Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/01/12 at 03:32 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Gone are the days of ownership mayhem—remember the ill-fated Boots Del Biaggio era? Or the shameful fire sale held by former owner Craig Leipold before he took over as owner of the Minnesota Wild? Or the days when Gnash the mascot chained himself to the television tower perched on top of the team’s home rink in downtown Nashville until the team sold out some home games down the stretch before being chased down by a tornado?—and in their place are days of unprecedented stability in Nashville.
The Predators have sold out 17 games this season and have already sold out the last three Saturday games of the season. The team’s all-time sellout record is 20.
Last season, the Predators saw their revenues increase between 25 and 30 percent, and their television ratings have gone up 50 percent over a year ago and are continuing to grow.
Ever so slowly, the Predators are moving towards that magical moment when the buzz surrounding the team creates a demand for tickets that outstrips actual seats in the house.
“I believe nothing happens [with a franchise] until the building’s filled,” CEO and alternate governor Jeff Cogen told ESPN.com recently. Sponsorship numbers continue to grow as the fan interest has grown. Bridgestone, with almost three years left on their naming deal with the team, extended for another five years with an option after that.
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