The next line of the song is “I’ll be watching you,” but as new team President Kerry Bubolz knows, for his new organization, it’s not just the eyes of one creepy stalker (seriously, that’s what that song is about), it’s the eyes of the entire sports world. And those eyes are going to make everyone in that building feel like they are the baby panda at the zoo. Every step they take, every move they make, everybody’s watching you.
I really think this applies to this type of scenario. All of the folks that purchased season tickets, the NHL, they’re going to be watching. We have a level of visibility that I think creates an extra level of responsibility that we need to take very seriously. –Bubolz to SI.com
Step one is admitting there’s a problem. Oh wait, did I jump to a conclusion there? Well, whether that was an admission or not, it’s true, there is a problem.
There are two sides to professional sports franchises. In this case, there’s the hockey operations side and there’s the business side. One has gotten the kind of praise piled on an honor roll first-born, while the other has drawn nothing but the stern looks reserved only for the middle-child who has all the talent in the world but just doesn’t want to exert the effort.
It’s literally impossible to find a bad word about the staff George McPhee has put together in his front office. It’s diverse (now), it has experience, there are proven winners, and the resumes carried by every single person in the room are exemplary. In many ways, it’s the expansion front office dream team.
Then there’s that middle child over there who just can’t seem to find his footing in this new world. Look at the comments on this website, hop on Twitter, or ask your neighbor about the new hockey team in town, and to a man you’ll hear the same thing, “do they even have a name yet?” said with a certain inflection in their voice that’s usually only heard when husbands forget to pick up the eggs on the way home from work.
The eyes of the world are on sports’ newest team, but they’ve grown weary and it’s time for that to change. Bubolz was right when he said everything they do will be scrutinized, but this isn’t your every day expansion team. We aren’t talking about Columbus, Oklahoma City, or even Houston for that matter, we’re talking about Las Vegas. A city known for one thing, flare.
Thus far the hockey side has lived up to their Vegas marquee billing. The business side on the other hand, because everyone seems to ignore the monumental feat of selling 16,000 season tickets to a nonexistent team, has not. It’s time for that to change, and it starts on November 22nd. Knock that one out and it’s off and running from there.
They’ve promised something big. They’ve promised something memorable. And they’ve got to deliver. TV cameras are not kind to a small group of people gathered in a large area. This is the first moment where the Las Vegas organization will ask their own fans to come out in masses and please the eyes of the sports world.
It’s our job as fans to get out there and show our support, but it’s the team’s job to give us a reason to. Hopefully they do because every one of our doubters will be sitting at home in front of their TV’s singing our new fight song… I’ll be watching you.