Florida Panthers Should Move to Canada, Claims Math God Nate Silver

Categories: Sports

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While today's public sports fan debate centers on the quality of Miami Heat fans, The New York Times' resident stats geek Nate Silver decided to focus on the quality and quantity of NHL fans last month. His conclusion: The Florida Panthers should either move to Canada or be eliminated.

See, while Canada is certifiably hysterical for hockey, not a single Canadian NHL team has won the Stanley Cup in 20 years. That's a trend that will be continued as the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks are currently battling out in the finals. (Yes, Miami, there is another pro sports final going on right now. Who knew?)

Silver thinks there should be more teams in Canada (where interest in hockey is high), and less in parts of America where the greater population barely pays attention to the sport. His method of determining the size of a team's fan base is a bit weird, but it seems to check out: He used a formula that took into account the number of people in a team's home media market who have Googled the phrase "NHL."

On that metric, just five percent of people in the combined media market of Broward and Miami-Dade counties would be considered "avid NHL fans," and that means the team's fan base can be estimated about 172,610 people. That's the second lowest in the league, only topping Nashville. (This model doesn't take into account transplants from the north whose interest in the NHL is tied to other teams.)

Silver then compares a team's fan base to operating income. Unsurprisingly, teams playing in markets with lower hockey interest tend to lose money. According to Forbes, the Panthers' operating income last year was negative 12 million dollars. It's not just the team's jerseys that put them in the red.

Silver's ultimate edict: "The six United States markets with fewer than 300,000 N.H.L. fans would lose their teams." And that includes the Panthers.

So, goodbye Florida Panthers. Hello Quebec Panthères? In Silver's ideal world, but of course that's all just fancy numbers.

Besides, maybe if the Panthers weren't one of the worst teams in the NHL almost every single season, we're sure South Florida fans would at least leave early during their playoff games, too.

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18 comments
paul
paul

South Florida is the only place I know of where there's a subset of people who seem to believe having an interest in ONE local team precludes equal interest in the others. As if, say, Heat fans live in some bubble where the Dolphins don't matter to them or Canes fans don't recognize the existence of the Panthers or whatever.

It's just so damn bizarre.

But here's some news for those wingnuts. PLENTY of us care about ALL the local teams and don't play one against the other as if they're somehow 'enemies.'

You know, the same as sports fans routinely behave ELSEWHERE where they root for ALL their local teams.

You guys doing the whole 'local team versus local team' nonsense are the genuine weirdos. Maybe you need to get away from your geographic isolation sometime.

dutchhockey17
dutchhockey17

Too bad this idiot doesn't realize that the Florida Panthers are owned by sunrise sports and entertainment... Which means every WWE/UFC or concert even it goes to the panthers franchise. Which brings in a crap load of money. Another thing is the Florida Panthers have a bright future with all the young talent they got.

Roberto Alba-Bustamante
Roberto Alba-Bustamante

South Florida is not a hockey market. That's just pure reality. The tools are not there for success. The market is saturated with other sports, etc.

Mike McCormack
Mike McCormack

Although the team is in the red, their parent company is in the black and, oddly enough, it has a lot to do with the fact that they own the Panthers. Silver's article was terrible--it's a lot more complex than the fact that you can draw 15,000 people a night to watch hockey in Quebec City or Halifax.

Carl Snyder
Carl Snyder

Move, i have lived here 35 years and never been to a game...only transplanted northerners ever watch.

hcespedes
hcespedes

Fuck that, keep the panthers here. Stop writing shit. 


Andrew Creech
Andrew Creech

A sport you need to spend a fortune to play in South Florida, poor team management, and the fact that most hockey fans in South Florida are transplants who maintain their allegiance to the teams they grew up with...it all adds up. The move certainly wouldn't surprise me, but it'd suck not to have a team I can watch my Flyers beat the crap out of.

Clint Diamond
Clint Diamond

I've been a Panther fan since 1992-1993. I was seven years old. I was at the old Miami Arena in 1996 when Uwe Krupp beat John Vanbiesbrouck in triple overtime. I was there when Bure scored (almost) back-to-back 60 goal seasons, and still there when he totally quit on us. I was there when Jay Bouwmeester was supposed to be the next Orr, and I was there when he was a non-entity down the final stretch. I've been there for Martin, Keenan, McLean, De Boer, Tallon, and Dineen. I was at game seven last season when we lost to the Devils. But at this point I'm so fed up with this team, so horrified with inept drafting, trading, prospect development, multiple coaching changes, lack of leadership, injuries, and general mismanagement that I don't even know how I would feel anymore if the Panthers moved. We've been promised that our core of prospects would develop into stars for so long that even with Huberdeau winning the Calder, it means nothing. I don't even know if I would care if they moved.

Matthew Ayala
Matthew Ayala

You are a terrible author because you obviously let the 100 heat fans that left early last night get to you. Which then caused you to trash a different South Florida sports team. Did you know that they made the playoffs last season? Oh and that this seasons ROY is on the Panthers? In a few years they will be a solid team. Relax.

David Fernandez
David Fernandez

Panthers are already endangered... Hope they don't become extinct

Renee Arana
Renee Arana

of course all heat fans are panthers fans too. duh

Leonel Perez
Leonel Perez

i am...and fuck nate silver for saying this

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