Software Engineer, Brian Krause stops by the NHL blog to highlight some of the new additions made to Franchise Mode for NHL 17.
KNOW YOUR OWNER
Each team has an owner, each of which comes complete with their own unique personality and set of goals that you’ll have to navigate over the course of a season. An owner’s personality is made up of three specific characterizes:
- SPENDING – This determines the size of your budget. The higher the rating, the more you will have to spend on player personnel, marketing, stadium upgrades and more.
- IMPORTANCE OF SUCCESS – This determines whether your ownership group prioritizes winning or making a profit. Owners who have a high ‘importance of success’ rating will set more team performance goals rather than profit related goals.
- PATIENCE – This determines how long of a leash you’ll have before your ownership group starts to question your management abilities. A high patience rating will allow managers to develop prospects with the hope of creating a dominant team in a few years; a low patience rating may force you to make personnel moves to help you win now.
Once you select your team, you’ll quickly meet the owner, and be given a list of expectations/goals for the coming year. Owner Goals will be tiered by Primary Goals, Secondary Goals and Stretch Goals. Completing primary goals should be every manager’s major objective heading into the season, as your owner will judge your overall performance heavily on the outcome of your primary goal.
Goals evolve over time as the league changes, and as your status within the league changes in relation to your opponents. If your team struggles for a few years in a row, you may get the ‘Make Round 2’ of the playoffs, rather than an expectation of winning it all.
You can always jump into the Owner Goals menu to check the status of your goals, and see your owner’s current happiness rating. Owner happiness is key to gainful employment. Do things your owner wants you to do, stay within his intended budget, and meet his goal expectations, and you have a pretty good chance of keeping your job over the duration of your contract. Below is a snippet of what we factor into the owner’s happiness tool.
You can now get fired part way through your existing contract if the owners Patience Attribute is low enough, and his Happiness with your performance is low.
Obviously, the more patient the owner, the leeway he will have when it comes to failure or a ‘long term’ vision, but the low happiness of the owner can cause you to get fired regardless of how patient he may otherwise be.
Furthermore, the happiness of your owner at the time of your last contract (expiry or firing) will dictate the quantity and quality of teams that will vie for your services.
ARENA AND FACILITIES
- SET PRICES – Your main source of revenue in NHL®17 Franchise Mode is through the sale of Season Tickets, Game Tickets, Concessions, Merchandise and Parking. Monitor the team’s fortunes over the course of the year to ensure that the price set is still within the recommended range. If you fail to charge within the recommended range, you’ll receive negative feedback and attendance can drop.
- UPGRADE & MAINTAIN – You may upgrade your Concessions, Team Store, Parking Lot and Club Seats to a maximum of 5 levels. Each level gains you access to new features and sellable items. Each of these items also has a maintenance level, which will decline as you have home games. Keeping these locations in tip-top shape is integral to fan happiness, as nobody will want to buy food in an arena with overflowing bathrooms.
- ARENA CUSTOMIZATION – As you progress through Franchise Mode you’ll be given the option to improve your stadium through Arena Customization. From here you will be able to improve everything from the architectural design of your stadium to the in-arena presentation of music, special effects, scoreboard, and lighting.
- TEAM RANKINGS AND SALES – Use this menu option to see where your team stacks up against other clubs in the NHL. Compare the revenue you generate, as well as ticket, concession, merchandise and parking sales.
How many fans come to your stadium to watch games will now be determined by a number of factors. It will take into account the current time of the season (pre-season vs first round of playoffs), quality of opponent, ticket pricing, team performance, the prestige of home team, fan base loyalty, market size, season ticket purchases and more.
Going on a winning streak will bring in more casual fans, having a hardcore fan base will minimize fans deciding not to show up if you are on a losing streak. Having a high-profile team or a division rival can bring in extra walk up fans, but playing against a basement dweller in the standings or pricing your tickets too high can drive away potential attendees.
If you are having trouble filling the seats, it may be time to relocate your franchise to a new market. If ownership approves relocation, choose from a list of 19 cities and weigh options that include stadium cost and city-aided-funding, while taking a close look at the market size and fan base to help find the best fit for your franchise. Each of the 19 cities has a list of attributes that affect how likely your team is to succeed there, and will take a different negotiating tact with you when you enter into negotiations to relocate there.
Once you’ve negotiated the deal that works for you, lock in your location and drive the full creative direction of your new team uniforms and arena design.
Each team will receive a basic budget to adhere to based on the team’s current status, and owner attributes. Getting a ‘big spender’ owner may give you lots of money to play with, having a more financially conscience will give you less to play with, and also an expectation of potentially cutting player salaries. Each of the four budgets are used for specific areas of financial responsibilities you will now inherit. You will also receive a ‘Contingency Fund’ that you can spend on non-player salary budgets, but keeping a big contingency is key to keeping some owners happy if they are concerned about making a profit.
After you have received the budgets for the year, it’ll become your responsibility to spend money on promotions. Assigning promotions to your home games can help increase attendance, and boost revenues by bringing in more paying customers. Time your promotions for the right opponent can help maximize your chances for a sell out in games that might otherwise get a full crowd.
SEASON TICKET DRIVE
Regardless of whether you get fired or not, you’ll have to kick off a season ticket drive in early March. You will be responsible for setting initial prices for the drive. During the season ticket drive, you will receive updates periodically letting you know how many people have bought tickets, and now many tickets are still left for sale. As always, the key to selling your season tickets is to set your prices to meet customer expectations as closely as possible. Failure to set your prices will leave your arena attendance to the whims of walk-up customers, who are far more susceptible to the ebb and flow of the team’s fortunes.
NHL 17 is shaping up to be the deepest game in the series. It’ll be interesting to see how these features work in the final game.