SBD/Issue 236/Franchises

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  • Saints Nearing Sellout Of Every Home Ticket For First Time

    Reggie Bush Helping
    Boost Saints' Tix Sales
    The Saints have “surpassed all marks for season ticket sales and are on the verge of selling out the entire regular season” for the first time in franchise history, according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. About 3,000 unsold season tickets remain, “essentially guaranteeing sellouts for all eight home games.” The Superdome’s capacity is 68,354 this season, reduced by 500 “because of the ongoing $184.5[M] renovation.” Saints Owner Tom Benson also announced that the team has “sold 100 of the 137 luxury suites and recently booked a major sponsorship deal” with Chevrolet. Team execs attribute the sales spike to the addition of QB Drew Brees and RB Reggie Bush, as well as a “new marketing strategy that offers fans 17 price options, including a popular $140 season-ticket package.” Officials added that first-time customers “have bought about two-thirds of the season tickets.” Saints VP/Communications Greg Bensel said that he has issued “almost 1,000 credentials that were requested from about 500 media outlets” for the September 25 home opener (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/6). In Baton Rouge, Les East reports the Saints have sold about 65,000 season tickets; the team’s previous record for season-ticket sales was around 54,000. Benson said that negotiations on a new lease at the Superdome “are on the back burner” (ADVOCATE, 9/6).

    VIKINGS' TICKET SALES COOL: In Minneapolis, Kevin Seifert reports the Vikings “have tickets available for all eight home games and are even selling partial season-ticket plans” at a time of year “when they typically have sold all of their tickets.” Vikings VP/Sales & Marketing Steve LaCroix acknowledged single-game ticket sales have dropped “a few percentage points,” but he added, “We feel confident that we’ll sell out every game this year. ... Things might be different if we were sitting here with 10,000 unsold seats for a game. That’s not the case at all.” While about 1,000 tickets remain for the September 17 home opener against the Panthers, the Vikings packaged tickets to that game with the November 12 game against the Packers, their “hottest ticket.” Fans “who want to purchase a single-game ticket to watch the Packers are required to purchase an equivalent ticket” for the opener (STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, MLS, Real Salt Lake
  • RSL Strikes Ten-Year Deal To Bring Real Madrid Back To Utah

    Real Salt Lake (RSL) Owner Dave Checketts confirmed that the team has reached a ten-year partnership with Real Madrid that “includes Real Madrid coming to Utah every other year,” according to James Edward of the DESERET NEWS. Real Madrid will return in July ’08 for a match at RSL’s new stadium in Sandy. Real Madrid has also pledged to “help fund 50[%] of an elite soccer academy in Salt Lake City.” Checketts estimated that the academy will cost around $25M. Edward reported Real Madrid also agreed to let RSL train at its $150M practice facility each February as part of the team’s two-month training camp. Checketts: “The partnership has a lot of other aspects that are still being negotiated” (DESERET NEWS, 9/2).

    INVESTING IN THE FUTURE: Checketts wrote a SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Op/Ed under the header, “Stadium Is An Investment In The Future Of Our Community.” Checketts wrote the negative reactions from stadium opponents “are all just part of the process.” Checketts: “The construction of new stadiums has a way of stirring passion –- it’s an expected, healthy part of the public discourse. ... I firmly believe that a decade from now the public investment of $35[M] to make this stadium project possible will be regarded as a wise investment in the continued growth of our community. ... The truth is our organization is stepping up well beyond what we’ve seen in other [MLS] cities” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 9/2).

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Franchises, Phoenix Suns
  • Suns' Ticket Sales Rising Despite Increase In Prices

    Suns' Season-Ticket Renewals At 93%
    Suns season-ticket holders have renewed at a 93% rate and the team has sold “more than 13,000 ‘season ticket equivalents’” for the coming season, according to Paul Coro of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The US Airways Center’s lower bowl is sold out, and the Suns have sold all 88 suites for the second consecutive year. The Suns “remain in the league’s top five for new season ticket sales despite average prices increases” of 9.4% in ’05 and 11.3% this year. The total for the ’06-07 season “is the most the Suns have sold since the 2000-2001 season hit 14,100, a figure [Suns President & COO Rick] Welts thinks could be toppled this year.” The team also saw a 97% renewal rate “among the group most affected by higher prices,” the 600 seats in the first six rows between each baseline, which “went from $125 to $175 apiece to create a club for those patrons.” The Suns this summer also added five new, multimedia sponsorship deals with Ford, Re/Max, Safe Auto, Dex and Stoudemire’s Downtown restaurant (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/2).

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Franchises, Nashville Predators
  • Preds Raising Ticket Prices, Introducing Variable Pricing

    The Predators are raising individual-game prices by 3.3-50% for next season, and will “introduce variable pricing for seven ‘premium’ games this season,” according to John Glennon of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Tickets for premium games will cost $4-15.50 per ticket above the normal price, depending on the opponent. Predators Exec VP/Business Affairs Steve Violetta said, “We don’t want to be Toronto or Detroit and price our tickets that way, but we’re $15 behind the league average, so somehow we’ve got to get closer to the league average.” The average ticket league-wide last year was $49.39, compared to the Predators’ $35 average.” The ticket price increase comes after the Predators’ “most successful season, setting franchise records” for wins (49) and points (106) in ’05-06. Also, the team’s payroll “increased significantly from last season.” Violetta said that the team “will make more money with variable pricing, but that it probably will make up less than one percent of the season’s entire ticket revenue.” He said that that “the primary purpose of using variable pricing is to drive season-ticket sales by convincing fans that it makes more economic sense to purchase a partial or full season-ticket plan instead of paying high prices for a few individual games” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/2).

    BRUINS: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont reported Bruins season-ticket holders found that the “front-row loge seats took a big bump, from $90 to $150 per game,” up 66.7%. The same seats will be sold for $175 per game at the box office, and the “cost for a pair of seats along the glass for a full-season” is $12,610. The Bruins will “freeze the $150 price for three seasons, and ticket-holders also will receive memberships at Legends, the Vault’s third-floor bar/eatery” (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/3). In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports the Bruins this week are launching a new campaign, via SME Branding, N.Y., with the tag “Hub of Hockey.” The campaign, which aims at “branding and selling tickets,” includes print, radio, outdoor, online and TV (SBJ, 9/4 issue).

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Detroit Lions, Franchises, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, YankeeNets
  • Franchise Notes

    Ford Could Take Larger
    Role With Lions
    In Detroit, Drew Sharp reports Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. is stepping down as CEO of Ford Motor Co., which “could give him time to assume a larger role in the daily operations of the Lions.” However, Lions Owner William Clay Ford “has provided no indication that he’s ready to cede final say to his son. If anything, the old boy has grown even more stubborn in the aftermath of last season’s fan revolt calling for [Lions President & CEO] Matt Millen’s immediate ouster” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/6).

    WON HUNDRED? In Toronto, Jeff Blair reports the Blue Jays “have had what one executive described as ‘blue-sky discussions’ about the possibility of a payroll closer” to $100M next season. Owner Ted Rogers said, “We need to increase the payroll. We are getting results from our fans. We have 38[%] higher TV ratings, [22 or 24%] higher ticket sales.” Blair notes Rogers pledged $210M for payroll over a three-year period that ends after the ’07 season. The plan called for a payroll around $78M next year. But Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi last Friday said, “It’s going to be really tough to catch [the Red Sox and Yankees] if we stay at a $70[M] payroll” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/6).

    TREASURE ISLAND: In N.Y., McGeehan & Bagli cited sources as saying that the Yankees, who own a minority share of the Single-A N.Y.-Penn League Staten Island Yankees, “are buying out the majority owners, with plans to turn management of the financially underperforming franchise over to” Mandalay Entertainment Group. Mandalay owns five minor league teams, but “does not operate any teams that it does not own.” Terms of the sale “have not been made available, so it could not be determined whether Mandalay would have an ownership interest in the club” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/5).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Brooklyn Nets
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