Fans have ideas on how to save the Thrashers

I get quite a few e-mails from Thrashers fans with their ideas on how to save the team from leaving Atlanta.

I thought I would share a couple of the correspondence I have received.

1. The five largest locally headquartered sponsors (Delta, Coke, Home Depot, Chik Fil A and UPS) step up and make a commitment to the fans and the team to add $4M to this year’s sponsorship each ($20M) to help the current ASG ownership absorb projected loses while they nail down a new local owner.  These same companies commit to the same level of sponsorship to new owners for five years while the new owners help build the brand.

In turn, the sponsor each get 100 upper bowl and 100 lower bowl season tickets to give to their employees, customers, clients, etc and some sort of added season ticket discount (5-10%) is given to employees of those companies if they buy season tickets.  The companies would also get great PR locally and I am sure nationally through sports media.  They could also work some cross promotions with the team – for example, Coke could do a commercial that shows a PeeWee hockey game with little kids wearing Thrashers jersey.  One kid skates off and mom and dad hand the kid a Coke and the tag line is something like “Coca Cola, committed to the future of hockey in our home town”.

2. Several Thrasher fans would like to offer a challenge to [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman and fellow Thrashers fans.  Before Winnipeg can be approved as a viable NHL location, ten thousand fine citizens of Winnipeg must commit to being season ticket holders for three seasons.

The fine citizens of Thrasherville would like the same opportunity with a twist. …

Mr. Bettman, the fine citizens of Thrasherville would like to play “deal or no deal.”  These are the terms: beginning on a date to be named by you, if 10,000 Thrashers fans commit to being season ticket holders for the next three seasons within a one week period from the “go” date, the NHL comes in and operates the Thrashers.  The ATLANTA SPIRIT L.L.C., IS GONE.  If Thrashers fans fail to reach that goal, you can go honestly state that you gave hockey a “chance” to succeed in Atlanta.  Thrasher fans would like the opportunity to have a “committed to success ownership.”

So the question is rather simple, “deal or no deal?”

What are your thoughts?

160 comments Add your comment

ATLfan

May 23rd, 2011
9:03 am

With the given management by ASG for the last several years I think they simply wanted to kill hockey interest in Atlanta. There is very minimal advertisement of thrashers in media and absolutely no thrashers merchandise in stores like walmart, target, etc. I think their initial plan was to kill attendance and to sell thrashers to another city while keeping hawks and philips together.

Having said this, I hardly can see future of thrashers with ASG in Atlanta – it seems of not their interest.

Winston

May 23rd, 2011
9:04 am

It’ll never happen

Telfo

May 23rd, 2011
9:05 am

my only thought is that the board of governors shouldn’t be selling out a market of this size for a measly 2 million dollars each cut of the relocation fee.

P$

May 23rd, 2011
9:08 am

10 people here will committ to 3 years…make it happen

Don Waddell

May 23rd, 2011
9:10 am

Sell to the Gladiators ownership, add luxury suites — Thrashers play in Gwinett in a smaller venue.

Five Months to Look for New Owners??????

May 23rd, 2011
9:16 am

Thew NHL claims the ASG has been looking to sell for “years”. That is one of many misconceptions about the situation in Atlanta – see video for info not seen in typical media outlets:

http://www.keepthethrashers.com//videokeepthrashersreally.html

Come on NHL – Give us more than FIVE MONTHS – other cities got much more help and time from the NHL!!!

Camboni

May 23rd, 2011
9:17 am

Option one sounds reasonable to me. I think if we had one more year to find a local buyer, we could do it. I would at least feel better about them moving after a year than so quickly now… It sucks that this is all happening during a terrible economic recession. There has been little talk of that as well. I feel if this was all going down five years ago (and ASG was really trying to sell the team back then), then there would be know problem finding a new local owner.

Kanata Senators

May 23rd, 2011
9:19 am

Great ideas!
Although, I think showing up to some hockey games once in a while may have helped as well……..

shootoutloss

May 23rd, 2011
9:19 am

10,000 STH fans for 3 years? RIIIIIIGHT…..first idea was pretty good though

ThemsTheBreaks

May 23rd, 2011
9:22 am

These are interesting ideas, and as a Winnipegger whose team left 15 ago, I really feel for the true fans in Atlanta. But let’s face it. The toothpaste is out of the tube. When it appears the Jets would be leaving, 120,000 people showed up for a Save The Jets rally. We donated something like $13 million. It didn’t matter. We didn’t have the building, the ownership, the strong economy, and we were plagued by a weak Canadian dollar. No owner wanted to buy the team and keep it in Winnipeg.

All of those factors have changed. Sounds like Atlanta is in that situation now. While there are passionate fans in Thrasherville, you’re gonna need more than 200 people to show up to a rally. ASG is selling season tickets right now … how many have they sold? Nothing stopping you (or corporate sponsors) from making the team a moneymaker right now. It could happen. For one more day.

EA

May 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

The NHL should take the Thrashers for some time period and see how the fans respond. I remember seeing a Bradley poll asking fans if they would buy tickets if this ownership group was gone. The results were an overwhelming yes. It is just not fair to yank this team away so quickly. Bettman knows the score. Atlanta fans are tired of supporting a franchise that continues to accept average or below average performances on the ice. Everything about the Thrashers product on and off the ice has diminished drastically since 2006. As a result, fans have stayed away. It is too expensive of a sport to support without some satisfaction.

GaVaHokie

May 23rd, 2011
9:28 am

I’ve got an easier idea… allow Winnipeg to expand into the league next season. Charge them between a $100 million Expansion fee. It’s cheaper then WPG buying the Thrashers, and the NHL gets more money than a WPG relocation fee.

Put $20m of that towards Thrashers season losses for next year… ATL maintains current ownership until they find a buyer. It gives Thrashers fans another season to prove interest in hockey.

Tight5er

May 23rd, 2011
9:28 am

How’s this for another plan?…There is some cryptic speculation floating around that appears to center on the idea of Winnipeg getting an expansion team. A friend suggested having them pay a $60 mil. expansion fee, $20 mil. of which would go toward covering the Thrasher’s losses for another year while they find new ownership. About as win-win as we can hope for here in ATL.

R. Stroz

May 23rd, 2011
9:29 am

In the inaugural year, every game was a sellout. Remove the ASG and the fans will return in mass.

GaVaHokie

May 23rd, 2011
9:30 am

Tight5er… gee, I wonder what friend you were talking to? :) haha

Thesawch

May 23rd, 2011
9:30 am

People ,No one wants to own the team here. Get it through your thick heads. You can go out and buy 15,000 season tickets it won’t matter. Same thing happened in Quebec and winnipeg in the 90’s. No one wanted to own a team in them markets due to the finacial circumstances. They are gone,toast history. Get it!!

Batcork

May 23rd, 2011
9:32 am

The 10K tickets thing is really intriguing and I would personally stretch and buy 10-12 season seats to keep the team here and rid ourselves of ASG. I think the world might be shocked to see the response. One week is pretty tight…where would the PR come from? The league itself? Certainly ASG wouldn’t have any role. Grass roots and social media can only go so far.

Unfortunately, league ownership is pretty much a non-starter. The team is not a bargain basement bankrupt entity like the Coyotes were, so the league (i.e. the other owners) would have to pony up ~$110M (~$4M/club) to buy it. Which certainly wouldn’t happen unless there were quality private ownership prospects in the wings, and probably wouldn’t happen even then. Under league ownership, things would be better (couldn’t be worse) than under ASG, but we’d still have the issue of frugal ownership that’s unlikely to pay the 2-3 additonal impact players we really need to become a legitimate contender.

Smoothie

May 23rd, 2011
9:33 am

“I’ve got an easier idea… allow Winnipeg to expand into the league next season. Charge them between a $100 million Expansion fee. It’s cheaper then WPG buying the Thrashers, and the NHL gets more money than a WPG relocation fee”

Hokie – great idea, but why stop there? I think the Bylaws states the going rate for expansion would be $200M. Why not just split the difference and tell TNSE they are in if they fork over a $150M fee, a $20M DISCOUNT off the going rate. Use $50M to help (read: FORCE) ASG offset their operating losses, but put stipulations in how they earn that money such as minimum marketing investment goals, season-tkt drive resource allocation, TV rights deal on a REAL TV STATION like TBS at least etc. And some of that money can also be used to help the Coyotes and other teams suffering from financial difficulty.

GROW THE GAME BETTMAN, DON’T DESTROY IT WITH SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS!!

Carl Brewer

May 23rd, 2011
9:33 am

The NHL and of course the A$G are screwing ATL. The Winnipeg bldg only has 1,500 more seats than the average attendance in ATL. If the price of oil falls or the dollar exchange rate changes the Winnipeg franchise will be in trouble again. It is a metro area with 500k population. I want to see a Winnipeg vs Ottawa Stanley Cup Final. That will solidify the NHL as a big time league. This is almost as smart as turning down ESPN to stay on Versus. The NHL has always been run by a small group of idiots! More blood that will increase ratings! what a joke.

rusty

May 23rd, 2011
9:34 am

If you have to do this kind of nonsense, you probably don’t deserve a team.

EA

May 23rd, 2011
9:35 am

This 200 at a rally mantra is a way to diminish Atlanta fans again. It was organized 2 days out. It fell over graduation weekend for a lot of schools. It was hot. Many schools got out on Friday so there are people who may have chosen to take advantage of starting a vacation before the schools up north get out. It was one event. The reasons are many. Give it a rest.

GaVaHokie

May 23rd, 2011
9:37 am

The Season Ticket idea should have happened on Saturday, with or without a contest… an overwhelming season ticket response this past Saturday may have been the only saving grace in this process.

I see only two likely scenarios to save ATL… a local buyer steps up in the 11th hour, or Bettman allows WPG to expand.

EA

May 23rd, 2011
9:38 am

Would you buy tickets from this group of people (ASG) knowing what we know now? Saturday was a way for them to save face. People are too smart for that.

Ward

May 23rd, 2011
9:39 am

Chris-good stuff…………..the stories out of Canada sound as though the deal is “done” and they are waiting uintil the day after Victoria Day to celebrate their new team. I just read a Globe and Mail piece out of Winnepeg:”Atlanta Thrashers set for Winnepeg move” and then a story in the first story “Thrashers Failure rests with owners and NHL”. Both were very insightful and the second story is the first I have read out of Canada to blast Waddell, Turner, ASG, and the NHL for allowing the ASG to run our chances into the ground. I am convinced we have been screwed by Waddell and the GROUP for a long time (probably since 2005 when their internal troubles began). I am equally convinced, even though Ted Turner gave the team its birthright and name, he had little interest nor did his offspring Beau and his son-in-law-both hand-picked co-owners with the other original troubled 9..then to become the dysfunctional 8. They were always clueless about Waddell’s incompetence and hockey savy in general. We, the fans were screwed from day one once the ASG got involved. The irony is Turner’s name will be associated with Atlanta sports history and baseball forever, and by default, his name has to be considered in the failures of “his” hockey input via his buddies and relatives in the ASG. Unlike the giant of a new owner in Buffalo our ASG were dwarfs in Atlanta.

GaVaHokie

May 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

Smoothie… when I said “Charge them between a $100 million Expansion fee”, I forgot to add $150. :)

“Charge them between a $100-$150 million Expansion fee.”

R. Stroz

May 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

Here’s the whole second idea: Yes, I’m the architect

Thrashers Fans to Bettman, “Deal or No Deal”

Several Thrasher fans would like to offer a challenge to Gary Bettman and fellow Thrashers fans. Before Winnipeg can be approved as a viable NHL location, ten thousand fine citizens of Winnipeg must commit to being season ticket holders for three seasons.

The fine citizens of Thrasherville would like the same opportunity with a twist. For years, the fine citizens of Atlanta have been frustrated with the anemic effort of the Atlanta Spirit Group to properly operate the Thrashers. For years, the fine citizens of Thrasherville have had to “deal” with derogatory comments by one of the ASG owners, disingenuous statements from the current team president and former general manager, and minimal relative NHL payroll. During the eleven year tenure of the Atlanta Thrashers, in a league where half the teams make the playoffs each season, the Thrashers have only mustered one playoff appearance in eleven years.

Despite years of public statements to the contrary by Don Waddell, Bruce Levenson, and Michael Gearon Jr, the “stewards” of the Atlanta Thrashers, the Atlanta Spririt L.L.C., revealed in court documents that they wanted to dispose of the Thrashers from the time the franchise was purchased from AOL/Time Warner. The person responsible for vetting the viability and intent of the Atlanta Spirit to adequately operate a NHL franchise is Gary Bettman. Quite frankly, Mr. Bettman failed to properly accomplish this task.

So Thrashers fans would like to give Mr. Bettman an opportunity to atone for his mistake of allowing the Atlanta Spirit to “operate” a hockey franchise in Atlanta.
Mr. Bettman, the fine citizens of Thrasherville would like to play “deal or no deal.” These are the terms: beginning on a date to be named by you, if 10,000 Thrashers fans commit to being season ticket holders for the next three seasons within a one week period from the “go” date, the NHL comes in and operates the Thrashers. The ATLANTA SPIRIT L.L.C., IS GONE. If Thrashers fans fail to reach that goal, you can go honestly state that you gave hockey a “chance” to succeed in Atlanta. Thrasher fans would like the opportunity to have a “committed to success ownership.” Mr. Bettman, from the time you approved the sale of the Thrashers to the Atlanta Spirit, L.L.C., Thrasher fans have never had that opportunity.

So the question is rather simple, “deal or no deal?”

EA

May 23rd, 2011
9:41 am

Stroz, how does anyone get in touch with Bettman. We all received a very insulting auto-response to our letters. He refuses to do any interviews with local media.

Fart

May 23rd, 2011
9:41 am

I’ve said for a long time now that better sponsorship and actual marketing could help this team. Be nice to have media coverage also, the glorious AJC is writing about the Thrashers “now” but they’ve neglected this team as much as the owners. Since when does Schultz and Bradley both write a Thrasher article almost on the same day? I can count on one hand how many articles both have written about the Thrashers since 1999.. and 99% of those were about how much Schultz hates DW. Everyone here harps on these huge companies that are failing Atlanta..they harp on the huge television market Atlanta is also, but that television market is putrid concerning the Thrashers. This wasn’t an overnight collapse, things have been run terrible since day 1 by all involved and associated with the franchise in almost every aspect. Sure it could be fixed..but i twould have been nice to get it right the first time, seemed simple enough.

JK Sockey

May 23rd, 2011
9:43 am

PHX stays in PHX and NHL (owners of Yotes) gets $25 Mil.
ATL moves to WPG and NHL (relocation fee) gets $60 Mil.
Total = $85 Mil.

or…

PHX moves to WPG and NHL gets $60 Mil.
ATL stays in ATL and ASG loses $20 Mil. (operating expenses)

Do the math peoples… and follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jksockey

Mike Phelan

May 23rd, 2011
9:44 am

GaVaHokie: Wow. So Winnipeg should subsidize anemic markets in Phoenix AND Atlanta juat so we can watch our players play our game?! Here’s a FAIR proposal: Thrashers fans agree to pay $200/seat and sel out every seat. The increased ticket price reflects the complete non-existence of aTV market. Pay for your own damn team and stop looking for hand outs.

Want help call out the NHL???

May 23rd, 2011
9:44 am

You can help with your PC and a mouse:

http://www.keepthethrashers.com/forwardlinkATL.html

Take some action – it will make you feel better.

ThemsTheBreaks

May 23rd, 2011
9:45 am

Expansion is an interesting idea… since the alternative for dealing with the Thrashers is contraction. Without local government coming in to bail out the team, and no owner in sight, those are the options for the league. They want a team in Winnipeg as much as Atlantans do. They’ve run out of options.

“It was hot.” lol

Puck Like A Porn Star

May 23rd, 2011
9:47 am

Someone kidnap Hulsizer and make the terms of his ransom simple: he buys the Thrashers and keeps them in Atlanta.

Or just grant Winnipeg and Saskatoon expansion franchises tomorrow. Easy.

schmeckdawg

May 23rd, 2011
9:48 am

Put the Detroit Red Wings in Thrashers jersey’s and vice versa! That is the only way to save this team. Oh yeah, get some owners that know what the hell they are doing!!!!!!!!

Hi ho hi ho it’s off to Winnipeg we go!!! I do feel bad for Dan Kamal however!

Tom

May 23rd, 2011
9:49 am

Get rid of the Spirit Group and I would give blood to fulfill my 3 year season ticket commitment.

You have to remember that many of the hardcore Thrasher fans boycotted the Spirit Group because we could see the mismanagement and fraud being perpetrated against the fans. Fire Waddell was a constant refrain.

Get rid of the Spirit and show that we will commit to paying for a competitive payroll and you will be amazed at how many tickets will be sold as the fans return…

Think of this year. When the team started to win, fans started coming back. If we had a competitive payroll we could have survived the injuries with additional depth. Instead we had to watch as the injuries kept us from achieving our potential and attendance dropped.

When you put out a sub par product you can not expect people to blindly follow it.

Get rid of the ASG and watch how the fans return Gary Bettman. You saddled these morons on us, we did not ask for them. Now get them out and give us a chance to be passionate again about OUR TEAM!

HateChrisV

May 23rd, 2011
9:50 am

Hey Chris, since you just Twitted that the last possible owner dropped out of the hunt, what has he/she/they tried to do to keep the team in Atlanta? Or better yet, why don’t you just tell us that it was a complete way to keep the story going all along, so you can get your final five minutes in Atlanta coverage before leaving Atlanta for good? It appears with how you’ve been smooching with the Winnipeg media outlets, you’ve got another job lined up…

BlameCanada

May 23rd, 2011
9:51 am

rusty- Wow, the pot just called the kettle black. If you have to resort to trolling nonsense, you probably don’t deserve a team.

My idea is that the ASG should sell the team to HBO. They could do a Road to the Stanley Cup, following the Thrashers over several seasons in their attempt to win a cup. The show would draw a huge national audience and put the Thrashers on the map. It would guarantee to raise ticket sales, as well as TV ratings for both games and the show. If it works, the Thrashers win a Cup in Atlanta, and HBO would own a team worth loads more than they bought it for. If it doesn’t work, There will always be someone who wants to buy the team, even if they don’t want to keep them here.

Kanata Senators

May 23rd, 2011
9:54 am

Ottawa vs Winnipeg in the finals would be AWESOME!!!
Go Sens!!!

Tim

May 23rd, 2011
9:54 am

Give it up losers. Go watch your NASCAR (YEEEEEEE-HAWWWWWWW) if we need your help packing up the Thrashers, we’ll let you know.

Flames….now Thrashers. Atlanta = 2 time NHL loser. LOL.

GO JETS GO !!!

Gumby

May 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

Chris, I would like to know if Gary Bettman has addressed how the team may have been for sale for years, but the ASG was in court for most of that time. I wish someone would press this point on the Mr. Bettman, and if they have I would like a link to that article. Nobody would want to try to buy a team when they are still mixed up in the courts. If the NHL really wanted to give Atlanta a real chance at finding a local buyer then they would give them at least a full year out of court to find a buyer. After that, I couldn’t blame the team being sold and relocated.

The only reason to me for such a quick move is they have to get done quick enough to have the schedule out and make all the moves for players, coaches, possibly equipment. Rushing to get this done for the sake of a deadline does not make good longterm business sense. Again, if a buyer can’t be found in a real amount of time then so be it. However, 5 months barely is enough time for possible buyers to kick the tires.

Sherry Taylor

May 23rd, 2011
9:56 am

I don’t think the season tickets idea can be achieved AT THIS POINT, but I think the first idea about corporate sponsorship is very doable, that is if the corporations are agreeable. It would give us a chance to build and look for an owner who wants to keep the team here (minus a few palyers anxious to move north).

Tight5er

May 23rd, 2011
10:00 am

@MPhelan – Please spare us the Canadian jingoism about “our players play our game.” When the Thrashers show up in WPG you’re going to get 9 Canadians, 9 Americans, a couple of Czechs, a few Swedes and an old, slow Kazakh.

Do you want an NHL team in Winnipeg or are you only looking to dump on the US?

Rick

May 23rd, 2011
10:00 am

This will all be over this week. You shoud have been thinking about how to save the team for the last several years when they were drawing 2 dozen fans.

Disgusted 10-Year Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

May 23rd, 2011
10:02 am

After what Bruce Levenson & Atlanta Spirit Group have done to the Thrashers, trying to save them now would be like trying to perform CPR on John F. Kennedy…

…today.

Burn in the Eternal Lake of Fire, Atlanta $pirit Group!

Timo

May 23rd, 2011
10:02 am

re:Mike Phelan That’s a good joke. Canadians whining about handouts. Isn’t that how businesses survive in Canada?

sisu

May 23rd, 2011
10:03 am

I am not surprised by all the attacks on fans by each other, seems to happen more often than not. Since I love NHL hockey live I had season tickets for 9 years. My support was with the team and this is how I get paid back.

To keep the team it certainly would have been nice for the NHL to follow the same path they have taken with any other team. Look at how long the Tampa disaster was allowed to go on? Not long! The league helped them find an owner. If hockey can work in Tampa why not here? No offense to the people in Tampa!
To save this team the league would have had to remove it from the ASG but they really could not do that since all they would have is a team, no building!
Chris Vivlamore and others!!! Has anyone checked ASG’s math on the so called losses? Have they opened up their finances at any point? Why does any one believe their words? Last season attendance was brutal during the weekday games at times, but in the years past it has not been that bad.
If this team moves lets at least hope that they will not be known as the Thrashers nor the Jets, they should be named by NHL and Bettman.

Joe Friday

May 23rd, 2011
10:03 am

I was a Day 1 Season Ticker holder who gave up my seats 2 years ago due to the mismanagement of the Waddell and the Spirit Group.

If we get a new owners who’s a hockey guy or at least commited to the team, you can put me down for 5 club seats for the next 10 years, if Waddell and the Spirit Group are gone.

I’m as hardcore as it gets, and there’s thousands more like me who’ll come back, where do I sign up?

Kanata Senators

May 23rd, 2011
10:04 am

5 months to find an owner is not fair, true, but it has not been 5 months. The team’s troubles have been known for a very long time. If someone wanted to purchase the team, they would have had years and years to get an ownership group together, and then, once the dust settled from the court thing, step forward.

It’s not like in January all of a sudden this big revelation that the thrashers were in trouble surfaced, it was known long before that. I have heard numerous claims by thrashers fans that everyone knew ASG didn’t want to own the team for a few years now. Would potential owners not have also known that it would be for sale once the court case was settled?

It was not 5 months. Nobody wanted to lose money on a market that has never proved it can sustain a team.

moriler

May 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

Whistling past the graveyard, i’m afraid.

The first option is too much of an outlay by those companies for a market that remains a big unknown. They aren’t going to want to prop up the franchise forever, and all that advertising only works in their favor if people are watching in the first place. Those 200 season tickets each won’t be reaching new eyeballs for advertising.

The second option will never fly until there is an actual buyer. The NHL will not commit to operating a franchise in an open-ended scenario like this as long as there is someone willing to purchase the team.

2mins

May 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

I don’t mind the season ticket idea, but let’s do this instead. Whatever city sells more season tickets in one week, gets the team. And to make it fair, since the CDN dollar is on par, the average season ticket price in both cities will be $60 per seat per game. Then we will see who’s willing to pay.