The article everyone's talking about
The six Canadian teams account for 31 per cent of the $1.1 billion (U.S.) in league ticket revenue, and have gone through league-leading double-digit increases over last season, according to the internal NHL report.The fact Canadian teams generate close to one-third of NHL revenues isn't new news; that's a figure we've been batting around here ever since the end of the 2005-06 season.
Overall, the league has seen its ticket revenue rise almost 10 per cent, but 11 of the 24 U.S.-based clubs were either revenue-flat or lost ticket income.
What's new is that we have some updated ticket revenue figures for all 30 NHL teams. And the picture isn't particularly pretty in some areas.
Ticket revenue is the No. 1 source of income for this league, making up close to 50 per cent of total revenues, and it's here where the majority of the league's growth from a $2.1-billion to $2.56-billion industry has taken place.
Blogger Tyler Dellow says, by his math, the Canadian teams have accounted for about 52 per cent of that growth.
Let's make the numbers do a few things here. First, along with the per game revenue figures provided by Westhead, let's add the total figures and bring up the Canada-U.S. split:
In essence, ticket revenues, in total, went from $1-billion to $1.12-billion over the past year, an increase of $119-million (11.9%).
And Canadian teams provided $71.75-million of that growth, increasing ticket revenues 25.2% compared to a 6.6% increase for American teams. The $71.75-million figure represents 60.3% of the league's growth, which came from just six teams.
And while the Canadian dollar's rise has slowed recently, over the period in question, it swung considerably. The exchange rate's average from Oct. 1, 2006, to April 10, 2007, was 0.866. This season, over that same time period, the loonie has been above par (1.007).
If league ticket revenue growth trends continue at this same pace next season, the Canadian teams' take would jump to 35.4%. If it continued for another year, into 2009-10, that figure would near 40 per cent.
Of course, that bubble's going to burst at some point; Canadian teams are not going to be able to keep up 25 per cent increases forever.
Even still, the movement we've seen postlockout has really changed the structure of the league, to the point that adding another Canadian team has become a real possibility. The average Canadian franchise generated $59.45-million from the gate this season. American teams generated just $31.86-million.
The average Canadian team made $41-million more than Phoenix in ticket revenue alone in 2007-08.
No wonder Balsillie's already given them a call.
As much as some want to rail against "self-important Canadian fans," those figures speak volumes. And they're saying much the same as what NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly told Westhead in his piece.
"I think it would be a huge error not to relocate one of the existing franchises to Hamilton or Winnipeg," Kelly said.
A note that I'll be on the radio in Edmonton (The Team 1260) tonight at 5:45 ET and on Sunday morning in Pittsburgh (KDKA) between 11 and noon.
Labels: business of hockey