SBJ/June 12 - 18, 2006/This Weeks News

Canes fans sweep up merchandise in Finals frenzy

Carolina Hurricanes fans stormed merchandise stands at Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, despite the team’s trip to the finals only four years ago.

“The second time around [in the NHL championship] is always a little better because you experience more revenue from those people who weren’t involved the first time,” said Davin Olsen, vice president and general manager at the Hurricanes’ home arena, RBC Center. “It got to the point during Game 1 that we were selling stuff straight out of boxes.”

One employee stood outside a jersey store a half-hour after the arena doors opened, clutching $25 Stanley Cup shoulder patches in one hand and a fistful of cash in the other.

The initial onslaught to buy anything featuring the Hurricanes’ red “eye” logo slowed a bit when the game started, but there were still lines seven deep at the cash registers late in the second period.

The Hurricanes generated merchandise per caps surpassing $3 for the first 10 playoff games at RBC Center, a figure that could increase during the Stanley Cup Finals based on demand during Game 1. Olsen did not have food per caps to report but said those numbers also have increased over 2002, when the Hurricanes lost to Detroit in the finals.

“We encourage people to come tailgate, and when you do that, technically, you’re losing revenue, but our numbers have been significantly strong,” Olsen said. “Plus, our game nights have not been the best. We’ve played a lot of Monday-Wednesday games, not a lot of weekends.”

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