SBD/Issue 9/Franchises

NHL Franchise Notes: Wild Fail To Sell Out For First Time Ever

Wild's Sellout Streak At Xcel Center
Ends At 409 Games

In Minneapolis, Michael Russo notes last night's Blues-Wild exhibition game drew an announced crowd of 16,219 at Xcel Center, the "first non-sellout" in Wild history at the 18,064-seat arena. The game was played "in front of thousands of empty seats -- a lot more than the 1,845 announced." Wild COO Matt Majka "thanked the fans for years of support." He contends that when the Wild, having missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, build a "consistent winner, the fans will fill the building again." Majka: "Part of me wants to say the key is the economy. But that's not good enough. We just need to get better as an organization." Wild Owner Craig Leipold in a blog entry on the team's website and in an e-mail to season-ticket holders vowed to "continue spending to the salary-cap ceiling" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/23).

WHO'S PICKING UP THE TAB? In Phoenix, Rebekah Sanders reported the Glendale has "received no bills" from the NHL for Coyotes losses, "but whether city residents are off the hook for $25 million is open to debate." The NHL for the first time last week was "allowed to submit bills for Coyotes losses." Prospective buyer Matthew Hulsizer placed $25M in escrow, but Glendale still has "offered no documentation that city residents have avoided picking up the $25 million tab completely." For now, "it appears the city has avoided paying the team's tab" (AZCENTRAL.com, 9/22).

YOU NAME IT: In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reported the Panthers have brought back "The Perfect Plan" for another week "after its success last month." The program, allowing fans to name their own price for tickets, now runs until next Wednesday. Potential buyers "could have their offers accepted, be offered another location for that price or work out a different agreement." A Panthers spokesperson said that "more than 200 season tickets were sold through the program" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 9/22).

FREE TO DO WHAT I WANT: In Toronto, Paul Hunter noted Maple Leafs fans "got into Air Canada Centre for free" Tuesday night for the team's exhibition game against the Senators. Coke Zero title sponsored the event, "covering the cost of tickets as [the] Leafs opened their exhibition schedule" (TORONTO STAR, 9/22).

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