Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cha-ching! Canucks Going to The Playoffs! Yesss!!!

Yes My Canucks Make it to the playoffs! 
Way to go boyz!

When the Vancouver Canucks clinched a coveted playoff spot this week, they assured themselves of at least two home playoff dates and a seven-figure boost to the team's bottom line.
At a time when the global recession has forced some NHL teams to cut ticket prices and absorb millions of dollars of losses, the Canucks suddenly hear that joyful sound of money.
An extended 1982- or 1994-style playoff run this year will clearly add several million dollars to Canucks profits.
A Pittsburgh report last year estimated the Penguins made an average profit of $1 million US for each of the 11 playoff games they hosted last season on their run to the Stanley Cup final. The Canucks would probably do better. The team has indicated playoff tickets will cost about 40-per-cent more than regular season tickets during the first round, rising to about 200-per-cent more if they make round four — the Stanley Cup final.
U.S.-based Team Marketing Research estimates the Canucks had the NHL's third-highest average ticket price this season, at $62.05 US (all figures in U.S. dollars). A 40-per-cent price hike spread over the 18,630 seats at GM Place would generate $1.6 million in ticket revenues for each first-round game — a $462,000 boost over regular season games. If the team does the not-so-unthinkable and plays itself into the promised land of round four, the numbers surge into territory that makes NHL owners giddy with excitement.
A 200-per-cent ticket-price increase would generate more than $3.4 million in revenues for each Stanley Cup final home game in Vancouver — a whopping $2.3-million boost over regular season games. Ka-Ching!
The profit numbers don't even include other income sources that would kick in on a long playoff run — like corporate advertising and sponsorship deals and merchandise sales that will surely skyrocket in this NHL-championship-starved market.
Team owners love playoff games because they attract huge revenues at a time when player salaries have been fully paid.
Roberto Luongo, for example, makes more than $1 million a month during the regular season, but plays for a tiny fraction of that at playoff time. Players get an equal share of playoff revenues when their season ends, with the amount depending on how many rounds they last in the post-season. Two years ago, first-round losers received $5,000 each, while each player on the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks got $75,000.
Canucks president Chris Zimmerman said making the playoffs is the first step in having a successful season.
"We're not satisfied to just get in, but it is a significant accomplishment," he said. "It creates a level of energy and momentum and even casual and very casual fans start to get involved because it's the water cooler talk every morning."
Zimmerman said the demand and passion for NHL hockey in Vancouver is "massive" and playoff hockey brings everything to a boil. He noted the Canucks website attracts more visits than any other NHL team website — more than one million unique visits a month — and more original programming and live content will push those numbers even higher.
Forbes magazine estimates the Canucks made a $19.2-million profit last season on revenues of $107 million — and a long playoff run this season will likely push that higher.
"We expect we will be growing and that's a reflection of the playoffs and all the other revenue streams we have as well," Zimmerman said.
NHL player agent and former all-star goalie Mike Liut said playoff success doesn't just attract short-term financial rewards.
"It also advances your brand, along with your stature and relevance within the community," he said. "That success trickles down to improved season ticket sales, merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships."
Liut, chief integration officer for Octagon Hockey, said the Detroit Red Wings' incredible playoff success justifies its use of the marketing term "Hockeytown."
Detroit has made the playoffs for 19 straight seasons.
"If you make the playoffs every year and that's a standard you play to, there's a goodwill stream of consciousness and revenue that will flow from that every year," Liut said.
He noted playoff success can also make it easier for a team to attract and retain top-flight free agents, noting forward Marian Hossa opted to play in Detroit for $7.45 million when he likely could have made more money with another team.
"Players play to win and they want a shot at the Cup," Liut said. "For somebody like me who never won one — I played in the semifinals but never the finals — it's a real void."
He estimated about eight per cent of the roughly $2.6 billion in annual NHL "hockey-related revenues" comes from money earned at playoff time. So if a weaker-market team like Nashville makes it to the playoffs, while a strong franchise like Toronto misses out, revenues will be hurt. While the Canucks hike first-round playoff tickets 40 per cent above regular season prices, Nashville says it will freeze its first-round tickets at regular-season prices if it makes the playoffs.
NHL senior vice-president of club services Susan Cohig insists the league never hopes for a Stanley Cup final between big market titans like Montreal and Chicago over a potential smaller-market battle like Nashville against Florida, despite what it might mean for league revenues.
"We don't want one team in and another team out because it will affect our revenue," she said. "We just want the best teams competing for the Stanley Cup."
Cohig said the recession has forced many teams to be creative and flexible in determining playoff ticket prices this year.
"Teams adjust as necessary and do everything they can to make the games affordable for fans," she said. "That includes providing a variety of payment options, like paying as you go instead of paying for several games up front."
Players Chop House general manager Steve Brisson can't wait for playoff hockey to begin. The Vancouver restaurant operator said business quadruples on a home playoff game night.
"You can already feel playoff fever building because I get a second wave of people who come in to watch Canucks games on TV now [after the first wave goes to GM Place]," Brisson said. "If we can get two or three playoff rounds out of the Canucks, it will be huge."


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