SBD/May 24, 2012/Franchises

Coyotes Earn Credibility With Performance, Hope Deep Playoff Run Will Help Bottom Line

The Coyotes' run to the Western Conference Finals this season is the "source of hope for those looking at the Coyotes bottom line," according to Kevin McGran of the TORONTO STAR. The team averaged 12,421 fans this season, last in the NHL, and Coyotes President & COO Mike Nealy said, “It’s true this franchise has not done well financially. If you look back at some of the hurdles we’ve had, it’s not surprising. But we’re not that far off in the grand scheme of things in terms of making money.” Nealy added, "The biggest piece of the whole thing: you do need to have a competitive team that people believe have the potential to win. We had some years there where we weren’t creating believers out there." McGran notes on the "positive side, the Coyotes sold out every home playoff game." Nealy also "changed the business model this season, which he believes the team is only beginning to reap the benefits of." The Coyotes "stopped their massive giveaway of tickets, fearing it devalued their product, and as a result sold 60,000 more tickets than last year." Also, over 90% of season-ticket holders "have renewed, their highest renewal rate" since the team moved to Phoenix in '96. Nealy said that prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison "knows what he’s doing when it comes to taking over the historic money-losing team that will again -- despite the playoff revenue -- land in the red." Jamison said, “We won’t discuss [the] exact number, it’s certainly a material amount but it’s not insurmountable. But with the lease as proposed and a competitive team, it’s very plausible to be on the other side of that and be in the black” (TORONTO STAR, 5/24).

TIME TO BUILD ON PLAYOFF SUCCESS: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote the Coyotes' playoff run "was exactly the jolt of credibility this team and market needed." Relocation rumors "won't die," and "hurdles remain," but the Coyotes "have the core elements needed for sustained success." The team "earned much civic credibility in this postseason." Bickley: "Remember how the 2011 Diamondbacks captured our fancy by fighting back from the brink of elimination, finally succumbing in extra innings of Game 5? The Coyotes did the same thing in 2012" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/23).
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Arizona Coyotes, Franchises

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