In which Gary Bettman makes the case for contraction, relocation

The blog Une Fille au Quebec does yeoman's work by transcribing the Phoenix Coyotes-centric portion of last night's Hockey Night in Canada Hot Stove interview with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Ron MacLean. It was like porn for business school undergrads and Canadian fans counting down the days until the Hamilton BlackBerries are born. And for the rest of uzzzzzz...

Sorry, nodded off there. Two points of significance. First, Bettman claimed that Jim Balsillie's generous $212 million bid for the Yotes is "a much lesser number by the time you do all the setoffs and credits, but that's not the point." Interesting. The second is this comparison between industries by Bettman:

MacLean: So it's an opportunity for the owners if they do decide to relocate or it's an opportunity for expansion, or it's none of the above?

Bettman: Well in the right circumstance, if we decided to expand, wherever we decided to expand to, would be an opportunity for the league as a whole. The point on this is if you own a franchise, taken out of sports, if you own a Tim Horton's or a McDonald's, you name it, and you buy it in one particular location, you don't own the right to move it to a different location.

No, you don't. But what keeps McDonald's and Tim Horton's and any other fast food chain thriving is the ability of the parent company to understand which locations are prosperous and which ones are not.

I used to do market research for a company working for McDonald's. They would track where people would travel from to purchase food. If the customer base wasn't located where the store was located, guess what? They close one location, and open one where the consumers are.

Which is to say that comparing the Phoenix Coyotes to the fast food industry may not be the most rock-solid comparison for Bettman to make, even if it's intended to prove a point about ownership; and this is coming from someone who doesn't necessarily want to see the Coyotes move.

One other piece of Phoenix news worth mentioning is this piece by Mirtle that highlights (lowlights?) the true attendance figures for the Coyotes. We're actually now in favor of every NHL team going bankrupt just so we can peek into the true figures for announced attendance. Because we imagine the nearly 4,000-fan discrepancy in Phoenix this season isn't an anomaly when it comes to gate chicanery.

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