SBJ/June 23-29, 2014/Franchises

Kings cement their success with another title

Philip Anschutz finally raised the Stanley Cup over his head.

When the Los Angeles Kings captured their second Stanley Cup in three years — this time, with a five-game final series victory over the New York Rangers earlier this month — the 74-year-old owner of the Kings was able to fully participate in hockey’s most cherished moment.

In 2012, a back injury had prevented him from raising the Cup. He wasn’t going to miss out this time.

Kings owner Philip Anschutz lifted the Cup at Staples Center.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

After the players had their turn skating around Staples Center with the Cup, Kings captain Dustin Brown presented it to Anschutz, who smiled and raised hockey’s Holy Grail above his head triumphantly — and with ease.

“That was memorable,” said Kelly Cheeseman, COO of AEG Sports, parent company of the Kings. “For Mr. Anschutz and our group, it’s a testament to all the work put in, not just over the last three years, but really the last 15 or more.”

Anschutz assumed control of the Kings in October 1995. After some lean years, his hiring of general manager Dean Lombardi in 2006 set in motion the development of a consistent contender. The Kings advanced to the Western Conference final each of the last three years and now have two Stanley Cup titles to show for it. The core of the hockey team is young, as well.

“With Dean in charge of the hockey operations, our expectation is that we’re always going to be good,” Cheeseman said.

Luc Robitaille, the former Kings left wing who now is the club’s president of business operations, said that a second Stanley Cup means the team has carved its own niche in Los Angeles.

“We don’t compare ourselves to the Lakers, Dodgers and other teams,” Robitaille said. “I believe in hockey and the impact the game can have around Los Angeles. We saw that a bit when Wayne Gretzky played here in the ’90s, and now we’ve taken it to another level.”

The Kings have sold out 108 consecutive regular-season and playoff games, a streak that started in December 2011.

A spokesman for AEG’s global partnerships division said that this year’s Kings’ Cup run brought forth a 23 percent increase in sponsorship revenue over the 2012 playoffs and that year’s Cup win. That sum includes new deals signed for the playoffs, such as postseason “presenting” sponsorships, and extended opportunities for regular-season sponsors during the postseason.

Cheeseman said the Kings expect to finalize renewals of several sponsorships this summer. The team hosted 30 representatives from sponsors at the team’s 3-0 victory over the Rangers in Game 3 of the final in New York. One of those sponsors, Travel Alberta, extended its sponsorship agreement through 2016 with the Kings during the final. 

The Kings’ Cup win also comes at a time when the team is looking for a new radio broadcast deal. The team’s past agreement with Clear Channel expired after this season.

“We’re looking at a few options to see what’s best for us and the fan base,” Cheeseman said. “There’s a lot of interest.”

As a result of the success on and off the ice, Kings executives gave themselves a few days early last week to enjoy the accomplishment.

“We’ve been going from the Cup parade to a party to an event, back to another party and then another event,” Cheeseman said with a laugh. “We’re loving every minute of it. We work hard, but we all know how fortunate we are to be part of this.”

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