The Hockey News reports that the NHL has been forced to dole out $8 million from its pool of revenue sharing and television money to keep the floundering Dallas Stars franchise afloat.The Stars, off to an impressive 4-1-0 start this season, are playing essentially without an owner. The instability surrounding the team combined with its struggles on the ice in recent years have turned fans off to the once very popular franchise.
On Saturday night the Stars were only able to draw 11,750 fans to the American Airlines centre for their game against the St. Louis Blues, the smallest crowd the Stars have ever played in front of in Dallas.
This isn’t the first time the NHL has had to come to the aid of a franchise in limbo—it’s been pumping money into the Phoenix Coyotes for years. But the Stars enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in Dallas after moving from Minnesota in the early 1990s and were perhaps the only southern-based NHL team that appeared to have found a truly sustainable hockey market.
Owner Tom Hicks’ sports empire has been crumbling and he has been working feverishly to spin off his other professional sports teams, the Texas Rangers and Liverpool FC. THN’s Ken Campbell says that the NHL and others responsible for selling the Stars have only themselves to blame for crushing the Stars’ fan base. The original asking price of $300 million is well above what anyone is willing to pay for the team and as a result many of the best choices for potential new owners have turned away from negotiations. So instead of re-claiming its dwindling fan base, Dallas continues to alienate its followers and there’s still no end in sight.
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