Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oilers’ AHL Affiliate Reportedly To Oklahoma City...Where Is KC?

According to NewsOK.com, Oklahoma City is close to officially becoming the home of the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate next season. I have to ask again: Why is Kansas City seemingly not even in the conversation for an AHL team? Oklahoma City is roughly 61% of the size of Kansas City. As Ive written here before, (according to my rudimentary research) only three current AHL markets are bigger than Kansas City. And unlike the NHL, there seems to actually be teams for the takingif only AEG were interested.

Most notably, the St. Louis Blues affiliate could be available, with the Peoria Rivermens current lease set to expire after the current season. On October 1st, the Peoria Journal Star even claimed that there are rumblings about the Rivermen moving to Kansas City in 2010. But a November 9th column said negotiations are ongoing to keep the Rivermen in Peoria, and that a multi-year deal is expected. Kansas City may not be a hockey hotbed, but something tells me we could do better than Peorias 4,000 fans a game. Im not sure there could be a better fit for hockey in Kansas City than the Blues top farm team.

It is possible that AEG and the Sprint Center are looking into the AHL for Kansas City. But its hard to imagine that they are...surely the press would catch wind of it, and aside from the vague rumblings mentioned above, there seems to be zero evidence of it, and plenty of statements that they are specifically targeting the NHL.

Perhaps they would view an AHL team in the Sprint Center as a failure, given that the goal has always been the NHL. But isnt a complete lack of a sports tenant the real failure? Do they think an AHL team would block the way for an NHL team? Seems to me the AHL could actually help the cause by growing the base of hockey fans. Doesnt Kansas City deserve to at least be in the conversation?


Yeti said...

no conversation, KC wants pro!!!

Aaron said...

I guess I know what you mean, Yeti, but I assure you that the AHL is a professional league.

Dan said...

I agree that from a hockey fan's perspective, the AHL would be a great fit and wonderful for the Sprint Center -- even if they had to curtain off the upstairs for most or all of the games.

I fear the main reason AEG doesn't want this is that, without a "major league" tenant, the potential revenue doesn't provide enough benefit to offset the scheduling flexibility Sprint Center currently has. Based on that flexibility, we probably get events we otherwise might not.

Just a guess on my part, but that wouldn't surprise me. AEG's in it completely for profit, not for the good of KC hockey, and we probably must try to understand their business perspective.

Aaron said...

Great points, Dan. You're probably right that they have little to no motivation to land an AHL team, and it might even hurt their bottom line if they did. The Sprint Center's tremendous success so far as a non-sports event venue makes hockey that much less likely. I should have linked to it back when it came out, but I remember The Star running a story along those lines, saying even an NHL or NBA tenant could actually result in less earnings for AEG right now. Seems to me that having the security of 40+ dates guaranteed every year would be nice, but I can't pretend to know the first thing about the business.

Thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

"I guess I know what you mean, Yeti, but I assure you that the AHL is a professional league."

Actually, the AHL is a Triple-A league similar to the International and Pacific Coast leagues in baseball.

Aaron Stilley said...

Yes. And they are paid to play, and are therefore professionals.