Ok, I lied. One more thing. The Winnipeg team (whatever they are) need to sell 13,000 season tickets to show the Board of Governors that they're a viable market. Stands to reason.
My Thrashers season tickets are in the equivilant of section 111. They are $999 a year here in Atlanta. In Winnipeg?
$4,230. That's more than four times the price. The yellow seats are $1,745. Granted, yes, that's in a slightly stronger Canadian dollar, but you get the point.
Enjoy paying out the nose for a five year committment to watch this team frustrate the hell out of you.
EDIT: I decided to look up income for the 'Peg. In 2010 median income was $70,510 (Canadian). Not too shabby. The average annual expenses? The most recent data I could find gave it as $55,821. So, basically, that gives each family $14,869 worth of disposable income (roughly).
Atlanta's median income - the 7th highest in the US, with ticket prices a quarter of some of those in Winnipeg, is $51,948. I'll add cost of living for a comparable year as WPG when I can find it. The internet isn't cooperating and I'm too tired to care.
Winnipeg managed to sell all 13,000 season ticket packages within 17 minutes of the time they went on sale to the public. That's commitment.
Laura, glad to see you are keeping this going. I hope Atlanta Hockey Bloggers will keep a blog/blogs going in some shape or form so there is a place for us(and what we just went through) to talk about NHL, maybe minor league,
and a neighboring team(s) in the Southeast from an Atlanta perspective. Maybe a Atlanta Predators Blog or something. Do you think it will work?
Here's my analysis on this. The ticket prices are actually too low. You're asking really? I thought they were already high?
For one example, I'm using a team like the Minnesota Wild. They are losing money in a bigger arena and in a bigger market with more corporate support (Best Buy, Target, etc.). They have pretty similar hockey passion (even if you say less, it's not as much as you all think it is). They lost money this year. http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=6363681
If you look at their season tickets, they are right in line with your season tickets as far as prices go. http://wild.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=51755
So where does the extra money come from? Winnipeg has less suites than the Wild (48 vs. 76) so it won't be there. TV money? Okay. Canadians do watch on TV much more than American markets. This should offset the less money from the suites (remember, national TV contracts get spread around the league - not just Winnipeg).
Parking and Concessions in the arena comes out as a wash (even though there are more people at the Xcel Energy Center).
You probably will make more from merchandise especially initially, but that money will tail off after everyone has purchased their new jerseys, sticks, etc. (let's face it, there's only so many jerseys that one person wants/needs).
As much as you all say players won't mind going up there, it's not going to happen as easily as you all believe. You all are going to have to overpay to get players up there just like Edmonton does and has in the past. This hurts your bottom line and makes it more difficult to break even and make the playoffs where teams start to come out in the black. (This is not an attack on the city of Winnipeg or their fans. I have not been there. For all I know, it might be a paradise up there. BUT, you have to look at some of Edmonton's contracts and it is obvious that this contributes to why they are at the bottom of the league. They have to overpay free agents. Teams can be built through the draft, but young teams generally don't make it far in the playoffs without at least a few veterans leading the way.)
But there's hope. Revenue Sharing. Ah, the great equalizer. Doing some research here, teams have to have over 14,000 fans per game (no problem here) AND have revenues that equal or exceed the percentage average increase in revenue of the NHL. So you all will probably get revenue sharing, but it still points to you all having to raise your ticket prices. This will have to consistently happen which means you have to raise tickets at a rate higher than other markets.
So in conclusion, you all honestly will need to raise your tickets even higher to match at least Edmonton's prices http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=33824 (who also has more luxury suites  and seating [by over 1500]). This is to make money in the NHL. They are trying to hook fans now to make sure they reach the 13,000 season tickets that they need initially but will really start charging once the 3 year commitment is over. It would be better to make this argument vs. Edmonton's prices since that's what you all will have to pay in three years.
Will people continue to pony up after the initial 3 year period is over? Time will tell, but I can guarantee that you all will be paying much more than now unless your owner is very generous.
There are major flaws in your methodology:
1. The median household income in Atlanta is irrelevant if the people who have money are not interested in spending it on hockey games. Eve if every single person in Atlanta had the financial means to buy a season ticket, they wouldn't, because the widespread interest isn't there. This has been proven over the last several years.
2. The cost of living data isn't really relevant here either because you're discounting the fact that it's not only households that would be buying tickets, but also businesses. And I don't just mean large corporations buying luxury suites, but also small and medium-sized businesses who buy season tickets to entertain clients or to reward employees. That makes up a significant portion of any team's season ticket base. Additionally, there's the question of wealth distribution amongst those who are interested in the product. The people with more disposable income in Winnipeg have more interest in hockey and are willing to put out money for tickets. If one market has a smaller population base but one that is more interested in the product, that's the preferable market to have.
3. Although someone may only have X in disposable income, that doesn't mean that's all they have the ability to spend. Surely there will be a number of people charging season tix on credit cards or perhaps even dipping into savings accounts. Whether they should be living beyond their means like that is another discussion, but it doesn't change the fact that it will happen.
I mean no disrespect to you or your Atlanta brethren. I have no doubt that you have a real love for hockey and that you're justifiably upset over the turn of events. But the fact is that while your group is passionate, it isn't large enough to support an NHL team, and to take your frustrations out on the people of Winnipeg (who have felt the exact same pain you're going through, only with an even longer history of attachment to the Jets) by trying to discredit their ability to support the team before they've even had the chance is wrong, and the argument you're using to support your position is flawed.
Yes the tickets are expensive, but they're also in line with what other small market teams like edmonton and ottawa are paying. They don't have attendance problems, even when the team isn't performing great. The fans there will pay through the nose to see NHL level hockey SIMPLY because it is NHL level hockey. Not to mention that if the team does go through years of mediocrity there will be accountability in management because of nothing other than public sentiment. Don Waddell wouldn't have made it past his 3rd year as GM if that franchise had been in Canada. Lastly, the reason above all that hockey will work in Winnipeg for the long term is the fact that David Thompson is worth 23 frigging Billion dollars and bought this team because he loves hockey and he loves Winnipeg. If they lose 20 million dollars a year, he can cut that cheque for 50 years and only tap 1/23rd of his total fortune. Drop in the bucket for the love of the game.
Besides, with Atlanta being one of the TV rating hotspots in the US it's not like you won't be getting another team down the line.
You're an idiot, Laura! The point about these prices is that they ARE WHAT THE MARKET WILL BEAR! Learn some economics before you write idiocy. They will pay because they love the sport and they will show up because they love the sport, and they will pay because they are worth that much to whoever buys them. The new Winnipeg team won't have to be good for them to sell out or come close most nights because the passion is there. In Atlanta you are all fair weather fans. When the team was at it's best a few years ago and made it's only playoff appearance the average attendance was a shade over 15,000 for that season, and even that was only around 80% capacity. Tickets were cheap in atlanta to draw people in and they still couldn't draw. Why? because other than you and maybe 200 other people, NO ONE CARES. Winnipeg will make money because most people there love hockey and will show up. There are just more hockey fans there. Period. Be upset all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that 11 years worth of chances didn't produce many new fans. Blame whoever you want. But the "fans" are as responsible for them leaving as anyone else. You mention median incomes much higher in Atlanta, and then mock Winnipeg fans because they're willing to pay more? If the thrashers could have charged that much and drew 15,000 or more, guess what? They wouldn't have moved to Winnipeg because they would have had much higher revenue, would have been able to attract better free agents and build a better team. But it was not possible because in Atlanta you "fans" weren't willing to spend even a fraction of what it costs to go to a REAL NHL game. So, what does higher median income have to do with this if the team couldn't give away tickets? That "point" you made is completely contradictory.
Wow, lower bowl season tickets for $1000 even makes the Islanders look expensive. I just bought their cheapest option at $625/seat for next season and that's the top four rows of the upper bowl. Lower parts of the upper bowl are more than $1000/season.
I have Sharks season tickets in the equivalent to section 320. They cost me about $3k for the full season. That's more in line with what they are charging in Winnipeg as opposed to what you were paying in Atlanta. $999 for lower bowl corner tickets is cheap. No wonder why the Thrashers weren't able to make any money in Atlanta.
The economics have changed in Canada. Their loonie is stronger than our greenback and their ownership is rich and actually passionate about hockey. This franchise will do just fine up in the frozen prairie of Winnipeg.
I give it four or five seasons before True North starts whining that the "fans aren't supporting us, and we're losing money." And then the fans will say "Well we can't afford tickets every season... and it's not like they're the Stanley Cup Champions!"
Yeah... 1,755.00 CAD = 1,813.12 USD - for nosebleed. So for a "average" family of four, that would run roughly $7,020 CAD - which is half their disposable income... for, again, nosebleed seats. I already read where some Peggers were saying they can't afford season tickets (http://www.globalwinnipeg.com/season+tickets+Winnipeg+they+affordable/4870032/story.html). The words "saving my pennies" were used - how very not reassuring.
Ah yes, history will repeat itself. And then Bettman will laugh all the way to the bank with another $60 mil relocation fee to cover his beloved Coyotes. I'm really wondering how much longer the players and the owners will put up with his shenanigans. God forbid someone that actually played the sport runs it.
I think that it could... I know that the Preds'll be getting a lot more fans this season! I might wander up there for a game or two to catch the Blues. I'm sad that I'll just have one team to cover, and that I only started tracking how frustrating the Law of Hildy is. I think I might incorporate a few bits here and there about the Glads (if I make the trek to Duluth) or KSU hockey. Here's to another national championship for the Owls! @mattg629
Sorry, had to use Edmonton's 2008-2009 prices since I cannot find their current prices. I would assume they've gone up a bit although I can't be sure. Even then, they are still a bit more expensive in the more expensive seats than Winnipeg's. They also sell standing room only seats of which I'm not sure affects their attendance numbers. Someone else from there can look into that.
Good point with the businesses. However, you assume that the interest in hockey isn't there. The Thrashers' initial season averaged over 17K fans a game, and the season that they made the playoffs they averaged over 16.5K (or so). The interest is obviously there, especially when a winning product is put on the ice - the question then arises in what creates a winning product? Do owners who have been trying to unload a team since day one make for one? No.
It's hard to judge the market here fully, because there's an outlying factor that screwed it up. What would it have been like had David McDavid purchased the team (or another interested individual)? No one knows.
BTW, I'm not insulting Winnipeggers, and I'm not sure where people are getting that from. I have always felt that the 'Peg deserved a team - my frustrations lie with the way that the league handled this... and the 13 year old internet trolls who probably couldn't explain how Big Walt got his nickname. I'm just saying that - if this team continues to play like they've always played in Atlanta - these ticket prices are going to look pretty rough for the product on the ice. If anything, I'm (as usual) making light of the Thrashers.
$23 billion dollars and loves hockey? I'm going to say this with genuine jealousy - lucky. Our owners wouldn't've known a puck had it hit them upside their heads.
Which, sadly, never happened.
What happens in two or three decades when Thompson passes on? I just forsee disinterested heirs to the fortune selling to the highest bidder, who gladly move the team to a larger market.
I'm from Houston, and it hurts to see a franchise like Atlanta go. That having been said, I would not be as opposed to Winnipeg if they had a more tenable arena situation. The Toyota Center in Houston has 103 luxury boxes and 2900 club seats. Philips Arena has 96 suites and 2893 club seats. MTS Centre only has 46 suites and 936 club seats. I know Atlanta was not selling out, but losses are still losses.
I really think Bettman's hands were tied because there was no one in Atlanta would buy the team. The best open market (as far as TV ratings and arena goes) is Houston, but he pissed off the only viable ownership there. Milwaukee has arena issues, and we are all pretending that Seattle does. Winnipeg is just the lesser of two evils versus Quebec City.
@starboy377 you're the idiot who can't read - last I checked 70,000 > 51,900. She was saying that even though dumb peggers like yourself have a *bigger* median income, it is not four time atlanta's - and therefore for the product being iced, you are being totally ripped off. Moron. See? That didn't take but a paragraph to summarize.
@starboy377 You know starboy, it IS possible to provide a counter argument without resorting to personal attacks. Grow up.
Those ticket prices came after a few years of declining attendance... they used to be about $2500. But, instead of fixing the product on the ice and spending some money, they cut the prices of the tickets. These are the financial wiz kids that ran our team. @dman999
My thing here more than just economy is that they'll be spending 4 times the amount that I was to basically, for the first season or two, be watching the same product. Their patience isn't going to last as long as ours has at that price.
@missblondie13 Four or five seasons, eh? Well, they sold 13,000 season tickets with the shortest term being three years. Methinks it'll take a wee bit longer than that. EVERYWHERE you go some people can't afford season seats. Except Atlanta...only no one wanted to go. I bet half the population didn't even know you used to have a team.
@missblondie13 I agree with many of the statements above. Indeed, Atlanta tickets were cheap. Lot's of reasons why. But economics are economics. Euphoria will lead to poverty in this situation. I personally know 2 people who attepted to buy this team. They have deep pockets too. Mr big dollars in Winnipeg is going to lose over 100 million before he bails one day. I am sorry starboy. The NHL has another financial crisis on the horizon as the current bargaining agreement is going to continue to drive salaries and team costs up at an alarming rate. Please do not speak without knowing all the information. He may love hockey but like all business men, will hate losing money. And FYI, he isn't worth even close to that much! He is not cash strapped now, but will be in 3-4 years per my sources. The NHL is not healthy nor is the Canadian economy (or any north american and european economies).
@redinthemorning @tsnfan If Bettman were looking to put the team in the most convenient market possible with the best arena possible, Kansas City would have been a far more viable option than Milwaukee or Seattle. So if it were really about the msot convenient relocation as you imply here, then why not just drop the team in KC?
Houston may have a nice big building with lots of suites, but, and this is the crux of the failure in ATL and the reason why they didn't put the team in KC , where is the interest? The economy is still not great, who's to say businesses in Houston are going to want to invest in those suites? After not having a team in 30 plus years, what makes you think the Houston market will come out and support a team as fervently as Winnipeg did? With the failures in ATL and PHX, Bettman knew that he needed to put the next team in someplace safe where they will be a guaranteed draw and lots of residual sales like merchandise, rather than risk another situation where teams are playing in half empty arenas like PHX.
No disrespect intended to the Houston market, but this line of thinking that ATL keeps saying and you seem to have echoed here in support of Houston of "we have a big building, we have a large population, and we have money" doesn't matter if the interest isn't there.
@tsnfan = an idiot too.
Frankly, I just forgot Kansas City outright. My bad.
Houston has a huge corporate base. It's the energy capital of the world and a major player in healthcare and technology. Selling the suites and club tickets will not be an issue here. We have had consistent AHL attendance and our WHA club packed The Summit. Houston is also the largest media market in North America without an NHL club (second if the BoG approves the move. But this is not about Houston, Milwaukee, Seattle, or KC.
The bottom line is, markets with a higher ceiling are preferable. This would be totally different if the MTS Centre had 3000 more seats and comparable amenities, but it does not. The NHL is giving up on potential revenue streams at the gate and losing a major media market. There is not really a lot keeping this team in Winnipeg right now except for a highly altruistic owner. It is very easy to see a day when Winnipeg joins Atlanta in the club of losing two franchises.
Wow. Impressive comeback. And BTW, I have studied economics. Money + bad/average product = decreased interest in that product = decreased income. If that applied in Atlanta, why doesn't that apply in Winnipeg. Are you special? Or is it perfectly ok for Canadians to spend their money on subpar hockey, while it's stupid for anyone else to do so?
Wait... I believe that Edmonton and Toronto prove my point nicely.