SBJ/June 30 - July 6, 2003/This Weeks Issue
ArenaBowl ticket sales, concessions totals set record for AFL’s title game
Published June 30, 2003
The Arena Football League's championship game June 22 established what officials said was a record for gross ticket sales for the event, and the game ranked among the top 10 percent of dates overall for concessions at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.
Sportservice recorded a $13.06 per cap for food, beverage and merchandise, on-site GM Bruce Ground said.
Attendance for ArenaBowl XVII was 20,496, the second-largest crowd for the title game in 17 years. Tom Wilson, president of Palace Sports and Entertainment in Auburn Hills, Mich., the arena leaseholder, said ticket sales exceeded $300,000.
AFL season ended on a high note with ArenaBowl XVII.
Tampa Bay won the right to host the game by virtue of having a higher seed than its ArenaBowl opponent, Arizona. Ticket prices ranged from $15 in the upper bowl to $105 for a front-row seat.
The best-attended title game remains the 1995 game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, which drew 25,087, when the Storm defeated the Orlando Predators.
This year, the hometown Tampa Bay Storm beat the Arizona Rattlers 43-29. The championship attracted 8,000 more fans than the Storm's regular-season average of 12,463, which was fourth among the league's 16 teams. All 81 luxury suites were filled, as was the XO Club, a 40,000-square-foot facility that catered to 1,400 premium-seat holders, about 500 more than usual, Ground said.
Sportservice played host to about nine VIP functions, including the AFL Commissioner's Party, media and NBC feedings, and a postgame celebration.
Concessions and merchandise sales totaled about $267,000. Food and drink receipts alone averaged $11.46 a person, and retail was $1.60. "Per caps were about $3 a person up. Normally, they are about $10," Ground said.
"A lot depends on the time the game begins," he said. "For a Sunday 1 p.m. kickoff, food and beverage is $2 less [per head] because we can't sell beer until 1 p.m. We normally lose all of the walk-in and almost all of the first half. Once they get into their seats, they don't get up until halftime."
The ArenaBowl kicked off just after 5 p.m. June 22.
As for merchandise, Ground said, "From my understanding, we sold out of everything ArenaBowl associated," through two FanZone stores and eight other locations, including a portable outdoor stand.
Henry said the AFL showcase provided a "good jump-start for ticket sales next year. We introduced the sport to a lot of people, and there is no better way than to win a championship.
"Every team was behind the eight ball when the start of the season was moved up" from April to February after a new television deal with NBC put the league's regular season on broadcast television for the first time, he said. "For the first time, we'll have six to eight months to sell in advance. Next year, we'll really be ready for it."