A blog about business and economics.
May 14 2012 11:25 AM

Why the NHL Needs The Sunbelt

1337009141278

Winnipeg used to have a hockey team, the Jets, but in 1996 it moved south to the much larger city of Phoenix. Québec City also used to have the Nordiques, but they moved to Denver in 1995. Also in the mid-1990s, an expansion team was located in Atlanta, the Thrashers. But recently the Thrashers* re-located to Winnipeg (where they're once again calling themselves the Jets) and the Phoenix Coyotes are bankrupt despite getting some extremely generous subsidies from Glendale. This leads The Economist to conlcude that "the NHL's enthusiasm for the sunbelt is hard to fathom."

I think it's fathomable enough. The issue is the bifurcated cable television markets in North America. Right now, hockey has a national broadcast deal in Canada and it has another one in the United States. Losing the national deal in the USA would be very costly to the entire enterprise. But to maintain that national deal, the NHL has to present itself as offering a true nationwide sports league which means you need teams in the sunbelt. Atlanta's departure didn't leave too much of a hole in the map since there are teams in North Carolina and Tennessee. Probably any one of the remaining non-Dallas sunbelt teams is expendable, but if you lost more than one to colder climes you might start imperiling the League's claim to be a real major sports across the length and breadth of the United States.

Advertisement

* CORRECTION: I originally misstated the name of Atlanta's NHL franchise.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?