SBD/Issue 142/Franchises

NHL Franchise Notes: Canadiens' Game Atmosphere Praised

Writer Lauds Canadiens For
Recent Game Presentation
In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote: "One thing is certain, the Canadiens know how to stage a hockey game like no one else, and they deserve nothing less than an A-plus-plus for event presentation." Last week's Bruins-Canadiens matchup attracted a sellout crowd of 21,273 at the Bell Centre as the team used "light and sound to blend their storied past with their present, mixing songs by U2 with heroics" by Hockey HOFer Maurice Richard. The team was "more engaging to the home crowd, and the underlying truth always will be that nothing gets people excited more than winning." Dupont: "Hockey has always been king in Montreal" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/13). Meanwhile, in Montreal, Mike King reports the demand for team pennants is “outpacing the supply” from Hunter Canada. Pending Canadiens flags orders through April 21 are 65,000. Hunter Canada VP/Sales Anita Chandan said that the flags "will account for 80[%] of April sales” (Montreal GAZETTE, 4/15).

FLAMES: Flames officials have "started punishing scalpers in-house," meaning they are banning people who sell their seats for a profit. Flames VP/Ticket Sales Rollie Cyr: "This past season, we canceled 32 season tickets after we found out they were scalping tickets at a significant premium." In Calgary, Michael Platt reports last week "another handful of playoff tickets were declared null and void, as Flames' management investigated the sale of seats at prices way above face value." Cyr said that the '07-08 season "found the Flames dealing with a new form of ducat devilry: Forgery." Because tickets purchased online are "of the self-print variety, there's nothing to stop a con artist from making multiple copies." Once a bar code on a ticket is scanned at the Saddledome, "further copies will be rejected" (CALGARY SUN, 4/15).

Islanders Finish Last In Attendance
For Second Time In Last Three Years
ISLANDERS: The Islanders this season finished last in NHL attendance for the second time in three years.  ESPN's published attendance records for '08 show the team averaging 13,640 fans at home games this season, and "25th in terms of attendance as percentage of capacity." Islanders Senior VP/Sales, Marketing & Operations Chris Dey, however, said that the team "reached its highest paid attendance" since the '02-03 season and ranks "third in the NHL in paid attendance increase, third in group sales," and doubled the amount of sellouts this season from six to 12 games (NEWSDAY, 4/15).

CAPITALS: Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis, in a Q&A with the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Justin Scheck, said of Forbes magazine reporting the team is worth $145M, or 28th out of 30 NHL teams: "The Forbes numbers are the biggest (expletive) joke I've ever seen. But we bring it upon ourselves because we don't publish our numbers. A banker who did our numbers, based on comparables, said our value would be [$225-250M]." When asked what the league can do to get a better TV deal, Leonsis replied, "My belief, and what I've been advocating, is we've lost the TV war. ... We wanna be, and we're becoming, the leader in growing digital media" (WSJ.com, 4/10).

CANUCKS: In Vancouver, Iain MacIntrye reports the Canucks fired GM Dave Nonis yesterday, and the dismissal “changes everything and will almost certainly lead to other major changes.” Nonis’ “chief failing this season was that his defence couldn’t stay healthy.” Meanwhile, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault’s job also is likely in “jeopardy as Nonis’s successor will presumably want to hire his own coach” (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/15).

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