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The Lakers have increased ticket prices across the board for a second consecutive season, raising them by an average of almost 5%, according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. TIMES. Courtside seats increased 4.5% from $2,200 to $2,300 a game. Seats in the six lower-level sections between the baskets also increased 4.5%, from $220 to $230 a game. The NBA average for ticket-price increases last season was “about 3.5%.” Lakers Senior VP/Business Operations & CMO Tim Harris said, “Forty percent of our ticket inventory remains under $40, which makes Lakers basketball affordable.” Season-ticket holders renewed at a 97% rate last season (L.A. TIMES, 6/6).
WORKING TOGETHER: In N.Y., David Picker writes the Knicks and Nets are working out NBA Draft prospects together. The Nets hold the 17th pick in the draft and the Knicks own the 23rd pick, and Nets GM Ed Stefanski said one of the reasons the arrangement works is because of the “proximity of the draft picks.” He added of yesterday's first workout, “Everybody was in the gym together. There was no certain section for the Nets to sit and certain section for the Knicks.” Picker notes the NBA this year “changed the rules so teams can no longer evaluate players until after the annual predraft camp, which ended on June 1” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6).
EARLY RETURNS: Blazers Exec VP/Business Operations Mike Golub said the team has sold 2,900 new full-season equivalents since receiving the first pick in the NBA Draft, representing more than $6M in new revenue. Golub expects to "blow by" his goal of 3,500 new season tickets set before the draft lottery. He added that if sales continue at the current pace, the team "may have a base" of 8,000-10,000 season-ticket holders this season, up about 75% from last season (Portland OREGONIAN, 6/6).
Henry Samueli Hoping For
Long-Term Success With Ducks
SALES: The Ducks recorded a $15.38 merchandise per capita for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, up 75.4% over the average per capita in the ’06 final (Hurricanes, $9.26 and Oilers, $8.28) and 81.6% over the ’04 final (Lighting, $8.56 and Flames, $8.38) (NHL).
SOCAL: ESPN’s Jim Rome said of the Ducks needing one win to clinch their first Stanley Cup, “Canada, I know how badly you wanted this, but I have really bad news. Not only is the Cup not coming back where you think it belongs, but even worse, it’s going to stay here in Southern California where really nobody cares” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 6/5).
With the Canadiens raising season-ticket prices 3-5% next season, Canadiens Owner George Gillett Jr. said, "If we're going to be competitive in the new NHL, we're going to have to be realistic about this, and be partners with our fans. The salary-cap increase will be more than 10[%], and our increase is [3%]. ... We try to keep our prices fair and balanced, but we're in a highly competitive market and we've got to find ways to come up with more money." Gillett added of criticisms that some of the increase could support his stake in Liverpool FC or his potential investment in Evernham Motorsports' NASCAR team, "We're not taking from Montreal to Liverpool, from Liverpool to Montreal, from NASCAR to anywhere. That's outrageous." Gillett added that the team is spending C$8-10M on revenue sharing (Montreal GAZETTE, 6/6).
ISLANDERS: On Long Island, Greg Logan reports Islanders Owner Charles Wang decided to buy out the remaining four years of C Alexei Yashin’s ten-year contract. The last four seasons of Yashin’s $87.5M deal are valued at $26.45M. Under the NHL CBA, Wang is “permitted to pay two-thirds of that amount [$17.63M] over the next eight years to buy it out.” The salary-cap hit will be “approximately $2.2[M] per season over that time” (NEWSDAY, 6/6). NEWSDAY’s Mark Herrmann writes the buyout is the “biggest victory in years for you if you are an Islanders fan who pleaded with management to do the only sensible thing.” The Islanders are “worried that this move will be construed as a bow to public pressure. Not to worry. In fact, it is just the opposite. This is a bold move toward common sense” (NEWSDAY, 6/6).
PREDATORS: In Nashville, John Glennon writes Predators fans are “approaching businesses to sell them on season tickets, buying additional season tickets, mounting petition drives and organizing a rally.” They are “trying to ensure the Predators average at least 14,000 in paid attendance next season -- and to show prospective owner Jim Balsillie there is every reason to keep an NHL team in Nashville for the long run.” A day after Owner Craig Leipold announced his intentions to sell the team to Balsillie, season-ticket holder Brian Hogue began a “Keep the Predators in Nashville” online petition, which has collected nearly 4,000 signatures. He intends to mail the petition to Balsillie and the NHL . Predators Exec VP/Business Affairs Steve Violetta said that season tickets are being renewed at “about the same pace -- around 66[%] -- that they were last year at this time.” The team ended with a renewal rate of 85-90% last year and have “similar numbers projected for this year” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/6).