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Hockey Challenge 2014

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CHLPA and Seattle Ticket Revenue

The other day the fledgling CHLPA (and I'm tempted to use the word floundering) tweeted out some "Revenue" figures that they claim come directly from the CHL website.

First off... I can't seem to verify that fact anywhere and nobody else seems to be able to verify that either. So if the CHL is posting revenue figures on their website it appears that the mysterious tweeting CHLPA is the only one that can find them.

Second... I really don't know that I have a strong opinion on the CHLPA yet. The rest of this post isn't meant to be a slam on the CHLPA. I'm all for CHL players being treated well. For the most part, I think they already are treated pretty well. While some may call playing hockey in the WHL a "job"... I, most certainly, would not. When I played college baseball and I received a food stipend for road trips, I didn't think that what I was doing was "work". I looked at it like I was playing the game because I loved playing it and for the small (non-existent in my case) hope of being a professional one day.  I realize the NCAA considers the CHL "professional" but we all know that is a heaping pile of bullshit. So I'm all for the players being treated well but I can't help but feel like the CHLPA is a solution to a non-existent problem.  Couple that with the fact that this all seems like a really weird and strange April Fools joke and I find it hard to believe this is going to gain any traction. We don't even know "who" this CHLPA is. We have Georges Laraque acting as the "Executive Director" and an anonymous twitter account.  Quick addition to that thought... does anyone else feel like the CHLPA twitter will just one day say "nevermind, just kidding... just wanted to see everyone get worked up about nothing"??

Let's also throw out the fact that there are several franchises that are struggling to make financials work and unions typically add benefits but they also add costs. My belief is that the Thunderbirds are doing much better in ShoWare than they were in KeyArena but it is quite possible that any formal formation of the CHLPA could put one or more franchises in danger of closing up their doors. That is PURE speculation on my part but that is the sense that I get.

Having said all of that.... Let's actually break down the numbers because I'm a nerd and I love numbers.

Sunday, September 2nd the CHLPA Twitter (@theCHLPA) stated that the Tbirds "estimated" ticket sales were 141,086 good for revenue of $4,853,367. The last semi-reliable attendance figure we have is from 2009-10 where Seattle drew 138,724 but I know for a fact that attendance has gone up since that year. That works out to average crowd of 3853 and I think it is a lot closer to 4000. 4000 by 36 games is 144,000. So let's assume that the CHLPA numbers are correct. What we shouldn't assume is that each one of those tickets are paid for. Every team gives away some tickets... let's say roughly 5%. That would reduce the paid tickets number down to $134,031. Take that number and divide by $4,853,367 and you get an average ticket price of $36.21.

Now... Let's see if we can back into the average ticket price at the arena.  Let's ignore the fact that season ticket holders get a discount on the per ticket price because that would completely blow the number out of the water. So let's just deal with retail price.  $40 a pop for club seats and I'd say there must be about 500 club seats. That's $20,000. 200 glass seats? That's a guess but I think it's close. 200 by $30 is another $6000. I'm guessing about 500 of the Family tickets at $16 each, $8000 and that leaves 4925 tickets at $24 which is $118,200. Put it all together and it would add up to $152,200 for each home game (before suites).

Your head is spinning... I know... stay with me....

That means that if you sell out the entire place (which we all know doesn't happen) that average ticket price works out to $24.84 and once again this is assuming that every ticket is actually a "paid" ticket.

Now let's work in suite tickets (as was pointed out on my twitter). Let's say roughly 20 suites at 14 seats per suite and $50 per ticket and average suite sales are probably 60%. That adds about $8400 to the total. Which gives us roughly a rounded total of $160,000 in revenue per game. Average ticket price? $26.22... still not even close to the $34.40 that the CHLPA wants you to believe.

Last point... this all assumes that tickets are all sold on a retail basis and we all know that isn't true. I pay $558 per season ticket and that makes my average ticket price $15.50. Let's assume the Tbirds have 1500 season ticket holders (I don't actually know the number) that means that the $26.22 average ticket price that we calculated not only can't be correct but also cannot be any higher than that because somewhere around 1500 people are actually buying tickets at a discounted per game rate.

Which means...

The numbers the CHLPA tweeted out... are complete garbage. Either that or there are some major gaps in the facts or their "sources".

"Educated" guess... I'd say revenue for the Tbirds was closer to $20 per ticket with actual paid attendance being closer to 140 to 145k which would put revenue somewhere between $2.8 and $2.9 million.


Anonymous said...

There was a segment that was aired during an intermission of one of the TV games that I really wish I had DVR'd. It mentioned that the WHL had a profit sharing model designed to level the playing field and keep both the small and large market teams in a healthy place financially. In searching the web and trying to find anything in print that backs this up, I haven't been able to find a thing. Have you heard anything about this?

Profit sharing or no, I am always surprised that the Prince George franchise continues to survive. The attendance numbers are terrible, they rarely have success, and the travel time is rough on virtually every team in the league. I hope that the move to Kent is paying off for the T-Birds as much as we all assume it is and that hockey is doing well in South King.

Dean said...

It's all numbers, and I agree with Tyler these numbers are a little off, until we average in the price it takes to field a team. How does rent for the ice, practice facilities, equipment, and boarding affect one team's profit margin? Prices are set for this year but I hope the Russ doesn't decide on a raise the prices for future seasons without a better product on the ice.

Anonymous said...

They already have raised the prices on the $22 dollars seats form last year to $24 this year. How did they justify that with 3 years in a row missing the playoffs?

Anonymous said...

The official justification was that the cost of running a team has gone up. My personal belief is that in addition to cost issues, he did it because he can. People say a lot of negative things about Russ, but whatever skills he lacks in building a winner, he doesn't lack in knowing this market. This team has been so horrid the past 3 seasons that they probably would have seen Prince George type attendance figures in a lot of other markets. The fact they haven't tells me that there is a pent up demand for hockey in this area. Becoming majority owner and moving to Kent were good moves by a man who got to know this market well. Imagine attendance if this team ever gets good.

Anonymous said...

Just making the playoffs isn't good enough, in my humble opinion.

Dean said...

Agree..just making the playoffs with a losing record doesn't cut the mustard. I'll be happy with wins in half the games that my family attends this year at the Showare. kids have no school on the Thunderbirds have an open practice on Friday, 09/14? If so, what time is it?

Kodi said...

Not sure about a practice on Friday but they do have a home preseason game Friday night.

Anonymous said...

Doubt they will be on the ice Friday prior to the game, but should be a good one vs. Everett

Dean said...

Thanks. I forgot about the pre-season game. Guess we are going to the beach.

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