“Roundtable” breakdown, part 3

Here’s the third and final installment of the question-and-answer session from last night. Hopefully I did an adequate job of proving y’all with the major points addressed. And given that two-thirds of those who have voted in the poll say they don’t care that the Kings are losing money, it seems that Chris McGowan, for the most part, was correct…

———-

The next fan said he’s been watching since 1967, “when we had the Seals to pick on,” praised team management and asked Robitaille who he thought would win the Cup. Robitaille picked Pittsburgh, but jokingly hedged his bets.

There was a follow-up question about the fan-appreciation giveaways. The fan noted that three people won prizes in his section and two of them were wearing Ducks jerseys. He half-jokingly (I think) asked the Kings if they could rig the contest so that more season-ticket holders won. The panelists didn’t really answer, other than Hextall jokingly talking about rigging the draft lottery instead.

Another follow-up question was about the “obscene” parking prices and sought a change.

McGowan said, “Parking is what it is this year. We will try to find affordable options for our fans. … It’s not just us (AEG) building downtown.”

———-

The next question I’m really not familiar with. It was about people “aggressively” selling time-share units near this fan’s section. There was also a complaint about food selection at the concession stands.

McGowan said, “With the time-share stuff, we’ll look into changing that, maybe having them be less vocal. We’re hearing a lot of food-related issues come up. … We have urged fans to give us detailed feedback about the food.”

———-

The next question was about when there would be more road games televised, by Fox Sports Net, in HDTV, and also about the lack of bars and restaurants around the Staples Center neighborhood.

Robitaille noted that an “ESPN Zone” restaurant would soon be built across the street and, in regard to HDTV, said, “It depends on what cameras are there and who is doing the games. Different arenas have different angles. FSN wants all the games in HD, but in some cases we’re stuck and we have no choice.”

———-

The next question was about Dan Cloutier, and whether a decision had been made on a buyout or whether to “bury him” in the minors. There was also a question about why season-ticket holders are required to purchase preseason games.

Hextall said, “We haven’t made a final decision on a buyout. I’m not going to lie and say we haven’t talked about it, but a final decision has not been made.

As for the preseason games, McGowan noted that the Kings require their season-ticket holders to pay for only two preseason games, which he said is fewer than most teams, and that season-ticket holders are able to purchase tickets at a reduced price compared to those who buy single-game tickets.

———-

The next question was about (guess what?) parking, and whether the Kings would consider shuttles that run from local restaurants, etc.

McGowan noted that the Kings have looked at something the Denver Broncos do, which is to shuttle in fans from seven or eight different areas (sports bars, etc.) He indicated that the Kings would look into doing something similar.

———-

The next fan praised the Kings’ effort but said they needed to do something to “turn heads” this year, to do things that will make high-caliber free agents want to sign here now.

Hextall talked about developing young players and the pride players feel when it comes to winning with the team they broke in with. Hextall also said, “If someone wants to come here as a 32- or 33-year-old, to be honest I’m asking why. It’s either money or they want to sit on the beach for a year. The No. 1 defenseman (in this year’s free-agent class) is not going to want to come here. That’s reality. He knows we’re not going to win next year and maybe not the next year, so why would he come here? The way we have to pitch it is, `We have a spot beside Kopitar’ and `We have a spot next to Jack Johnson.’ Hossa, if we gave him $10 million he might come here, but do we want a player like that to come in and just make us a little bit better? We will get good players at the right time; make no mistake. It might not be this year, but we will try.”

———-

The next question was about giveaways (at the turnstiles, not by defensemen).

McGowan said that the Kings “did see a dropoff” in giveaways last season and said the goal was to have 15 giveaways per season. “It’s easy for us to ramp that back up,” McGowan said.

———-

The next fan asked why beer prices are so high and asked how the Kings could better market the team to a “mainstream audience.”

McGowan said, “We’re asking for feedback and we’re marketing the team differently now. … In the past, we’ve set a lot of expectations with the way we marketed the team. You’ll see some very different marketing strategies.”

Robitaille said, “We don’t want to be gimmicky about it.”

———-

The next fan stressed the need to have a team that plays together and players who pull for each other, and stressed the need for the Kings to “get free agents and keep them for a while.”

Hextall said, “I agree wholeheartedly. … We’re in the midst of building our foundation, then you add one or two guys, very selectively.”

———-

The next fan, following up on an earlier question, said he found the players to be very accessible at practice and said he didn’t understand why other fans didn’t see the same.

McGowan said the Kings planned to better promote the fact that their practices are open to the public.

There was a follow-up question about the need to provide better benefits and discounts to season-ticket holders. The fan noted that he got a 10-percent-off coupon for the Team L.A. store but could get 20-percent off simply for participating in a text-message promotion during the game.

McGowan said, “If we’re going to charge more for our product, we have to provide better benefits. … We’re asking for fan feedback in these areas.”

———-

The next fan, following up on Hextall’s comment about not signing players who just want to sit on the beach, ripped Rob Blake for doing just that and for being the first player off the ice at the end of practice.

Hextall said, “I tend to disagree there. Blakey is not a kid anymore and as you get older, there is a certain amount that you have to conserve. He’s in the gym a lot and he’s been a good influence on Jack Johnson and our young kids.”

Robitaille said, “For our young kids to see Blake in the gym every day, that’s a big thing.”

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  • the voice of reason

    Rich, as always, you are the man. Many thanks for all the hard work you put in around here.

    Hopefully some people will take note of the last fan’s comment about Blake…and then guys who see him in the dressing room every day instantly refute his limited perspective.

    Also think Hextall’s quotes about free agents signing here should be read by everyone. Perfectly captures where this team is at right now.

  • anthony

    That fan has it absolutely right about Rob Blake.

    As far as I’m concerned he can hit the road, and test the market with other teams.
    The value of the Kings team would be greatly diminished if he were to be resigned – as his motives now are only self serving and nothing else.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he one day joined these group of insiders, then selling to us fans – nothing but excuses, telling us what they want us hear – while adding to their pocket books.

  • CK

    Parking at all sporting events in the country suck, especially the ones in the “somewhat seedy, but will be nicer someday” areas of town. And beer prices, yeah it’s awful.
    Advice: Take the LA Metro (if you don’t live near a station, park near one and take it, it’s worth it.) I live on the westside and no where near a metro station but saved about $800 on parking this year by taking it.
    ALso, get drunk before you go to the game. (not recommended but hey, it’s cheaper)

  • LVC

    We should sign Blake for at least one more season…but at a discount… He’s still a useful member of the team…especially in the job of mentoring our new class of defensemen… For some strange reason…I see him as a future Kings coach…

    If they buy out the Beachball…he should reconsider a job as a manager at the Super 8… If he’s buried in the minors again…it’ll be another sad day for the minors… He should have retired WELL BEFORE he even considered coming here…

  • lblocal

    Rich, Thank you!

  • USC GO TROJANS

    Park at USC for cheap and go watch the Kings win.

  • voice of reason

    Anthony, I’m sorry, but how can you say that fan has it absolutely right about Blake while ignoring what two guys who see him EVERY DAY have to say about the situation?

  • From Forum to Staples

    As always, thanks Rich. Anthony, get over it. Blake has given the Kings stability and the kids someone to learn from. No, he’s not what he once was, but he’s not the incarnation of evil you always make him out to be. I’m with the other reader who says, I don’t trust any of these guys – but I trust Rich. The price hikes are obscene for a terrible product and AEG owns the parking, the building, the team, LA Live, etc. and manages the food service contracts, so it’s disingenuous at best to say they have no control. I want fewer gimmicks and more wins. Period.

  • Anonymous

    Kings need to upgrade their defensemen and if Blake is brought back for another season. That means they failed to do so. Blake did not play the kind of game that he is capable of. For some reason he held back. And only occasional showed glimpses of what he can do. Hextall mentioned that they are looking to upgrade their defensemen via some trades before the draft. So that means that they have a game plan. And lets see if they can pull it off.

    Roger

  • Daniel

    One thing that concerns me is the repetition of mistakes. It seems that the management is using this excuse a bit too often. Cloutier was a mistake. The failure to foresee parking inconveniences was a mistake. We blew London. Marketing and advertising needed to be refocused. I understand that no business can be run perfectly all the time but I am starting to feel as if the overarching philosophy of the franchise is constantly evolving. Yes, positive evolution is a good thing. Although, I am starting to see these mistakes as once sound decisions that the Kings have recently reversed or adjusted their philosophy on. Here is a hypothetical: if the style of play in the NHL changes in the near future I have a feeling drafting Hickey will be deemed a mistake by management. I know it is beating a dead horse but even if they traded down past the Bruins (who were allegedly eyeing Hickey) they still could have picked a good D-man (like Ryan McDonagh), had Hickey not been available, and acquired more picks or prospects.

    See, guys like David Geffen and Eli Broad rarely use the word mistake. That is usually because they rarely make mistakes. They run good organizations. Flawed organizations make mistakes and deal with handling the aftermath poorly. Ask Marion True about her/the Gettys mistakes. Or, ask Paul Bremer about his decision making process.

    I wish the Kings would have just said it from the beginning: We are going to rebuild. Please hold onto your hopes and dreams for a while. Or; We want our young guys to develop but we have to stay above the cap floor so we will sign some guys to bad contracts to adhere to the rules of the CBA. I know those arent catchy slogans but the true Kings fans would have stood by the team anyway. And right now, that is all the Kings have. Trust me, the casual fans post-strike attitude toward the Kings, and the NHL in general, is not headed in the right direction.

    So, I am just hoping that the inconsistencies in decision making are due to structural changes and not an overall philosophy that is revised as the fashions change.

    Go Kings and God Bless America. Land of the Free and home of the Kings.

  • brianguy

    I finally figured out what that timeshare thing was… I remember seeing them a couple of games, they were at a booth at the top of the single escalator. I turned the corner and saw them out of the corner of my eye at a couple of games as I walked past towards my seats and said “oh GOD no”. so yeah that’s pretty dumb they’d have a vendor like that trying to sell stuff but if that’s a fan’s biggest complaint about the Kings / Staples that’s pretty minor

  • brianguy

    Daniel probably said it best. I don’t have a lot more to say today so I’ll just shut up. I still have not figured out what USC guy was talking about. last thing I want to do is park 3 miles from Staples

  • George

    A few thoughts from a fan since 1970:

    *In pro sports, winners sell performance and losers sell hope. If AEG isn’t selling hope, they have nothing to sell.

    *Blake will be re-signed to help get to the cap floor.

    *Cloutier may be kept for the same reason.

    *AEG will likely move the team to KC within two years.

  • George

    Rich,

    BTW, this blog is terrific! It is every bit as good as the AEG Kings are bad. THANK YOU for your immense efforts!

  • Anonymous

    Kings will win Cupbefore they move to KC.KC already has
    the Royals and Chiefs to bag on and hockey failed there
    once with Scouts. Never can see NHL letting a team move
    from huge market to small market unless Bettmann just
    completely loses his mind. AEG will sell team before
    ever considering moving and I don’t see that happening
    either.

  • anthony

    You can’t tell me that Kansas City has a better market than L.A.

  • typicaljs

    No one cares that the kings are losing money because we’re the ones paying the price because they suck at their jobs.

    The kings have an extremely loyal fan base and in my opinion have basically been taking advantage of it for the last 20 years. If my $10 parking space on Olympic is gone next season, so am I and anyone that would come with me.

    The kings and everyone in their organization still gets paid. Uncle Phil can take a minor hit to his wallet over the short run while his town gets built before we make him tons of money. At least they’re willing to admit we don’t care their losing money and their just dealing with it. Come up with a better excuse or do a better job and everyone is happy.

    And yeah, no way are the kings going anywhere. Uncle Phil is really making a dumb move unless he thinks all his construction is going to be done by the time the season starts and he can offset the loss he’s going to take on the kings with his downtown construction. In which case he can get bent for once again not caring about kings fans.

  • 77 Hockey Sticks

    As stated by a man whos son loves bacon.

    “I think the stupid thing about all this is that because the team is losing, they’re forced to expose themselves a bit more to appease the public, but really there’s no science here, just a bunch of jocks playing a game; throw in some money and a dash of politics and you get this mess. We’ve seen behind the curtain and its ugly. I think to a certain extent, this kind of openness hurts the organization. Get results and I don’t care what the process is. But the second you open the process to public debate, you’re screwed.”

  • metalmaster

    Interesting points 77
    At the end of the day it is a business and businesses
    will make decisions based on results more than anything
    else. It will be intersting to see what happens when it
    is time to ante up for O’Sullivan, Kopitar and a few of
    the others. I expect the going rate for Kopitar to be
    between 7-8 million per. I would not be to suprised to
    see a team offer O’Sullivan the type of deal Penner got
    from Oilers.

  • http://www.fbmarketingtools.com Deon Trembinski

    Very interesting way to market on facebook. I also found a way to automate several very powerful methods of getting users. You can grab ID by groups or pages or wall posts with this program. Then once you have the IDs you can do a friend request to your logon or sudo profile. This by passes the captcha codes too. There is also a cool chat program that you can setup scripts and keyword to work with. This program, when I use it I can see a spike in my site traffic. It is amazing…