Thursday, June 7, 2007

How I got Schooled By Ted Leonsis ( Why the NHL ain’t dead, even though the Ratings Suck!)

Robert Seidman ©June 7, 2007

Many people ask me about my confrontational style and approach and while I primarily attribute this to genetics, it’s an approach I embrace very much because it’s quite often the best way for me to learn.

We live in a wonderful world where Robert Seidman – an out of work blogger – can actually “confront” a guy like Ted Leonsis (a man with a net worth after taxes of over $100 million, who owns an NHL franchise and part of an NBA franchise).

Fortunately, Ted doesn’t have any problem with the confrontation and so for me, the out of work blogger, there is a great opportunity to think and learn. And learn I did. Because I was wrong and Ted was right.

Yesterday at about 2:45pm PDT when I was watching ESPN’s PTI and listening to Kornheiser absolutely rail on the NHL about its abysmal ratings (“if Bettman looks at these ratings and says. ‘we’re fine, everything’s good, the league’s healthy…he’s whistling past the graveyard!” If you had asked me yesterday at 2:46pm if I’d ever get around to disagreeing with Kornheiser, I’d have said, “No way, Mr. Tony is my boy!” Mr. Tony is my boy, but he’s wrong just like I was.

There is absolutely NO correlation between the VALUE of the NHL franchises (which are going up) and the national ratings for the Stanley Cup (which are going down). I am convinced of this now in the way that I am convinced that at some point this morning Apple stock (AAPL) was at around $126.50 even though not a single iPhone has yet been sold. Still, the value at that moment was the value, and does not correlate in any way to the # of iPhones sold.

While I do not believe the NHL will be in better shape 2 years from now if the national ratings for the Stanley Cup are where they are now (or worse), I do believe that “right now” the ratings are not actually indicative either of franchise values or the health of the league, and that right now things are actually much better for the NHL than they were a few years ago. More on this later...

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