So obviously, this isn’t an article about baseball. Shocking, I know. But it is an article about a Seattle Sports team, and honestly, that’s good enough for me. In my other articles, I really try to clean things up and take an analytical view of the point I’m trying to make, but this is a different article. As you should be able to deduce from the title, this is an article about the Seattle Kraken. Now, I don’t know much about hockey, so this article will probably sound more like a journal piece than journalism, but I’m hoping you can live with that (and if you can’t, I guess don’t read any further).
It would have been hard for me to imagine, one year ago, that it would take less than 25% of their first season for me to see the Kraken as an afterthought, yet here we are. I don’t care about the NHL anymore than I did last year, and that seems like a problem. Not to sound egotistical, but I feel I’m an ideal fan for the Kraken to target. I’m a serial obsessive sports fan who spends a majority of my day thinking about the Mariners, Seahawks, Huskies, MLB, and the NFL. I write, speak, and podcast about the teams in this market daily. And yet, I feel completely overlooked by the Kraken.
Now, understand that I’m not trying to make myself sound more important than I am. At best, I’m a mid-level player on the Mariners blogosphere and I’m a step or two below that on the Seahawks side of things. I’m simply saying that I am a fan who’s certainly more than a casual. I’ll spend money on your product, buy your merchandise, buy tickets, etc. I’ll talk you up, write about you, and generally have your back on a nightly basis. But for several reasons, I don’t feel that way about the Kraken. What are the reasons? Let’s take a look.
- The team stinks. They have the second fewest points in hockey and haven’t won a game in a few weeks.
- They’re hard to find on TV. I was so excited that they signed a deal with Root, but unfortunately for me, they don’t have a deal with Charter, so instead of hockey, I get boxing or fishing. I have ESPN+ and Hulu, but unfortunately, any Kraken games that are available on those platforms are blacked out since I live in the region.
- On the off chance I can watch, they play an incredibly boring brand of hockey. There is no flash to their game. They don’t score. There biggest add was a goalie, and it appears he kind of stinks. Also, not for nothing, but running one of the lowest payrolls in the league while having some of the highest ticket prices seems gross.
- Ticket prices are too much for me to go multiple times a year.
- There is no local connection to the sport or team (at least not one I can feel).
Now, some of these issues (if not all of them) aren’t necessarily the Kraken’s fault. I knew the Golden Knights were a fluke as an expansion team and were so successful, in fact, that NHL front offices weren’t going to allow themselves to be pillaged again. But honestly, the fact that the team stinks isn’t even that big of a deal. New teams always get a grace period.
The bigger issues are accessibility. Why do I need to jump through so many hoops to watch your product? I already pay for cable to carry the channel you made a deal with. I also pay for Hulu and ESPN+. So now, I’m supposed to go spend more money to get a VPN so I can illegally stream you onto my laptop? Get real. Honestly, this may not be their fault. I’m not gonna pretend like I know how tv deals work, but the team has been announced to be coming for 3 years and they still couldn’t get something figured out? That stupid.
I didn’t grow up with hockey. It’s not a sport I, or most people in the region, cared about or followed before the Kraken. And because I’m unable to attend games live or watch them on TV, I feel as though I’ve completely missed the most important time of my potential fandom.
I really wanted to be interested. And I’m glad so many people seem to care. Seattle, for all its flaws, is a world-class city and it deserves a world-class arena for hockey, concerts, and hopefully the NBA. That part won’t change. Sports do incredible things for regions that most other interests can’t even dream of achieving. But here we sit: the Seahawks and Huskies stink, the Sounders are particularly good, and MLB is headed towards a lockout. And despite this golden opportunity to fall in love with hockey, I feel like I’m being robbed of that opportunity.
Maybe someday, I’ll fall in love with the Kraken. Maybe I’ll be able to turn on my TV on a random Tuesday night, eat some dinner, and watch a hockey game. But 20 games into their inaugural season, the Kraken can’t even provide me with that. So, for those reasons, I’m out… at least for now.