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Thrashers Ticket Revenue Up 10% Last Season

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Here's a link to the Toronto Star which apparently has gotten their hands on the updated official NHL revenue numbers.

As you may recall, the Thrashers must grow their revenues at an above average rate to keep their full share of revenue sharing money. Pre-season quotes from club officials in the fall of 2007 in the Atlanta Business Chronicle showed that they were very bullish they would hit their revenue targets.

Last fall the Thrashers were coming off their first ever post-season appearance and ticket sales were up. Of course the regular season didn't turn out so well as the club missed the playoffs and ended up trading one of their two marquee players for a collection of role players, prospects and picks.

On a per game basis the Thrashers brought in $488 thousand in the first year after the lockout (2005-06). This number increased to the second year post-lock out $500 (2006-07). Following their 1st every playoff push the numbers took a big jump to $550 per game (2007-08).

Given the hugely disappointing 2007-08 season and general dissatisfaction among the season ticket holder fan base the Thrashers will need to win early and win often in 2008-09 to even come close to matching those numbers from last year--even with ticket price increases.

This franchise brings in a relatively small amount of revenue compared to other NHL teams. That trend will likely continue as long as the put an inferior hockey product on the ice. This is not the sort of city where you can finish in the basement year after year and expect people to elbow each other out of the way to snap up tickets (aka Toronto).

In terms of the overall NHL standings the Thrashers were tied with Washington and the Islanders for spots 26-27-28 at gate revenues of half a million per game. Chicago took a major jump up (they were dead last the season before) with their exciting rookies and the death of their hated owner causing some old fans to come back to that franchise.

The Coyotes finished dead last, losing nearly one sixth of their ticket revenue from the season prior. The truth of the matter is that Phoenix choose to play their kids and they had a pretty good year in terms of hanging around the playoffs. I would guess Phoenix will see a small bump this year but that is a market very much like Atlanta where the locals have had precious little to cheer for over the last decade.