Thankfully for the Blue Jackets, this knocks out two gimmicks for the week. This time, it's the "Bett and Bals." As you may or may not have heard, the Columbus Blue Jackets are down just about 25% in their season tickets sold so far, with about a month until the season starts. Of course, this will raise the question of relocation, contraction, and of course why expanded to that market. Luckily, we'll have fake figureheads to actually explain it and go on from there. Enjoy....or not.
We start with Gary storming in the door in a huff, tripping over the steps and flying into the arm rest of the couch where Jim is sitting
Jim Balsillie: (Looking over to Bettman) Something wrong, Gary??
Gary Bettman: Ouch.....no, just my world coming down on top of me. Not only do the Coyotes have a deadline coming up, now.....now....the Jackets are looking to be ruined.
JB: Just take it to Leo the dry cleaner; he'll be able to stitch up and clean anything.
GB: Not that, stupid. Did you hear about the Blue Jackets?? People don't want to see them. Columbus is the capital of the damn city, you'd think they'd have people flocking there to see them and take into the pride. It's a city of insurance.
JB: Well, there's never any insurance when it comes to a sports team.
GB: Punny, but get serious. It's enough problems that I have the Coyotes' heat on me, now this?? What's going on?? What the hell happened to all of this. It seems that I have one good team and one bad team-- I mean the Avalanche moved from Canada and are good, the Wild are doing fantastic-- what the hell is going on with this?? They need to get on the same page.
JB: It may be the capital, but it's also a college town. You think college kids (a) have the money to actually plunk down the cash for season tickets and (2) care about hockey when there's Buckeyes sports around?? The theory is great that you think there's a market already instilled there, but when you don't win-- these things seem to fall apart in your hand.
GB: Tell me more, Captain Obvious. Listen, you think I don't know this, but the thing of it all is that hockey there does have some kind of heat; what the hell is wrong with the whole ordeal that this team, who has some decent young stars, aren't able to get more butts in the seats?? Sure, winning is one thing, but when you don't seem to have a solid front office in effect-- what can I do??
JB: You know my Blackberry is always on, you can give me a buzz. Columbus is close enough to Canada for me to annex the state to make it part of Southern Ontario.
GB: You can't actually do that, can you??
JB: The more you don't know.....but anyway-- sure, the youth movement is nice; but how is this team marketable?? This team does have Rick Nash and Steve Mason amongst others, yet they don't actually get any air time for other areas to actually know about them. Therefore, the appeal of the isn't going to be the hottest, especially to the home audience. They may see them on TV and get them excited, which leads them get him out to the area. Part of that has to be onto you for not actually giving them any air time.
GB: It's a vicious cycle for TV. We have to get ratings, so you put the teams out there people will recognize and that people will have an interest in because they have fans spread across the nation like that. That leaves the teams that need the exposure out because they aren't the "sexy" thing for TV. Yet, they're the teams that need the exposure, but the network isn't going to buy it because their numbers go down and then we'll get crap for it. We can't win, one way or another.
JB: It's quite the dilemma, but sometimes you actually need to take a stand. You either have to stand up for your league and your team-- maybe build up a following for teams by putting the "unsexy" teams on TV. If not, you may need to contract in order to limit this situations happening, but I know you'd lose money there, too. I don't envy you in this-- but like I said; you know where to get me.
GB: Unfortunately. Oh man, I need a drink; anything in the fridge??
JB: Yeah, I just put something cold in there.
GB: Good, I could use it. (Walks to the fridge) You know, I'll be glad when this is over and I can get back to the easy stuff....like the CBA. Maybe start a new NHL clothing brand, "No Fehr" and sit back to hear the laughs.
JB: Yeah-- really good and something you want to make in order to have a partnership.
GB: Hey, I didn't say it was golden, just throwing ideas out there. Alright, what's in here?? (Opens fridge door)
Judge Redfield T. Baum: T-BOMBED!!!!
GB: SWEET SASSY MOLASSY!!!
JB + JRTB: Huh?!?
GB: I mean......
JB: Just fade out....