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San Francisco Bulls

A Night Out With The San Francisco Bulls

San Francisco BullsCalifornia Redwoods. No not the trees but the football team. Never heard of them? Probably not. The California Redwoods were San Francisco’s United Football League (UFL) team during the league’s inagural 2009 season. They lasted one year and have since moved to Sacramento. How about the San Francisco Demons? They were San Francisco’s XFL team that lasted just one year as well. Another one-hit-wonder were the Spiders, San Francisco’s International Hockey League team that played just one season before going bankrupt.

Enter the Bulls, San Francisco’s new ECHL hockey team. When I first heard that we were getting a new hockey team two thoughts ran through my head. The first was how excited I was to be able to go watch a small-venue professional hockey team right here in my own back yard. The second thought was that I needed to make sure I got in to see them their first season because I doubted they’d last more than one year.

Despite a thriving sports climate (NFL x2, NBA, MLB x2) the immediate San Francisco area historically seems like the kind of place where people want to start new sports franchises but fail to remain viable. It is this history of failure that I judged the viability of a new hockey team. This has nothing to do with the Bulls management or investors but everything to do with the area’s apparent inability to support new sports franchises.

But it was my good fortune to win an evening of San Jose Sharks’ hockey with the head coach and some staff of the San Francisco Bulls and I have to tell you we had a great time. Talking with Coach Curcio hasn’t turned me into a hockey expert but I’ve learned a thing or two about the business of hockey. It’s also reaffirmed the notion that hockey is still a pretty closed club and it’s that club that owns and operates almost everthing related to the professional sport.

Unlike the past endeavors to expand the sports landscape here in San Francisco, the Bulls might actually stand a chance. Based on some of the things we talked about as far as sustainability of the team, comparing the draw the Spiders had back in the 90’s, the Bulls have attendance targets that are very attainable. Add in my perception that interest in hockey has increased since the days of the Spiders and we could be looking at pretty full barn.

On the hockey side of things the ECHL has a natural churn built into the system so year over year teams, for the most part, have mostly new rosters. This will allow the Bulls to start off on as close a level playing field with other teams as is possible. At the end of the day the success of the team is going to come down to winning, and starting on par with the talent of other teams should prove invaluable towards that. The standard is too high around here. If you don’t win people won’t come out.

Desipite my dreams of sticky floors, drunk mascots and fights in the stands the San Francisco Bulls instead appear poised to become a viable, sustainable fixture on the San Francisco sports landscape. The only question left in my mind is, will it be ‘Let’s Go Bulls!’ or ‘Go Bulls Go!’

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