SBD/December 21, 2011/Franchises

Sources Say Flyers Will Likely See Six-Figure Profit From Hosting Winter Classic

Flyers execs feel hosting Winter Classic will benefit team in the long term
The Flyers "aren't expecting a huge financial windfall from hosting this year's Winter Classic, but team officials say the exposure that hockey gets in the city will pay off," according to John George of the PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL. Flyers President & COO Peter Luukko said the Winter Classic is "similar to a Super Bowl. It's a league showcase and to get to host it is an honor. The excitement for hockey here in Philadelphia over a seven-day period is the real benefit for us long term." Industry sources said that the profit for the Flyers as host for the event "will likely be in the mid-six figures." Where the Flyers "will get a chance to make some money is in the ticket sales and sponsorship deals for the alumni game and the AHL game." The team also will "get revenue from the sales of Winter Classic merchandise it sells on its own, but not from items sold on the day of the actual Winter Classic game." Flyers Senior VP/Business Operations Shawn Tilger said that as of last week, the team has "sold more than 1,100 Winter Classic jerseys." Tilger added that the number is "40 percent ahead of the total sales of the 2010 Winter Classic jerseys when the Flyers participated in the game against the Bruins." He also noted that RW Claude Giroux' Winter Classic jersey is "the top seller with more than 300 sold" (PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/16 issue).

CHANGE IT UP? NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "All 30 teams would love to host the event, even if it is not geographically feasible with the weather." He added of potential venues, "Through the course of discussions, probably every conceivable option has likely been raised, even if it's discussed for 2 seconds and kicked aside. ... Because of what it does for the host market, we're pretty much going to stay close to a team's market. Instead of being absolutely in the middle of nowhere, it doesn't make sense when we think we can be connected. I'm not talking about a stadium that's not downtown. But not being in either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of sense -- at this point. As this thing goes on, and more and more of a foundation is built, my guess is [NHL COO John Collins] will be pushing the boundaries to go further and further out there" (PHILLY.com, 12/20).
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