Monday, April 6, 2009

Phoenix Roadrunners fold

Another team bites the dust. This time it is the ECHL's Phoenix Roadrunners, who announced they are ceasing operations after their game today in Idaho. I saw them play earlier this season and thought it was exciting hockey with a decent and energetic fan base. Turns out that most of these fans were receiving very cheap or complimentary tickets and the teams revenues were not nearly enough to survive.

Its unfortunate, but in this economy the people that suffer the most are those that support these lesser-known teams. They can't afford the big-ticket leagues like the NFL and NHL, so they follow arena football (which has suspended their entire season) or the ECHL. These leagues operate from a signficant economic disadvantage to begin with, and when the real economy crashes, the weaker teams cannot survive.

The Fresno franchise folded earlier in the season, Dayton and Mississippi are suspending operations, and I expect a few more teams will disappear as the economy struggles. This is bad news for myself, as a roadtripper, I need as many sports destinations as possible. Having seen more than my share of the big 4, I now prefer these second-tier leagues which are more affordable and are often more entertaining than their big-name counterparts. Here's hoping that they are still around when the economy finally recovers.



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