Happy with ticket sales, McLoughlin talks revenue growth for Seahawks

Marc Bryan-Brown
Vulcan Sports and Entertainment's Peter McLoughlin (left) talks with SBJ/SBD's Abraham Madkour.
Vulcan Sports & Entertainment CEO Peter McLoughlin sat for a featured interview in the first of Wednesday's afternoon sessions at the '13 Sports Facilities & Franchises Conference. While his role at Vulcan also includes the oversight of all financial and business operations of the Blazers and MLS Sounders, and management of CenturyLink Field, he noted, "I devote the majority of my time to the Seahawks." He said the Seahawks are "in good shape with ticket revenue," adding the team has "renewed our season-ticket base at 98 percent, and we've taken deposit on 12,000 new tickets, and we'll probably be able to fulfill 2,800 of those." McLoughlin said the Seahawks have about 60,000 season-ticket holders, and the team is in the process of launching a Seahawks Fan Council similar to that of the Sounders.

EYE ON THE PRIZE: Because the Seahawks are satisfied with their ticket revenue goals, McLoughlin said his current primary focus with the team is in the sponsorship realm. He said, "I really believe in driving sponsorship revenue, and maximizing the value proposition that an NFL team presents to marketers. I really believe that the Seahawks mark – all of our team marks – are probably our most valuable asset. We all think about what signage gets television exposure, and that's a premium piece of inventory, but, boy, that mark, when the marketer utilizes it properly – on packaging or point-of-sale materials, or on advertising – that's a rare commodity. I don't believe in giving that away, and I don't believe in selling that cheaply. I think we are undervaluing it. I see metrics comparing our revenues to other teams in the NFL, and while we're in very good shape, we're not where I'd like to be.”
ROOT OF THE ISSUE: McLoughlin said of the Mariners' purchase of Root Sports this week, "First thing next week, I want to sit down with (Mariners President & CEO) Chuck Armstrong and see how can we can work together, because the Sounders' television rights agreement expires at the end of this season." McLoughlin then spoke about the years-long CSN Portland carriage dispute with the Blazers, adding, "Our Blazers broadcast rights are held by Comcast SportsNet in Portland, and we're only cleared in half of the Portland DMA, because we're not cleared by DirecTV, and we're not cleared by Dish. And I'm hopeful that maybe with the Mariners at the table, with DirecTV, that maybe we can find a fix for that."

QUICK HITS:

McLoughlin said of NFL revenue growth, "I don't think media rights fees spending will slow down. I don't think the tablet opportunity has been maximized, and we should be hearing something about that in the next week or so."

Responding to whether Europe is ready for an NFL team: "I think certainly for a team. It's been proven. When games are announced at Wembley Stadium, they sell out very, very quickly." But McLoughlin said, "No NFL team flies more miles than the Seattle Seahawks, so the idea of flying to London is not at the top of my list."

McLoughlin said of the pending sale of the NBA Kings: "We've been very supportive in encouraging Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, and are hopeful that they get a team." He added, "I don't really dwell too much on how many sports teams are good or bad for a market."
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Facilities, Franchises, MLS, NFL

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