EMPTY-ARENA PLAN WON’T WORK FOR NHL


There are a bunch of nutty plans to resume big-time sports, most of which involve isolating every team in a given league in one locale, be it the NBA at Las Vegas, MLB in Arizona/Florida or the NHL in North Dakota, New Hampshire or Saskatchewan. (Intentional or not, each league’s glamour level is mirrored by geography.) The NBA and NHL might go right to a playoff.

All such notions involve playing in empty facilities.

Can the NHL afford to do that?

MLB, the NBA and the NFL have lucrative national TV contracts. The NHL doesn’t. The NHL relies heavily on ticket revenue. It can’t play in empty arenas.

The proposed setup would cost the NHL a ton of money. The NHL and its teams couldn’t handle the expense of transportation, lodging, food, medical, etc.

Right now, it’s easy to spitball. But when push comes to shove, hockey is done. Finance figures to dictate.

Hockey will likely resume only when it can operate in nearly 100 percent normalcy. When tickets can be purchased and games can be attended. Even then, pandemic paranoia will see fans trickle back slowly. Here’s betting the Penguins initially have trouble cracking 10,000 when PPG Paints Arena is again open for business.

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