SBD/Issue 174/Franchises

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  • Canada's Six NHL Teams Account For 31% Of League's Ticket Revenue

    Maple Leafs Lead NHL This
    Season In Home Ticket Revenue
    The NHL's six Canadian franchises for the '07-08 season accounted for 31% of the league's US$1.1B ticket revenue, according to an internal NHL report cited by Rick Westhead of the TORONTO STAR. The report also shows the six teams have "gone through league-leading double-digit increases over" the '06-07 season. While the NHL has seen ticket revenue rise almost 10%, 11 of the 24 U.S. franchises "were either revenue-flat or lost ticket income." The Maple Leafs this season topped the league with C$77.9M in ticket revenue, or about C$1.9M per regular-season home game. NHL sources reported that the Maple Leafs for the '06-07 season averaged C$1.5M a game. Sources indicated that the "increase in the value of the Canadian dollar may be responsible for as much as half of the league's revenue gains since the NHL went through the lockout" of '04-05. A U.S. NHL team exec said, "If you take out the Canadian teams, which have done so well since the lockout largely because of the Canadian dollar, the league's revenues are actually only growing at a 2[%] clip per year." NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly said that the data "highlights the importance of placing more franchises in Canada." Kelly: "I think it would be a huge error not to relocate one of the existing franchises to Hamilton or Winnipeg." Former Canucks Owner Arthur Griffiths: "This really makes the case for another team in Canada, whether it's Hamilton, Winnipeg or Quebec City." Kelly noted that the "soonest the league could realistically consider relocation or expansion is in time" for the 2009-2010 season (TORONTO STAR, 5/30).

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  • Penguins To Open Mellon Arena For Game Five Jumbotron Viewing

    Penguins To Host Viewing Party At
    Mellon Arena For Game Five In Detroit
    The Penguins will open Mellon Arena for Game Five of the team's Stanley Cup Finals series against the Red Wings, so that fans "can watch the game on the arena Jumbotron," according to the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The $5 general admission tickets will be "sold on a first-come, first-served basis" beginning Friday at 10:00am ET, and all proceeds will go to the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Parking in the arena lots will be free after 6:00pm, and arena concessions and novelty stands will be open. Over 23,000 fans watched Games One and Two of the series at Mellon Arena (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 5/30).

    SUPER MARIO: In L.A., Helene Elliott writes Penguins Chair Mario Lemieux after Wednesday's Red Wings-Penguins Game Three "avoided reporters, consistent with his denials of interview requests since the playoffs began." Lemieux has said that he "doesn't want to take attention away from the team." Elliott: "Since he owns it, he gets to do what he wants" (L.A. TIMES, 5/30).'s Scott Burnside wrote when "requests are made to talk to Lemieux, either in a one-on-one setting or in a group format with reporters covering the finals, word politely comes back through the team that [Lemieux] doesn't want to take the spotlight away from his young team." Burnside: "What a load of hooey. ... This is more about Lemieux's detachment from the game or, at least, detachment from having to share his thoughts and feelings about the game. ... The only reason Lemieux isn't making himself available during these finals is because there's nothing in it for him" (, 5/27).

    WHERE'S CROSBY? In Detroit, Drew Sharp reports the NHL limited players at Thursday's media conference to just four players per team, and Crosby was not among those representing the Penguins. Sharp: "Such conditions provided the ideal opportunity for the NHL to further build a mainstream fan base. ... A sport's championship series remains its greatest marketing tool, and when you're blessed with an exceptional second-day talking point like Game 3, you must milk it for every ounce of publicity" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/30).

    TICKET MASTER: In Detroit, Chris Christoff reports Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox Thursday complained to Ticketmaster and the Penguins about restrictions on Stanley Cup ticket sales to Michigan customers, and in a "triumphant announcement, he assured Michigan fans they could still buy resale tickets online." Ticketmaster said that the "restriction applied only to direct sales, not Ticketmaster's online resales from season-ticket holders and others" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/30).

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  • Lesbian Couple At Mariners Game Claims To Have Been Singled Out

    A Seattle-area lesbian couple said that they were "singled out by a security guard" at Monday's Red Sox-Mariners game at Safeco Field "simply because they kissed each other," according to KOMO-ABC. Sirbrina Guerrero said that she "only gave her date a peck, but a mother sitting with her son complained to security and, as a result, they were told to stop or leave." Guerrero said that the "only reason she was called out was because of her sexual orientation." Guerrero said the security guard told her the "mom doesn't want to explain to the kids why two girls are kissing." Safeco Field officials would not comment on the incident, but officials provided a copy of the ballpark's "code of conduct which states 'displays of affection are not appropriate in a public family setting'" (, 5/29). Mariners Dir of Public Information Rebecca Hale said in an e-mail, "We would like folks to know that we're treating these complaints and concerns very seriously. We've definitely not got a policy that states that if you're gay, you can't kiss at Safeco Field. Our policy is, if your behavior is inappropriate in a public setting, we are going to proactively intervene." Hale said that the policy is "not selective," as Mariners staff have "intervened twice in the last month or so in inappropriate displays from heterosexual couples." Hale added that Monday's incident "never involved security," as the women "were not removed from the game and it was a seating host" who handled the situation (, 5/29).

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  • Rangers Offer Ticket Discounts To Combat Struggling Attendance

    Rangers Offering Ticket Specials
    To Boost Lagging Attendance
    MLB Rangers ticket sales this season "have lagged," as the team is averaging only 24,077 fans per game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, "lower than any season average since" the ballpark opened in '94, according to Bryan French of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The team is on pace to "draw fewer than 1.93 million fans this season," which would fall short of the "lowest full-season total at the ballpark" of 2.1 million in '03. But the Rangers noted that the Yankees and Red Sox "haven't come to town yet." And Rangers Exec VP/Sales Andy Silverman said the team's schedule, which includes only one weekend home series in July, is the "worst schedule we've had since I've been here (for five years)." The Rangers Friday open a 10-game homestand, and team officials "hope ticket specials and promotions will help draw fans." Upper home run porch seats for the homestand will drop from $15 to $7.50, and the team has reduced Lexus club terrace seats from $25 to $10.80 for five afternoon games. The Rangers also will have three all-you-can-eat e-saver games on the homestand, and the club is offering Father's Day three-game packages (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/30).

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  • MLB Franchise Notes: Pirates Discounting Tix For Runs Scored

    Pirates Tying Ticket Discount To Number
    Of Runs Scored During Four-Game Series
    The Pirates for every run they score in their four-game series against the Cardinals beginning Friday at Busch Stadium will discount $1 off a $24 outfield seat for next Wednesday's Astros-Pirates game. If the team scores 24 or more runs over the four games, the seats "will be free to the first takers" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 5/30).

    MARINERS: In Seattle, Jose Miguel Romero reports Mariners jerseys for Saturday's home game against the Tigers will read "Marineros," the Spanish translation of the team's name. It will mark the first time the Mariners have worn the jerseys and is the "most prominent gesture of all the team's previous yearly salutes to Latin America 'beisbol.'" The first 25,000 fans at the game will get a commemorative "Marineros" baseball cap (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/30).

    ATTENDANCE NOTES: In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote the announced attendance at recent Mets games were "dreamy fabrications." Bondy: "I know that these are supposed to be ticket sales numbers. But the Mets would require a 40% no-show rate to make this believable, and their crowd is working class." While Monday's and Tuesday's games drew announced crowds of 51,489 and 47,093, respectively, Bondy wrote there were "no more than 35,000 fans in the park on Monday, and no more than 25,000 on Tuesday" (, 5/28)....Entering Wednesday's Rockies-Phillies game, the Phillies ranked fifth in the NL in attendance with 1,019,966 fans, an average crowd of 39,229 per game at Citizens Bank Park. The team has drawn 10 sellouts this season and 18 of 26 home games have drawn crowds of at least 35,000 (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/29).

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