Canadian NHL clubs lead in ticket revenue
Published Monday, January 2, 2012 8:38AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:02AM EDT
Canada's National Hockey League franchises accounted for almost one-third of the league's ticket revenue last season, according to a report obtained by the Toronto Star.
The confidential document shows six Canadian clubs accounted for 33 per cent of the $1.2 billion generated from ticket sales by the league's 30 franchises during the 2010-11 season, the Star reports.
The Montreal Canadiens led the way with about $2 million in ticket revenue per game, amounting to about $82 million for the entire season, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Out of the top six, the lone U.S. club is the New York Rangers, according to the Star.
Since the end of last season, Canada has added a seventh NHL club after the cash-strapped Atlanta Thrashers moved north to Winnipeg to become the Jets.
Atlanta ranked last in ticket revenue last season, according to the report.
But after years of steady increases, the league's most profitable teams, including the Maple Leafs, are no longer seeing double-digit increases in ticket revenue, the Star reported.
As revenues have increased, so have the prices of tickets. In Toronto, for example, the average price of a ticket is twice that of a ticket to watch a Boston Bruins home game, according to the report.
Move more teams north?
If anything, the confidential report gives more ammunition to people who are calling on the league to move struggling U.S. franchises to a more viable hockey market in Canada.
"There will be a lot of people using these numbers to argue that the league would be better off with teams in Quebec City and Hamilton rather than Columbus, Ohio, and a number of other locations where the NHL is not setting the world on fire," Marc Ganis, president of a Chicago sports advisory firm that has advised the buyers of NHL franchises, told the Star. "I think the argument for more Canadian teams definitely has merit."
However, the secret report indicates the five teams who have seen the biggest increase in ticket revenue over the last five seasons are all based in the U.S. – the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, the Star reported.