The Winnipeg Ice are the city’s newest sports franchise, joining the Jets and the Manitoba Moose in Winnipeg’s hockey market, but one expert worries it’s one team too many.
Winnipeg is set to become the only city aside from Toronto in North America with an NHL, an AHL, and a Western Hockey League franchise.
Sports Economist Richard Powers fears the hockey market in Winnipeg is reaching its saturation point.
“If they get 800 people out to one of their opening games, I think that would be a win and I think it’ll be very difficult for them to sustain that number of people at every game.”
Hockey fans we spoke with at Kildonan Place mall said, ultimately, it’ll come down to the price point.
“As long as tickets aren’t too expensive I can see them making a go at it here in the city,” said one Winnipeg hockey fan.
Other fans aren’t so sure about the franchises sustainability.
“I probably won’t be going to watch them, I go to see the Moose and the Jets that’s enough for me.”
The owners of the Winnipeg Jets are welcoming their newest hockey neighbors and their owner Greg Fettes.
“True North has a long-established relationship with Greg Fettes. We admire his commitment and passion for our community, and wish him the best with this endeavor,” said True North Sports and Entertainment’s Vice President Rob Wozny in a statement sent to Global News.
But Powers said in order to be successful, the Ice will have to directly compete with the Manitoba Moose.
“The Moose have already saturated the family-friendly market in terms of pricing. They play in a much nicer facility, it’s going to be a very difficult draw.”
The Ice currently have 10 wins in 50 games, and Powers said that will have to improve quickly if the team hopes to generate a fan base in Winnipeg.
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