Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Consol Energy Center News and A look at Crowd Capacity

Sports Business Daily and The Confluence are reporting that the Pittsburgh Penguins will not sell Personal Seat Licences, something most fans are against, at the new Consol Energy Arena.

A solid move, as it keeps prices down for season ticket holders, keeping the fans all the more content. Only Colombus and Toronto currently sell PSLs in the NHL.

Moving on...

Here is a snap shot of the 8 teams playing in front of less than 85% full crowds this season (ESPN):

The darkest shaded column is when I ranked it by capacity %. From left to right the categories are; Rank, Team, Number of Home Games, Total spectators, Average Spectators, and Capacity %.

Over the next week I will begin to take a look at each and one of these teams. These are the teams that are having problems attracting and keeping fans. They need to change something or some of them will be in danger of moving out of town within 5 to 10 years. Of the 8, I can tell you right now that New Jersey and Los Angeles are probably the safest of them all, followed by Carolina. Why? Well they have all won a cup or two at one point, and to me in this day and age that's going to be hard to take away from them.

That's all for tonight, check back tomorrow.

Update 6:45 PM: The NHL scroll bar on SportsCenter actually served a purpose for me today...

Scott Burnside reports that the NHL is trying to find new revenue for a financially suffering Coyotes hockey club:
The NHL hasn't taken over control of the Phoenix Coyotes, but it is taking an active role in trying to find new investors or ownership for the financially strapped franchise and is being kept apprised of any "significant" financial decisions the team makes, ESPN.com has learned from team and league sources.
Burnside reports that the club is expected to lose another 30 Million Dollars, or more, this season. This comes already on top of being out 60 Million over the past two years. Wow. This is not good. And to top it all off, the main obstacle if the team is sold is going to be the lease with Jobing.com Arena.
In short, Moyes wants out, a number of sources told ESPN.com. At the very least, he is in desperate need of an influx of capital to help in the continued operation of the team.

Multiple sources told ESPN.com the biggest hurdle is the current lease with Glendale.

The 30-year lease that accompanied significant municipal support in the building of Jobing.com Arena (the municipality put up $180 million of the $220 million price tag) has a number of problem areas as it relates to the franchise's ability to generate revenues.

Take parking. The Coyotes, unlike most teams in the NHL, receive nothing from parking fees at the arena. Instead, they actually pay a surcharge of $2.70 per vehicle. That means instead of generating upwards of $10 million in revenue, they pay more than $2 million.

No cost for parking? Really? I never even knew that. And to top this all off, this nice little tidbit of information. Looks like some of the players this year won't be getting back their 13.5% of their escrow salary money...
No one knows for certain if the Coyotes can finish out the season under the current financial climate, and at some point the specter of bankruptcy looms large.

Sources say the team hasn't come close to failing to meet the payroll, but if that situation were to present itself, the NHL would move swiftly to take over operations.

The fact the league is significantly involved now suggests it is in a position to step in quickly to provide what might be described as "bridge" funding of the team's operational costs and maintain the integrity of the franchise.

Yikes. That would look very bush league. But, the night is darkest before dawn, and there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that the Coyotes are playing decent hockey, and are in a playoff spot. If they manage to get hot and get a couple of rounds into the playoffs, the bottom line will not be so bad.
First, ticket sales have increased about 77,000 from a year ago, team officials said. Television ratings have improved dramatically and if the team continues its strong play and can make the playoffs and take advantage of a few home dates (they were in seventh place in the Western Conference as of Tuesday), the bottom line will be significantly improved.
The NHL plans on also using the fact that the Coyotes received 15 million in revenue sharing last season to lure in new owners. Yay, free cash for rich men! And finally, the NHL seems set on keeping the team in the Desert. Gretzky assured the league he isn't going anywhere within the ownership. So for now, this team is staying in Glendale. Sorry, Jim Balsillie.
The Coyotes are one of the biggest benefactors of the NHL's revenue-sharing program as well, and last year received $15 million, something that should also be attractive to potential investors.

The NHL has approached head coach Wayne Gretzky about the potential changes to the ownership group and he has assured league officials he isn't going anywhere (he told ESPN.com the same thing last week). That's not insignificant when it comes to luring deep pockets to the desert.

Again, wow. I'll sleep on this tonight and try to get more in depth tomorrow. For now, soak it in.

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