City Snapshot: How Quebec City stacks up

TSN/Globe and Mail

7/9/2010 9:46:23 AM

NHL history: Quebec Nordiques(1979-95) moved to become the Colorado Avalanche.

Potential Owner: Quebecor Media Inc. (CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau)

Demographic snapshot

Metro Population:  754,000

Median Household income: $54,047 (Canadian Average $59,090)

Average Household disposable income: $46,615 (Canadian Average $55,541)

Average Household net worth: $212,078 (Canadian Average $351,282)

Percentage of population aged 25-39: 21.1 per cent (Canadian Average 20 per cent)

Index for watching NHL Hockey on Television: 107 (Canadian average 100)

Economic snapshot

Number of Head offices: 85

Unemployment rate:  5.5 per cent  (Canadian average 8.1)

Number of businesses with 100+ employees: 454

Number of businesses with $20+ million in sales: 561

Number of businesses with 100+ employees and $20+ million in sales: 225

Population rate of growth: 0.8

GDP Rate of Growth: 2.2 per cent

Retail Sales: $11.3 Billion

Sports Competition in market: Quebec Les Capitals (Can-Am League baseball), Quebec Ramparts (QMJHL)

Arena: Proposed publicly funded $400 million, 18,500-seat arena built to NHL business standards.

Has Going For It: A greater appetite for hockey than other markets and a strong economic turnaround characterized by more private business and low unemployment. Proposed arena appears to have the backing of local and provincial governments, as well as the business community. Potential owner would have the incentive to support the hockey business for synergies with media holdings.

Has Going Against It: Would be the NHL's smallest market, making vulnerable to a downturn in the economy or a dive by the Canadian dollar. Has a relatively small number of large companies and head offices. Per capita wealth and disposable income is below Canadian average.

What they're saying: "Something is missing in town. It's the spirit about our national sport. It would be good for the community. More than that it makes the city more attractive. I'm trying everything I can to make this city more attractive. We're going to have big events here so I need a hockey team to be equal to Montreal." – Regis Lebeaume, Quebec City Mayor.

What Gary Bettman says:  "I've spoken to the Mayor, I've spoken to the Premier, and they seem to be hopeful to confident that there will be a new arena, perhaps in conjunction with an Olympic bid. But the arena is essential. I'm glad people are enthused … There are a lot of hockey fans there. With the right ownership group, with a new arena, and the economic system we have – which is different than the one we had when the team left – I believe a team can be well supported in that market."

Professor Norm O'Reilly's scorecard for Quebec City

Market Attractiveness

Economy: B-

Demographics: C

Market Size: C

Corporate presence: C+

Overall Score for Market Attractiveness: C+

Franchise Viability

Arena and Location: A+

Competition and Barriers to Entry: A+

Potential Owner (Quebecor, CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau): A

Final Grade: B+

What Norm O'Reilly says: "A team in Quebec City can work. There are a number of challenges to overcome. If you make the assumption that a public stadium is built, that's to the nines, that makes it easier. Then you'd need an ownership group willing to put money in and lose a bit, take a risk in the long term. You'd need a savvy management team that can fit the team into a market that is still attached to the Canadiens."

Note: Norm O'Reilly's evaluations are based on his own background and knowledge of the subject, transcripts of interviews done by TSN/Globe and Mail for this series and data collected from various sources including Statistics Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, Environics Analytics, IMI and Harris-Decima.