Crackberry, indeed

14Jun07

James Mirtle scanned in the ad soliciting for Hamilton Predators season tickets from today’s Globe & Mail. A lot’s already been said about Blackberry founder Jim Balsillie, but for the life of me, I can’t figure him out.

One part of me says that the brash and just-a-tad-wacky maybe-owner of the Nashville Predators is kinda like the owner in Major League. Say screw you to the Nashville fans with blatant middle finger in a prominent Canadian paper, then watch as the lame duck team scares away disgruntled fans. Maybe Balsillie thinks that he will get enough support from traditionalists on the NHL Board of Governors (who have to approve the sale, unless I’m mistaken about the process) that they’ll want a renegade who’s willing to put a stomp on Nashville and do a cut-and-paste over to Hamilton.

The other part of me thinks of Luke Skywalker telling Emperor Palpatine, “Your overconfidence is your weakness.” Wouldn’t the smart thing be to solicit this data AFTER the sale of the franchise is done? That way, Balsillie can point to the sales numbers, jump up and down and yell about how it’s a great market. Never mind the fact that Bettman, Daly, and co. would much rather have Kansas City or Las Vegas (it doesn’t take a genius to see that Vegas corporate sponsorship, with so many business travelers coming in and out of town, would be through the roof). What Balsillie is doing here is probably pissing off a good segment of the Board of Governors. Think of it this way:

1) The “progressive” Board members probably want to see someone consider all relocation possibilities as well as the potential for long-term survival of a franchise in Nashville.
2) The “traditional” Board members who don’t want some arrogant hotshot to come in and tell them how the show’s going to be run.

This whole thing is going to turn into one ridiculous sideshow, and I feel pretty bad for the Nashville die-hards who have to watch their team be ping-ponged around in a political tug-of-war. A word to the wise, Mr. Balsillie — sometimes, subtlety is the best approach. Of course, he’s a billionaire and I have a small-time writing business, so what do I know?

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One Response to “Crackberry, indeed”

  1. 1 OddyOh

    Yeah, I kinda thought his plan would be to play it closer to the vest. Then lie his way onto the board of governors (“Yes Mr. Bettman, Nashville sure IS a viable market, we can turn it all around”, etc). Not sure the brash approach will win any friends in the backward-thinking NHL.

    But as a hockey-loving Canadian, I sure hope so!


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