When you are a successful team, you get the benefit of the doubt. When you show your fans you value them, they let things slide. But when you stop giving the fans what they are asking for AND continue to burden their wallets, you have quite a big problem.
Look around the NHL; there is deals to be had in half the arenas in the league. Even the Detroit Red Wings are able to offer low ticket prices and they win the Cup every few years! Down in Florida, fans can purchase tickets for $7/ game and that’s just the beginning.
This is ridiculous! No one should condone this behavior as a ticket salesperson. Doing the quick math on that ad basically tells the fans, the Panthers aren’t going to be making money this season, heck, they are just trying to get people in the door! It also says the NHL needs to re-evaluate their business plan, in other words, get out of cities that shouldn’t have had a hockey team to begin with.
On the flip side, the Canucks, like most Canadian teams make money every year regardless of the product they put on the ice. It was recently revealed that the Toronto Maple Leafs are worth $1 billion, hockey’s first billion dollar team. If anyone has looked into the last 30 Stanley Cup winners, the Leafs aren’t there. As good as 1967 was for Toronto, even a Cup drought that long still brings in the bucks.
How does a team continue to make THAT much money when they finally made the playoffs for the first time since before High Definition was introduced to television? Its easy actually. OK, its easy in Canada. Market a team to the point of explosion and you can turn any result into a victory. Every Canadian team sells the idea that hockey lives in every home and that each Canadian should be a part of it. Jerseys, hats, bus trips, tickets, you name it, they’ll sell it to you.
The Canucks found a way to maximize their reach when the going was good; Pay Per View games were introduced, premium home games were added to ticket packages so they could tell you who was a better team to see, and the consecutive “sell out” record after every game. When they were winning divisions and consistently moving past the first round it was easy to justify paying a bit more for a “winning team”. What happens when the winning stops?
Better question, what happens when the wins keep coming, but the fans don’t buy in anymore? Two Presidents trophies in a row, a win away from a Stanley Cup, classy retro jerseys, lovable players and one of the best cities to live in the world. How can anyone not buy in? Adding 3-5% on top of current ticket prices, that’s how.
The product on the ice has diminished and ownership still believes the fans should pay for the team’s short comings.
I broke down what each fan at Rogers Arena is paying for per home game:
Canucks Salary per game – 756 731 (total cap / 82 games)
Avg ticket price per game in Vancouver- $111
Avg ticket price per game in NHL – $61.01
Rogers Arena capacity per game – 18 948
If the team salary alone is divided by each seat, it works to $39.58 per fan. That doesn’t include staffing the arena and all the other costs associated with running a NHL game. If the average ticket is $111, Canucks fans are grossly overpaying. The product on the ice is quickly losing its value and seeing that money get misused is embarrassing as a fan. There is profit to be made and that shouldn’t be stuffed away. It’s a business, but when break down the amount of entertainment per fan, $111 is a lot to spend for the same thing over and over…especially when it ends in misery.
Its time for Johnny Canuck to pay back the fans. Put the price back to a respectable level, REAL sellouts will happen again and win or lose the fans can back a team they can identify with again.
Right now, Canucks need to get treatment for amnesia because winning in the first round every year isn’t winning at all.