Market Power

Musings by an academic economist on the power of markets and the power over markets.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Impact of a Hockey Game

Kevin Buisman, the Athletic Director at Minnesota State University, Mankato has moved a home game of the Mavericks men’s hockey team from Mankato to the now-usually-empty Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the home of the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. The Mavericks will play the powerhouse Gophers of “The U”, the University of Minnesota, in their backyard instead of in Mankato’s Midwest Wireless Civic Center. Who’s PO’d? The local bars and restaurants, that’s who. See this article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Here is a quote from the article:

The move of the game is “not sitting well with John Rauchman of McGoff's, across Hickory Street from Mankato's Midwest Wireless Civic Center.

‘That weekend, when the Gophers are in town, is No. 1,’ Rauchman said. ‘Shouldn't they look at the fact that they're a Mankato team that should support the businesses in town that support them?’”

That depends on their objectives. I’m sure Mr. Buisman doesn’t account for the local bars when making his decision.

Why is Mr. Buisman doing this? Here’s a quote from him:

“’We are working very hard to increase attendance at our home games and believe outreach to other areas beyond Mankato is vital to the future growth of our program,’ Buisman said. He thinks at least 11,000 tickets will be sold for the Jan. 14 game.”

I don’t disagree that more attendance at games will help the program, but I don’t see how playing 1 hockey game 90 miles away from your home rink is going to increase attendance in Mankato – especially when there is a more consistent WCHA power like the Gophers less than 5 miles away from downtown St. Paul.

The move will, however, allow another 6,000 tickets to be sold – the vast majority going to fans of the Gophers who don't want to drive the 90 miles down highway 169 to Mankato.

What’s the title of that Pink Floyd song?

BTW, I wonder who gets what cut of concessions.