December 15, 2003

Fix the NHL with a modified tiering system?: Terry Frei suggests a clever and soft-handed solution for NHL's problems with location distribution: preserve divisions and regional matchups, but include a three-tier "seeding" based on the previous season's results, which gives rationale to road trips and brings an element of NFL- and European-soccer-style parity to pro hockey. It'll never happen, but I like it.

posted by werty to hockey at 01:09 PM - 4 comments

I like the idea of relegation for all the major sports. It makes sense for the NHL in that not every team plays each other at home and away. It could certainly serve to build rivalries, desperation, and drive the NHL to a stronger and larger fan base. I'm not so sure a system like this would work in the NBA. Too much profit is tied into tickets, and if you're a crappy team (I'm looking at you Atlanta!) you rely on certain teams coming to your arena for the few sell-outs your going to get for a given season (Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, and now the Cavs). Relegation is a great answer to the general malaise that has become American professional sporting. I just don't see it happening. American teams would refuse to be relegated. They'd simply fold instead. Which isn't all that bad really. If the lesser franchises folded there would be a redistribution of talent and the teams that remained would become (theoretically) even more talented. I like it. But most fans probably wouldn't.

posted by lilnemo at 03:09 PM on December 15, 2003

He comes up with a horrible dog's dinner of a proposal. Either you have promotion/relegation or you do not. If you do then teams in the second and third divisions should not be qualifying for the playoffs. I've long thought that 30-32 teams in the major American sports is just too many. All of them could introduce pro/rel reletively easily. 15/16 teams per division, divided into pools of 4, 5 or 8. Adjust the revinue sharing and TV deals so that the division 2 clubs get slightly less money. Simple. Would the American public accept it? Who knows, until you try it? Maybe MLS is the best chance of such a system working in the future?

posted by salmacis at 03:36 AM on December 16, 2003

Relegation would work best in the NHL and MLB, I think, though you'd have to change the whole ownership structure of the minor leagues so that they aren't tied to major league teams, plus the way players are signed would have to change as well so guys aren't getting called away from their "minor" league teams all the time. D. Stern would never let the NBA go promotion/relegation. And it would be nearly impossible to do in the NFL, where the division between major and minor (the college leagues) is absolute.

posted by Justin Slotman at 06:55 AM on December 16, 2003

I'm not talking about the minor leagues. Promotion/relegation can be implemented perfectly well in the existing major leagues.

posted by salmacis at 12:29 PM on December 16, 2003

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