steve Zipay from about seven to one to six or five? This is a man who could not stick around to blog for Arbour night and was AWOL from blogging when DiPietro started the all-star game and now he's writing about team website contests and blogging on the WC in May?

* Repeat after me. I know I'm very late to the dance on this but Kyle Woodlief is one of the most respected prospect authorities out there. Red Line Report follows prospects all year long around the globe from the time these kids turn fifteen and would never, ever exchange a rating for a headline. If Mr Woodlief who's picks often do not fall in line with CSB (E.J McGuire) or what some teams do on draft day feels John Tavares is not as good as another player and dropped him in the ratings it was done strictly based on performance.

Red Line Report and Mr Woodlief's reporting on prospects are as good as it gets and a first class product. Should that influence Garth Snow and Ryan Jankowski?

No, because they are paid with the scouts to conduct their own evaluation.

Repeat after me. There are more than enough professional sites/blogs out there with the funny pictures and jokes to make up for their lack of quality content who need filler and page hits that would write anything to generate some coverage about themselves in a heartbeat. Stop getting swallowed up by them because you want to read something about hockey or at the very least don't let it influence your opinion so much.

Half of them present themselves as insiders with all kinds of rumors and gossip, they know nothing but how to influence you and draw attention to themselves.

Repeat after me. You deserve a hell of a lot better.







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