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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – June 21st, 2020

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

 

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Casinos Are Back, Now Do Sports

At 11:59 PM last night I was standing in a line of about 100 people outside Red Rock Casino. It was out of sheer curiosity, wondering what casinos would look like under the new normal in the post-pandemic world.

Like everyone, I’ve seen the pictures and videos of giant glass shields covering the tables and I’ve heard the horror stories of potential hygiene-related rules that will be put in place. I was ready for the worst.

I’ve been to grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, restaurants, retail shops, and pretty much every other place I’d normally visit in my daily life and the changes are noticeable. So I expected the casino, a place that’s essentially built on people touching common objects, to be completely unnoticeable to what I remembered before they were forced to shut down 79 days ago.

Midnight hit and the line started moving towards the door. In eight minutes, I found myself standing about 10 feet away from a machine that took my temperature. Two seconds later, I was cleared to enter, as was every other person in the line, and free to walk about the casino.

Every machine was on; chairs at every other one. Same at the bar, which was already full of people ordering drinks and tapping the machines in front of them. Table games were open, with fewer chairs, but running the same way they always were with people touching cards, chips, and dice. Despite a lack of live programming on the TV’s, even the sportsbook was open and seemingly operating as usual.

It was shockingly normal.

Which got me thinking about hockey.

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – May 18th, 2020

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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Made For TV Hockey Might Open Door For Ads On Jerseys

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Without paying fans in the seats, the NHL is going to have to start looking elsewhere for revenue streams whenever they begin playing games again.

It’s looking more and more likely with the re-opening of sports leagues in Asia and soon in Europe that sports can return this year in the U.S. and Canada, however, fans are probably going to be locked out for a while.

The NHL has a small history of putting ads on jerseys including a few teams doing it on their practice jerseys and most notably the World Cup of Hockey jerseys in 2016.

The Golden Knights have seen their share of patches on jerseys. In the first season, there was an inaugural season patch on the chest and an NHL 100 Years patch on the arm sleeve. Then, when they made the Stanley Cup Final, they had to find room for yet another patch. To avoid over patching, they removed the inaugural season one to add the Cup Final one.

In years two and three, the Golden Knights have been patchless aside from the A’s worn by alternate captains.

Without the patches, the Golden Knights jersey was ranked the 2nd best in the entire league in this year’s player’s poll behind only the Original Six Chicago Blackhawks.

Jersey ads have become commonplace in many sports leagues and like stadium naming rights can sometimes become synonymous with the team’s jersey.

The NHL has pushed for it unsuccessfully before, but there’s almost no way to deny it this time. Attendance is the number one revenue stream for the NHL (and it’s not close). With that out of the picture, jersey ads are an easy place to turn to and likely one the NHL won’t hesitate to capitalize on.

The bigger question becomes when they inevitably do it, will they last when the pandemic scare is completely over?

Hopefully not, I like the jerseys just the way they are. And we’re all already nervous enough about the over the top gold 3rd jersey on the way. Imagine if that thing has ads plastered all over it too.

Poll: 70% Will Attend Golden Knights Games

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last week Seton Hall University conducted a poll asking fans their level of concern attending a sporting event after the threat of COVID-19 is gone. The Stillman School of Business canvassed what fans would do if the leagues resumed play before there was a coronavirus vaccine? The results were lopsided.

72% of those who responded to the poll said they would not feel safe attending games until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is developed.

Asked what they would do if the leagues resumed play before there was a vaccine, 12 percent said in the poll released on Thursday that they would attend but only if social distancing could be maintained.

Only 13 percent said they would feel safe. The poll run by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business was conducted over April 6-8 with 762 respondents. -Steve Keating, Reuters

The university polled under 800 sports fans who overwhelmingly showed hesitation about returning to a venue without a successful vaccine. Something, we’re all concerned with. However, the numbers seemed broad, and possibly too regional. Seton Hall is in New Jersey, a state devastated by the coronavirus, and the poll participants were mostly sports enthusiasts from the NY/NJ area.

So, we decided to get a little more precise and ask a similar question to Golden Knights fans. The results were optimistically different.

With over 2300 votes, the SinBin.vegas poll found a much different response than the one conducted back East. Surprisingly, 48% clicked they would feel safe returning to a Golden Knights game after the league resumed and 70% said they would be willing to attend a game. Compared to the 13% of respondents from the Seton Hall poll.

Locally, Vegas residents are proactively isolating and keeping their distance as the governor told us to. However, many believe this is only temporary and the poll positively reflects that.

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – March 11th, 2020

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

 

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Polls, Odds, And Probabilities: Are The Golden Knights Going To Make The Playoffs?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Heading into the 2019-20 season the idea of the Golden Knights missing the playoffs felt ludicrous. 52 games and a head coaching change later, and all of a sudden it doesn’t seem that crazy anymore.

So, I decided to poke around hockey Internet to try and see where exactly the Golden Knights stand with 30 games left on the schedule.

First, we start with the fans.

The Golden Knights are generally an optimistic bunch, so of course the results are going to skew towards the positive. We asked the exact same question on all three social media platforms. All three polls came in right above 80% in favor of Vegas making the postseason.

There’s also a heavy level of optimism from the sportsbooks in Vegas. William Hill has the Golden Knights listed as the co-favorites to win the division, the 2nd favorites to win the Western Conference, and 5th favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Pacific Division
VGK +300

Western Conference
VGK +500

Stanley Cup
VGK +1000

Like fans, there’s a reason for their optimism though. Odds are set based on betting patterns. The more money that comes in on a specific team, the lower the odds go. Obviously, Vegas fans like to bet on their own team, so the numbers can go a little crazy in the Golden Knights favor.

Finally, we head to the prediction machines. There are three great ones out there that all use drastically different methods to come up with their probabilities.

First, the one I trust the most, is Dom Luszczyszyn’s playoff projections model on The Athletic. He updates it daily and uses “Game Score” to run 50,000 projections of what will happen the remainder of the season.

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@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – December 25th, 2019

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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Fans Express Their Displeasure On Facebook

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With their third straight loss and tenth loss in their last 13 games, Vegas fans are scurrying for answers. Sure, the Golden Knights have four OT losses in that span but overall it’s been some disappointing hockey.

What is it that bothers fans most? We asked them last night during our Facebook game thread. There were many answers, but here are a handful I found best measures the true temperature of the Golden Knights fanbase.

1. Defensive play. 2. Inconsistent scoring. 3. Lack of desire at times

There is no finish, instead we take dumb penalties and give up soft goals.

They make every other team’s goalie look like a wizard.

1. Scoring is inconsistent. 2. Defense needs help. 3. Top 6 tends to disappear

No cohesive play, no urgency and let’s face it… Subban is a liability.

As you can see, inconsistency on offense and defensive inefficiency is a common theme among fans. Urgency, or lack thereof, was a noun many fans used to describe their favorite club.

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It Takes Experience To Ride The Roller Coaster That Is An NHL Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Sports are a black and white business. Every night, you either win or you lose, there is no in-between.

And while that’s 100% true, and will always be in an individual game, an NHL season isn’t as binary.

An NHL season consists of 82 games to determine which 16 teams get a chance to continue competing in a completely separate season to select a champion. 52% of teams in the league are deemed good enough while the other 48% are eliminated, and it’s determined by the collection of results over six months of play.

No one loss ends a team’s season, and no one win earns a team a place in the playoffs. And thus, every team loses… a lot. Even the best of the best lose, all the time.

This isn’t news to anyone who follows sports, but to Golden Knights fans it can often get lost in the mix. Not because Vegas fans are new to hockey or because they are naive to the way the NHL works, but because of they don’t have the experience of it happening with this particular team.

Deep down, every person who roots for the Golden Knights knows there will never be another season quite like that the first one, but until there’s another example, that season stands as the shining example of what greatness looks like.

In that season the Golden Knights started out with three straight wins and won seven of their first eight. They never lost more than three in a row and only failed to earn points in three straight games twice. They won 29 of their 41 home games and fell at home in consecutive games just three times. They had a playoff berth sewn up by January, clinched in mid March, and no one really challenged them for the Pacific Division crown once they reached first place for good in December.

The season was perfect.

So perfect that there was a 93-minute documentary film created to celebrate it.

Comparing any season to that one is ridiculous because that season was just that, ridiculous.

But expecting the Golden Knights fan base to do anything else is just as ridiculous. The year they were great in the regular season, they went to the Stanley Cup Final. The year they were okay in the regular season, they were eliminated in the first round. That’s the way it feels like it must happen because that’s the only way it’s happened in the past.

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