Thankfully, Atlanta won’t get in a shootout to keep Thrashers

Given this state’s flirtation with forking out hundreds of millions of dollars for a spare football stadium, and the Glendale, Ariz., City Council’s decision to pay another $25 million ransom to keep the Coyotes NHL team in Phoenix for another season, it is reassuring to hear that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed isn’t interested in having his cash-strapped city pay millions to prevent the Thrashers from migrating to Canada.

From the AJC:

Reese McCranie, spokesman for Reed, said Atlanta has not been approached by the NHL about making a financial deal such as Glendale’s. Even if approached, the city — in the midst of pension reform and possible layoffs in 2012 — would not consider it, McCranie said.

“We are aware that the ownership of the Thrashers is having difficulty and they may leave,” McCranie said. “The mayor has had robust discussions with business leaders in the metro region [who might] potentially buy or join a team of buyers to keep the Thrashers here.

“He has gone through extraordinary lengths to ensure that the Thrashers can stay in Atlanta, but at this moment there is not a deal on the table that we can present.”

Let’s hope the reality “at this moment” doesn’t change. If a private investor or group of investors would like to step up and buy the Thrashers so that they stay in town, great. But that hasn’t happened yet, even though the team apparently has been for sale for several years, and there’s little reason to think that a city-financed deal to keep the team here for one more season would buy the necessary time.

And if the Thrashers do fly north to Winnipeg? Well, thanks for all the memories, guys.

I guess.

– By Kyle Wingfield

47 comments Add your comment

Joel Edge

May 13th, 2011
5:47 am

Back in the Atlanta Flames days, I never could figure out why anyone would think hockey would be popular in Georgia.

Road Scholar

May 13th, 2011
6:19 am

Joel: They were counting on the relocated ‘yankees”, but that was before the costs of operating a franchise went through the roof!

Joel Edge

May 13th, 2011
6:54 am

Road Scholar: Those relocated “yankees” must have adopted the southern lifestyle. The only thing ice on top of water does, it keeps ya from fishing.

Moderate Line

May 13th, 2011
7:31 am

The only reason these teams can use relocation as a negotiation technique is because the NHL, NFL, MLB are monopolies. You don’t see soccer teams in England relocating.

carlosgvv

May 13th, 2011
8:55 am

Having grown up in the South, I never developed any interest in Hockey. I probably speak for a lot of people when saying I could not possibly care less whether the Thrashers stay or leave.

BlahBlahBlah

May 13th, 2011
9:08 am

Joel’s never been ice fishing.

Why Me

May 13th, 2011
9:19 am

Having grown up in the south, I have developed an intense passion for the sport of hockey, and regret never being exposed to the game in my youth. I probably speak for all Thrashers fans, both southern converts like me and transplants, when saying I would be crushed and betrayed if the Thrashers relocate.

AlG

May 13th, 2011
9:36 am

I grew up in the north and followed hockey when younger, but not for a long time since then. I do still follow the idiocy some cities show when they jump through hoops to make rich sports team owners richer at the expense of the taxpayers. Mayor Reed is spot on. If local business wants to make a deal, great. But leave the taxpayers’ money in our pockets.

Disgusted 10-Year Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

May 13th, 2011
9:55 am

The ONLY time the cesspool known as the City of Atlanta ever sees a single dime of this native Georgian’s money is when I bring my friends and family to Thrashers games and pay of parking, tickets, souvenirs, dinner, etc.

If the Thrashers leave town, everything inside the Perimeter can fall into a giant sinkhole for all I care.

Erf

May 13th, 2011
10:00 am

5,000,000+ people in the metro Atlanta area, $25,000,000. That’s a little under five dollars a person in tax dollars. That’s basically one cup of Starbucks a piece to keep NHL hockey in Atlanta. To me, that doesn’t seem like too much money in the long run. Unfortunately, the way I see it, most would rather not part with $5 from their pay check (one time) than have a hockey team in Atlanta. I’d be willing to cover a bunch of you if you just can’t imagine your life without the $5 bill.

blackbird13

May 13th, 2011
10:04 am

Pay taxes to keep an NHL team? Not no, but H double hockey sticks no!

carlosgvv

May 13th, 2011
10:04 am

Disgusted

You mean you’re actually brave enought to go into the City of Atlanta? Didn’t you know Atlanta is ruined and has been for many years now?

reebok

May 13th, 2011
10:04 am

stay, go, whatever. i enjoyed the flames back in the day, and LOVED the atlanta knights of the IHL, but the thrashers have always been a poorly-run team with a bad product. i quit going to games a couple of years ago when i realized that neither the management nor the players were trying.

Disgusted 10-Year Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

May 13th, 2011
10:10 am

Kyle, it obviously isn’t “politically correct” to say, but you know good and well the notorious Atlanta City Government would prostitute themselves out 9 Ways to Sunday and spend every dime they could beg, borrow and/or steal (mostly steal) to keep the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks here just to pander to a particular demographic that makes up the bulk of their core constituency.

Whatever

May 13th, 2011
10:16 am

Kyle – just because you don’t like hocky is no reason to close your eyes at all of the economic benefits the city and state reap from it.

Try some research before spouting your mouth off like an idiot.

blackbird13

May 13th, 2011
10:18 am

Disgusted,
Why not propose a tax in whatever community you live in to pay for a home for the Thrashers?

Whatever

May 13th, 2011
10:20 am

I just read your facebook profile, Kyle.

YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE SPORTS!!!! So shut up already about something sports related because you’re biased.

blackbird13

May 13th, 2011
10:22 am

“Try some research before spouting your mouth off like an idiot.”

Reams of research have shown the economic benefit is negligible at best and often negative when it comes to using taxpayer money to retain sports teams.
It’s funny; when people complain about the ridiculous salaries for pro athletes, the retort is often something like “they are getting what the market will bear.” But apparently the “market” can only bear such salaries when governments are subsidizing the teams.

Disgusted 10-Year Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

May 13th, 2011
10:23 am

Hockey is for “Everyone?”

Only if “Everyone” isn’t at the mercy of the dishonest incompetence of ATLANTA SPIRIT GROUP and/or the City of Atlanta.

Yawn...

May 13th, 2011
10:36 am

I bet this blog entry gets fewer than 50 responses – that’s how little Atlanta cares about the stupid Thrashers.

amy

May 13th, 2011
10:40 am

Disgusted 10-Year Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

I would be willing to get rid of the Thrashers to keep a jerk like you out of my city.

Erf

May 13th, 2011
10:40 am

I want hockey in Atlanta, it’s not a hefty weight for taxpayers. Of course $25,000,000 is a fortune, but when that fortune is divided among over 5,000,000 taxpayers in the metro area, it’s not nearly the financial burden that it seems. I don’t really care about the benefits to the city, but if it’s “negligible” as it was stated earlier, then that indicates there IS a benefit financially no matter how small. This really wouldn’t be a heavy burden on tax payers, but thanks to the overblown political rhetoric about taxes (especially here in Georgia even though we have some of the lowest taxes in the country) any kind of tax is deemed taboo. If just under $5 a person would be enough to keep hockey here, then I’m all for it. Forget about how awful the Thrashers are (and have been). I’m complete in agreement with Disgusted’s views of the ASG and DW. They’ve buried this franchise. However, I do like the opportunity to see Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos, etc. a) I don’t want to head out to Gwinnett (ever) to see an ECHL hockey game for the same reasons I don’t pay to see the Gwinnett Braves. I want to see the big leaguers, the best in the game. Even if our team sucks, there are tons of stars that play here too because their schedule dictates it. Hell, the Hawks have survived for YEARS on this theory.

blackbird13

May 13th, 2011
10:49 am

“I don’t really care about the benefits to the city,”

And most people care not at all about hockey.

” but if it’s “negligible” as it was stated earlier, then that indicates there IS a benefit financially no matter how small.”

Of course that ignores the fact that a greater benefit might be derived from using the money elsewhere–hiring police, for example.

mini mi-mi

May 13th, 2011
11:04 am

“Thankfully, Atlanta won’t get in a shootout to keep Thrashers” but the city will spend all kinds of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ tfor a NASCAR museum?!?!?!?

Erf

May 13th, 2011
11:07 am

we’re talking less than $5 a person to keep a pro sports team here in Atlanta. I’ll cover yours Blackbird.

Erf

May 13th, 2011
11:14 am

oh, and stay in your boring suburbs if you hate the city so much. Go eat at your local Applebees or Chilis and watch the games on TV. City folks can’t stand you suburbanites either. So, it’s a two-way street.

that's goofy

May 13th, 2011
11:45 am

Winning a Stanley Cup breeds fan interest (Go Lightning!). However, I hate to see owners hold cities hostage. Growing up in Florida I saw it happen several times. MLB owners were the worst always threatening to movie their team to FL (I’m looking at you Giants).

Responsible governments make an offer – if the team wants to go… so be it as long as the previous agreement is at an end.

I fully expect the Falcons to make the same threat if they don’t get a new stadium.

ATL Rocks

May 13th, 2011
12:46 pm

Hockey is great. The problem with hockey, and pro baseball and basketball for that matter, is that they simply play too many games. I think they need to cut the seasons in half.But then, the owners could not justify the huge saleries for the atheletes. Seriously, it is hard to get interested in a team when you have another 80 games to play in the regular season. Consequently, fans tend to focus on the playoffs and ignore the regular season. The problem is not Atlanta, it is the system. Unless you are one of the super elite teams, fans simply cannot afford to support you through 160 or so games.

Michael

May 13th, 2011
1:16 pm

That’s great to hear that Atlanta won’t be handing out a welfare check to the Thrashers. Now if only the city/state had the courage to say ‘adios’ to the Falcons, Art Blank, and the NFL’s demand for a new stadium.

ATLNative

May 13th, 2011
1:29 pm

I picked up on hockey back in the days of the Knights and loved it instantly! Growing up here, we didn’t have many (if any) options to play hockey as youths, so it’s not surprising that so many don’t care. However, those who did support the team did so passionately. Almost everyone at the games donned a Thrashers (or Knights/old Flames) sweater – which is impressive considering they cost more than a jersey for any of the other 3 major sports.

Thrashers hockey was a great experience and I can speak for many others I’ve talked to when I say it will be missed when the lights go out in Blueland. We diehards did all we could to keep them, but it’s hard to compete with Canadians when it comes to love for hockey.

Steve

May 13th, 2011
1:37 pm

The Thrashers indicate their average game attendance is 15,373. With roughly 5 million people in the metro area, that equates to approx 0.003 percent of the metro population attending games. There will be some fans watching them on TV (rather than going to the game), but with 3/thousands of 1 percent going to the game, they don’t appear to have much of a fan base here in Atlanta.

Linda

May 13th, 2011
1:39 pm

This would pose the loss of jobs for prosthodontists & manufacturers of polymethylmethacrylate acrylics for the edentulous.

reader

May 13th, 2011
1:45 pm

Truly guys i dont blame you for your kill hockey stance. I’m a big hockey fan but the Thrashers were and are a poor ambassador for the sport. They havent done anything but lose in so many ways. Don Waddell is the problem. Those owners/investors relied on him and they still do. He continues to steer the ship right into the ground. He is to blame but they wont get rid of him because they depend to much on him.

Kyle Wingfield

May 13th, 2011
2:40 pm

Whatever: Thanks for the big belly laugh. Not a sports fan? Tell it to my wife.

What I’m not a fan of, Whatever, is spending taxpayer money on private businesses. Including sports teams.

Your Mom

May 13th, 2011
4:33 pm

Joel, the only trouble with ice fishing it that it takes so long to cut a hole in the ice big enough for the boat.

BOB FROM ACCOUNT TEMPS

May 13th, 2011
4:35 pm

if the incompetent asg did not cave in to the atlanta political machine and become a liberal, politically correct bunch of jerks and had put the hockey team in the burbs, it would not have the problems it is having today. the team and fan base would flourish under the right leadership with the proper private funding away from the corrupt atlanta environment.

tiny tim

May 13th, 2011
4:42 pm

this ownership group is a bunch of self absorbed d- bags. it is no wonder they can’t find any partners. they thought they had a toy with which to impress their friends and found out they can’t afford to play.

rooster

May 13th, 2011
4:52 pm

The price of a Starbucks coffee each to keep an ice hockey team in Atlanta? No thanks. Rather have the coffee.

Go ahead, make Atlanta 2nd rate AGAIN.

May 13th, 2011
5:06 pm

If you look around, the top 10 cities in the USA have one or more teams in all four major sports (yes hockey is a major sport) By most measures, Atlanta is a top 10 city. Lose the Thrashers and we drop 2 or 3 notches. Personally I don’t want to be the next Oakland or Portland, cities that made a try at being a great city and did stupid things and fell flat on their faces.

I’m not a fan of spending taxpayer money to help support a public company, but let’s be realistic, it happens all the time. It has to be done from time to time. But if this same discussion was about saving the Hawks, I’d vote for it, even though I’m not a Basketball fan.

The Thrashers players and coaches are the problem, it’s the idiot owners. Sad but it’s the same problem we had in the 80s. The Flames were a great team (they won the cup their 2nd year in Calgary), but because of Tom Cousins over extending, he had to sell the Flames in a fire sale to save yet another empty office development in town.

Knight - Time

May 13th, 2011
5:54 pm

Bring back the Atlanta Knights! It was family affordable entertainment, with a great quality product on the ice and an organization that truly CARED!!

yuzeyurbrane

May 13th, 2011
6:47 pm

Mark this day Kyle. I agree with you 100% re the Thrashers. I am also against govt. subsidies of any type for Atlanta’s other pro sports teams. They are all rich mens’ playthings. Let them pay for it or raise money through the capital markets like any other private business (should).

ueeediot

May 13th, 2011
7:49 pm

Interesting that the Gwinnett Gladiators draw half the attendance the NHL professional team …..

If the govt wants to use tax dollars to back loans for new businesses etc, so be it. Taxes should not be a permanent part of funding any private business, professional sports, national radio, or pregnancy education, whats the difference?

[...] • One Atlanta columnist pleased the city won’t go the Glendale route to keep the team, and bids the Thrashers farewell should they relocate. [AJC] [...]

Drew

May 13th, 2011
9:05 pm

I gave hockey a chance when it came back to town; my father was a big fan and always told me “you’ve gotta see it live.” So I went, and I’ve never seen such nasty and overt bloodlust in a professional sport. Sure, there are fights in other sports, but only hockey gives it a theme song and fills the arena with video graphics glorifying the two guys down there kicking the youknowwhat out of each other… while the so-called ‘refs’ bide their time and wait for the show to end.

It’s a pathetic and degrading thing to watch… and believe me, I never PAID to see it. If the NHL leaves town, I won’t even wave ‘buh-bye’.

[...] • One Atlanta columnist pleased the city won’t go the Glendale route to keep the team, and bids the Thrashers farewell should they relocate. [AJC] [...]

[...] investments from companies in Britain, Germany and Austria. On the other hand, the city and state appear ready to stand by and watch if the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team is sold to investors who want to [...]

Ken

May 17th, 2011
11:34 am

Disgusted 10-Year Thrashers Season Ticket Holder has obvious great prejudice! He brings up a scenario regarding the Hawks that has NEVER happened! Hawks have been in business for 35 plus years and never have sought what the 12 year old Thrashers request. And lets not forget the owner of the Falcons too has sought public assistance for a new facility from the City but to no avail! So I don’t think race has anything to do with what is happening.