Even on a good day, I would likely have a difficult time celebrating a Penguins Stanley Cup win. But this year, yeah, frustrating beyond….
I am not a conspiracy theorist with sports. Full stop.
Professional sports are entertainment – and entertainment is a business. It’s not about the highest level of raw competition for the players, although that’s sometimes a nice outcome it produces and does satisfy one of the key stakeholders in that the players are labor and labor does need some type of motivation and gratification. But, it’s about making money. The owners and the other investors in the league need to make money. Making money can be accomplished in a variety of ways, one of which can be leveraging the outcomes, both good and bad, of the marketable properties, meaning the players and franchises.
It was in the league’s best interest for the Penguins to win. I’m not saying they definitely manipulated the entire season to ensure it but I wouldn’t be surprised if along they there wasn’t a bit of slight of hand to provide advantages.
After all, why would the league chance pissing off 29 other franchises worth of fans and discrediting their brand by promoting a reality show rather than a competitive sport?
They wouldn’t which is why I don’t buy into this massive, high level conspiracies. There’s too much for the NHL or any league to lose by doing it.
However, like I alluded too, there’s all the great underpinning story lines that they might…
Take, for example, the Penguins ownership situation. The current group is lead by a franchise and league legend. Lemieux and his group purchased the team 16 years ago on the brink of imploding riding huge debt resulting in bankruptcy, low attendance and the threat of a move to Kansas City. After taking control of the team and tanking a few seasons to ensure high draft picks that resulted in generational talents becoming part of the new core Lemieux’s ownership group was riding high. They had improved attendance, a new arena and a Stanley Cup to go along with the legend of Sidney Crosby.
It was like the high flying 90s for the franchise all over again. And it seemed as good a time as any to think about cashing in on the investment. Rumors of a sale were floating. And then, the long, slow backslide of the franchise. Several seasons of early exists. Decreased attendance. And a financial situation that wasn’t necessarily enviable both in player contracts and in other debt.
Knowing the current ownership group of the Pens wants to sell badly AND that they have the expectation of pulling a record 750$M for the team it’s in the best interest to help jack up the worth which Forbes estimated as 10th in the league at 535$M.
It’s obvious that it’s in the best interest of the league to provide the outgoing owners with the best possible situation for the franchise. It’s not just about the huge sum of money at stake but also the leverage to select a new ownership group that could stewart the team to further success in Pittsburgh as opposed to having to take less money from a less desirable owner who might not maintain the franchise or worse, move it.
A sweatheart set of moves last offseason seemed to set the stage – Continue reading