Owners will hope a quick end to the lockout will give new lease on season revenue
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/08/2012 -- The Minnesota Wild matched an offer extended by the Florida Panthers to season ticket holders of a 10% interest on all games that were missed due to the lockout of the current season.
In the earlier days of NHL lockout, there would be few teams that would stand to lose as much as the Wild. The club sold almost 4,000 new season tickets following the signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter mid-summer. On September 17, they will pay 10% interest to ticket holders who leave the money with the team through the missed games.
In all, the Wild stand to lose $1 million in revenue per missed home game. The overall health of the team’s finances relies specifically upon whether a new bargaining agreement can be met in short order. If such an agreement is found, then there could be a quick and easy path back to profitability within several seasons.
The first step will have to be a new deal splits revenue somewhere around 50-50 between owners and players. The latest proposal by owners placed the number at 47-49% for the players. Many in the know expect the two sides to end up on an even split of the “hockey-related revenue.” The Wild brass have also favored a $50 million increase owners had proposed to revenue sharing, but personally had been interested in the union’s proposed increase, which would have added an additional $100 million to total the program’s take at $245 million.
If those parameters were in place, then the Wild could have seen a playoff run lift them back into profitability. However, now owner Craig Leipold is bargaining to reduce players’ salaries after signing.
Leipold is not capable of commenting on negotiations; however, he has defended his motions saying his attempts were in order to grow the business.
"It's no secret we felt we needed to do something to change the direction of the franchise," Wild chief operating officer Matt Majka said Monday, pointing out the team had the salary cap room to sign the two players and adding that he doesn't believe Leipold or general manager Chuck Fletcher "were making decisions on what (the landscape) might be in the future."
While the lockout figures will slightly lower the Wild’s overall revenue (provided the lockout were to end soon) the team could still see itself with a strong boost behind a strong playoff run. The incentive of that concept is not only good to motivate players to play well, but also to rally fans behind the effort, and thus spend more money.
The 10% interest offered is well above the average of 4% by most NHL teams. It is a clear sign that the Minnesota brass are worried about not having a strong enough bass to fill out seats otherwise. The owners need to make sure they can keep their fans engaged. While 10% might do some of the work, a new lease on the season and a “must win” attitude to keep the team afloat could be the boost the owners need.
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