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Jim Balsillie’s Big Mistake

June 14th, 2007

The Hamilton predators? Don’t do it Jim. It looks like Jim Balsillie’s big NHL venture is going to bring a team to Hamilton instead of K-W/Cambridge. I have been an advocate of the latter, and have explained my reasoning elsewhere. Basically, however, it’s location, location, location – and brand. K-W has a quality brand, many GTO residents universitied in the area and think fondly of it. Others have relations in the area, or work with K-W residents, a huge chunk of whom commute to the GTA.

But Hamilton? Hamilton has the exact opposite problem. It has a dirty image, and it is not a popular destination. Examine it from this perspective. Who, outside of Hamilton, is a Hamilton Tiger Cat fan? Nobody! Ten minutes from Hamilton people cheer for the Toronto Argo’s. In order to succeed, Jim Balsillie’s team will have to draw from a disgruntled Maple Leaf base – the Hamilton brand simply won’t do that. If your in Mississauga, you don’t drive to Hamilton to see a game, and more so in Brampton and London – not to mention Waterloo which is a good hour from Hamilton.

Sorry Jim, big mistake. Southern Ontario is a great NHL market – as long as your team isn’t in Hamilton.


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