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Expert: NHL giving companies great excuse to cancel season tickets

Oct 9, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

Staples Center suite

If the NHL assumes ticket sales won’t be affected by a season-long lockout, it may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

So says Tony Knopp, CEO and co-founder of Spotlight TMS, a company that helps other companies maximize their investment in sports and entertainment tickets.

Knopp argues that the economic climate is far different today that it was in 2005 when the NHL emerged from its season-long work stoppage.

“This is very different,” Knopp tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Since 2008, I would say that one in every four customers we talk to, somebody internally is telling them that they have to drop their tickets. I know (the NHL and its teams) are saying, ‘This is what happened after the last lockout, this is how much business you can expect.’ My argument is that’s not going to be the case this time.

“These guys are already looking for a way to get out of sports tickets, and now they’re just giving them bullets to shoot themselves with. The reality is, once budget gets cut, you don’t just add budget overnight. You have to justify why doing business with the St. Louis Blues is better than not laying off these three people. That’s an awful difficult fight to have post-2008.”

Of course, 2008 was the year the global recession started. Today, the economy is still a major concern, and if companies see an opportunity to cut an expense, they’re going to seize it.

Corporate season-ticket holders comprise a significant chunk of any team’s ticket base. They also tend towards the premium seats and luxury suites.

Image via Private Suite Network

  1. phillyphanatic76 - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Good I hope the NHL loses a ton of business so they learn they can’t keep strong arming people into giving them what they want. Bettman needs a wakeup call.

    • somekat - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Great idea, then we’ll see how much the union likes it when multiple teams have to fold

      • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:34 PM

        Id be fine with a few teams folding as it’s obvious that Bettman has overextended the league. The whole sun belt experiment is one of the main reasons why there are so many teams in the red. I know there are loyal fans in Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville, and Carolina but unless there’s some sort of revenue sharing or soft cap those teams will never be as stable as their northern counterparts. Plus having so many teams waters down the league. I’m not saying I want the league to collapse but there has to be some repercussions so Bettman knows that every time he wants something he can’t just shut down the league. Because I know there aren’t gonna be enough fans staying away after the lockout to make the owners pay for their greed.

  2. t16rich - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    If you have a local NLL team, get out and buy season tickets to that. If you like hockey, I don’t see how you won’t like box lacrosse. You’ll see goals, hits and fights. Not to mention these guys are top notch athletes who don’t care about money from a sport. They play for the love of their game. And the owners sacrifice a lot of their pocket to make it happen. Great game that needs more recognition, especially with this lockout. Go buy season tickets for the same price that you would get 2 tickets to a single NHL game.

    • williplett - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      Since 2008, five out of the nine NLL franchises have been owned by a person or group that also owned an NHL team.

      • t16rich - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        I did not know that. I knew Calgary owns their team, but was unaware of any others. Can you tell me which other ones are owned by an NHL team?

      • t16rich - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        Never mind, I found the info. Colorado, Calgary and Buffalo are currently owned by NHL teams. Thanks for that info. Still love that game and continue to hope its fan base grows at the pro level.

    • JB (the original) - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      I’m in Minnesota, so I’ve got ample collegiate hockey to watch. No fighting, and players aren’t obviously “pacing” themselves to get through a long season.

  3. redwingsfan999 - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    It’s simple, get to of Bettman

  4. redwingsfan999 - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    (Rid) of Bettman

  5. ducksk - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    None of it matters to any of them. The owners have the $, the players want more of it. No threats, or removing Bettman or Fehr will and replacing them will change that. It is a now a war of will and egos by all involved. Screw them all. Greedy bastards, all of them.

  6. hockeyflow33 - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    It will be nice to get actual hockey fans back in the building then

  7. beachrover - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I think they’re both in for a rude awakening. We’ve had our suite since 1999. Our last renewal expired August 31st and we still have not renewed. I’ve spoken with several other suite holders and they have not renewed either. Last check, they still have half of the suites available. This has been a great (but very expensive) entertainment event for our customers. Not sure what we’re going to do but the author is right, pretty soon we’re going to commit those entertainment dollars somewhere.

  8. greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 10, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Lack of big corporate dollars buying all those fancy suits not only effects the owners bottom line, but also players. That money is counted as revenue, which effects the salary cap. When that money is gone, when the lockout ends in a 50/50 split, the players lose half of the suit money lost.

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