SBD/Issue 88/Leagues & Governing Bodies

AHL President Says League Is Holding Up Well In Tough Economy

AHL President Says Ticket Revenue
Across The League Is "About Even"
AHL President Dave Andrews before last night's All-Star Game in Portland, Maine, said the league is "doing very well" considering the economy, noting "ticket revenue across the league is actually about even," according to the PORTLAND PRESS HERALD. Andrews: "Relative to other professional sports properties ... we're doing extremely well looking at the results we've seen with other sports. On the other side of it, there continue to be challenges. We have 29 teams, and some of them are ahead of last year, some of them are even and some of them are off from the previous year" (PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, 1/19). The league is averaging 4,659 fans per game through the All-Star break, after finishing last season with an average of 5,115 (THE DAILY). Meanwhile, Andrews said that the issue of a salary cap, which the league "currently does not have," is "certain to come up when the league attempts to negotiate a new" CBA with the Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA). In Pennsylvania, Dan Hickling notes the league's current pact with the PHPA "expires in September." Most AHL players are "paid by the NHL parent club," but those AHL teams that are "owned by local operators, about half of the league's current 29 members, are free to add player salary on their own." And while a few "do on occasion, the rest do not" (Wilkes-Barre CITIZENS VOICE, 1/20).

AFFILIATE CHANGES: Andrews said that he "expects to reach the 30 team threshold if Edmonton activates its dormant franchise," the Road Runners, next season. He "expects that decision to be made by the end of January" (Wilkes-Barre CITIZENS VOICE, 1/20). The Ducks are the only NHL team without an AHL affiliate, and Andrews said, "We don't know (Anaheim's) plans, but we are working with them on their options next year and hopefully that will work itself out over the next couple of months" (PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, 1/19). Andrews said there are "five or six" expiring affiliation agreements in the AHL, and in Albany, Pete Dougherty reports the AHL Albany River Rats are "in the final year of their affiliation agreement with the Hurricanes, who have openly said they would like to get an AHL team closer to their home base in Raleigh." Charlotte "seems to be where the 'Canes would like to place a team, but they would have to acquire a franchise or convince an existing club to relocate." River Rats Owner Walter Robb has said that he is "trying to sell the Rats, but with the contingency that they stay in Albany" (Albany TIMES UNION, 1/20).

IN THE STARS: The TIMES UNION's Dougherty reported the AHL All-Star Game's "format of Canada vs. PlanetUSA will disappear" next year. Andrews said that the '11 game, which will "help celebrate the league's 75th anniversary," will adopt the "East-West format first utilized in 1942." No decision has been made on the host city, but Dougherty wrote Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the "best bet" (TIMESUNION.com, 1/19).

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