Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tickets going fast in D.C.

The Washington Capitals' run to the playoffs has created an unprecedented level of interest in new season tickets for the upcoming season.

The team is expected to boost its season-ticket base by as many as 5,000 seats this year, thanks in part to a sales campaign that has included monthly events at Verizon Center and an aggressive phone and direct mailing effort.
Another feel-good story for a market that's taken its share of knocks.

Washington's one of the few NHL teams to go from revenue-sharing recipient to big spender in the three postlockout years, and have amassed enough talent that they are actually looking to pare payroll to get back under a $56.7-million cap. Owner Ted Leonsis will certainly need the new sales to compensate for contracts like Mike Green's four-year, $21-million deal.

I believe capacity at the Verizon Center is just under 18,800, so 12,000 season-ticket holders is nothing to sniff at. It's quite likely the Capitals will have the highest year-to-year attendance growth in 2008-09, especially if the team gets off to a hot start.



At 3:14 a.m., July 29, 2008, Blogger wrap around curl said...


I imagine that would be Ovechkin's response if he were asked to comment.

At 12:04 p.m., July 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, when Stevie Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov came to Detroit, the were Dead Things.

When they left three Stanley Cups after, it was a hockey town.

When Alex Ovechkin... (you can finish for me)

At 1:33 p.m., July 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, lets put away the rose coloured glasses and lets look at facts. The problem with these teams is not only attendance - but revenue per ticket buyer. Here are some facts to contemplate before people get excited about a financial turn around in Washington.

Washington 2007/08:
Avg. Attendance per Home Game:
15,472 82.9% of Capacity (24th in League)
Avg. Revenue per Game:
$550,000 (25th in League)
Avg. Revenue per Attendee $35.55

Average of 6 Canadian Teams 2007/08
Avg. Attendance per Home Game:
19,213 100% of Capacity
Avg. Revenue per Game:
Avg. Revenue per Attendee $75.45

Sources: Attendance ESPN, Revenue per Game, Toronto Star report - all dollars in US dollars.

Attendance is certainly a problem for Washington - but the even larger problem is the average ticket prices of only $35 compared to the Canadian average of $75.

Therefore, increased attendance alone will not solve Washington's financial difficulties. They have to increase ticket prices SUBSTANTIALLY. However, if they do this attendance will slide. The problem is that there are insufficient people in these US markets who are willing to pay TOP dollar for NHL games.

Now lets look at this coming year. Suppose Washington was able to sell out all of their home games - an extra 3,400 people at $35.55 for 41 games. This would bring in an extra $4,956,000 over last year.

However, according to NHLnumbers.com, Washington has increased their payroll this year by $14,000,000 over last year ($56m. vs. $42m.). As a result they will be a further $9,000,000 in the hole compared to last year.

Even with sold out arenas, they will have to win the Stanley Cup finals to get enough home playoff games to hold their financial losses this year to last years losses!

At 5:14 p.m., July 29, 2008, Blogger wrap around curl said...

My next comment will be a novella.


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