SBD/June 1, 2011/Franchises

Canucks Scoring In Merchandise Sales, With Sponsors As Stanley Cup Finals Begin

Canucks jerseys are in high demand, leaving many merchants out of stock

As the Canucks make their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance tonight since '94, the organization “has turned into a marketing juggernaut, the envy of virtually every other franchise" in the NHL, according to Rod Mickleburgh of the GLOBE & MAIL. Corporate sponsors are "piling on, merchandise sales are going through the roof, and the Canucks have not had an unsold ticket to a game at Rogers Arena since November of 2002, the longest such streak in the NHL." Canucks COO Victor de Bonis said that the Canucks "rank second or third in the league” in merchandise sales. He added, "During the playoffs, our sales have been even better. We’re having trouble getting enough inventory." In addition, the Canucks website "recorded more than two million hits" in April. Facebook followers "have doubled since the playoffs began to more than 400,000," and the team has "another 100,000 fans follow on Twitter." Vancouver's Team 1040 radio host Tom Mayenknecht said that "with their marketing strength and current run" to the Cup Finals against the Bruins, the Canucks "could be on the way to becoming the country’s third ‘national team,’” along with the Canadiens and Maple Leafs. He estimated that the Canucks’ postseason success “will mean millions in extra revenue and significantly boost the team’s overall value.” Mayenknecht: “They could gross between $30-million and $45-million this year. They are making serious money” (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/31).

BY POPULAR DEMAND: In Vancouver, Mike Hager reported “it’s getting increasingly tough to buy a new Canucks jersey.” Stocks of Canucks jerseys "won’t be replenished until July, as the city’s obsession with its team has now reached a level the official jersey supplier Reebok couldn’t predict." An NHL store rep said, "We do have some available, but they aren't leaving the warehouse for three to four weeks." Kai Buchan, an employee at the Hudson's Bay flagship store in Vancouver, said that blank team jerseys sold out Monday and "other jerseys were going fast" (VANCOUVER SUN, 5/31). The NHL indicated that Canucks merchandise sales are "up approximately 30 percent and online sales on NHL.com up 60 percent from a season ago." In N.Y., Gerald Narciso notes the playoff run “has also been a TV ratings hit." More than 2.89 million fans in the B.C. market watched the Canucks' Game Seven victory over the Blackhawks on April 27, "more than the 2.45 million who watched the gold medal game between Canada and the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/1).

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