SBJ/Nov. 1, 2010/This Week's Issue

Knicks sell out full-season tickets


NEW YORK KNICKS
A wall mural outside Madison Square Garden shows
off the team’s new campaign.

The New York Knicks have sold out their full-season-ticket inventory at Madison Square Garden for the first time in nearly a decade, cashing in on its free agency flirtation with LeBron James and the signing of all-star Amar’e Stoudemire.

When the NBA season began last week, the Knicks had sold more than 4,000 new full-season tickets and had a season-ticket renewal rate of 92 percent, team officials said. With an average full-season-ticket price of $131 a game, unchanged from last year, the team has increased season-ticket revenue by about $21.5 million. The team is also beginning a season-ticket waiting list, which vanished after years of futility on the court.

The Knicks last made the playoffs in 2004 and haven’t won a postseason game since 2001. The team has had nine consecutive losing seasons, and the last time it sold out its season-ticket inventory was during the 2001-02 season.

“There is fan engagement with the team again,” said MSG Sports President Scott O’Neil.

The Knicks refused to disclose their total number of full-season tickets sold, but last summer the team had about 10,000 full-season tickets, so with a renewal rate of more than 92 percent and the 4,000 new fulls, the Knicks have about 13,000 full-season tickets in the 19,763-seat Garden.

Neither NBA nor Knicks officials would disclose the specific league rankings, but the Knicks rank among the top five in the 30-team league in new full-season-ticket sales and in new revenue.

The increase in ticket sales comes as the team rolls out a new ad campaign with the tag line “You. Us. We. Now,” which is designed to raise the profile of the team’s players. The campaign features most of the Knicks players.

“We are putting the focus back on the players,” said Howard Jacobs, executive vice president of marketing and ticket sales for the Knicks.

The campaign will run on the MSG Network along with a heavy digital strategy. A local print and outdoor buy is included. The KMco and CO: agencies collaborated with the Knicks on the campaign.

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