NHL Lockout Costs Hurricanes 7% Of Ticket Base; Team May Raise Ticket Prices
Hurricanes President & GM Jim Rutherford said that the team "lost seven percent of its ticket base during the lockout to fans demanding refunds," according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Rutherford said, "You never know what to expect when these things happen. In the early going of the lockout, the percentage ... was between one and two percent. As we got closer to the (Christmas) holiday season that number grew.” Rutherford said 7% was a “very low number” that underscored the loyalty of his ticket holders. He also said that since Sunday’s announcement of a CBA agreement, the "Canes had been selling 'a lot' of season tickets and hoped to recoup the seven percent loss." Rutherford: "We have some work to do. I view it the same way as when we first moved here (from Hartford in 1997). We had to build our fans one by one, seat by seat. If that’s what we have to do again, that’s what we’ll do" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/11). In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes many of the problems the "Hurricanes had with the NHL’s old labor deal remain in the new one." Even though salaries will "go down to start, over the course of the deal they’re still being asked to grow revenue at the same pace as their bigger-market brethren." Rutherford said, "The market’s still going to continue to grow, which is going to be helpful. Hopefully the economy continues to grow. And hopefully our team plays well. You get those three factors, then that makes that road a little smoother. If you don’t get all three, it makes it a little harder. And if you don’t get any, then it becomes a little more unrealistic, maybe very, very difficult.” He added, "It’s always going to be an issue when you’re dealing with higher revenue-teams and lower-revenue teams. I do feel a 50-50 split gives teams like ours a better chance to prepare their teams.” DeCock notes there also is "more money allotted to revenue sharing in the new deal." The Hurricanes "should still get" about $12M per season, but Rutherford said that the team "will have to raise ticket prices in the near future to meet the NHL's gate receipt targets." The lockout "may have helped the NHL as a whole, but only time will tell whether it made the Hurricanes more competitive or stable, now and in the future" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/11).