By Allan Muir
MacLean’s (Canada’s leading newsweekly, for the uninitiated) today offered up an interactive overview illustrating how far each NHL team was willing to go to soothe hard feelings in the wake of the lockout.
The magazine’s survey took into account the sort of offers that had an impact on how much a fan might spend to take in their team’s first home game, including ticket prices, processing fees and discounts on merchandise and concessions.
Topping the list: the Carolina Hurricanes, which offered up a compelling array of 50 percent discounts on opening night tickets along with pop and hot dogs for a buck each. The magazine calculated that if every fan took full advantage of the discounts offered, the team would “give back” approximately 311 percent of what the players were paid for that game.
Granted, that’s kind of a wheels-off metric because the team is picking up the tab, not the players. A more telling comparable would have been to what each club typically earned from an average home gate. Working some really rough math based on attendance and average ticket price, the Hurricanes bring in somewhere in the neighborhood of $800,000 per game from ticket sales. Of course, that doesn’t factor in concessions, parking and everything else that goes into the Hockey-Related Revenue pile, but it is more illustrative of the team’s generosity than comparing it to the roughly $625,000 it paid out in player salaries for that game.
And the numbers become even murkier when comparing the give-backs from a cap-stretching team like the Minnesota Wild (175 percent) to those of a cap-floor team like the New York Islanders (112 percent).
To be fair, fan-friendly events like open practices and autograph sessions held during training camp weren’t given any weight, nor were long-term deals like Tampa Bay’s one-day $200 season ticket offer. In some towns, those were considered significant components of the “Please forgive us, we’ll never, ever do it again” effort.
Still, it’s interesting to see which teams were most pressed to make these types of amends — the Senators, Penguins, Canadiens and Canucks ranked surprisingly high — and which teams — Dallas, Washington — basically opened the doors with a smirk that said, “We knew you’d come crawling back.”