Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/06/09 at 07:08 PM ET
from Mark Sunnucks of Phoenix Business Journal,
Some sports business experts and Coyotes fans believe Phoenix is less of an NHL market and more of a minor-league hockey market in terms of fans’ demand for tickets and interest in the sport.
The American Hockey League is hockey’s equivalent to AAA baseball. AHL teams serves as feeders to NHL parents. The league has teams in some larger cities such as Houston, Toronto and Milwaukee, and in some smaller markets including Syracuse, N.Y., Hershey, Pa., and Austin.
AHL ticket prices are lower than the NHL’s. Coyotes tickets run from $15 to $100. Lower-level seats with extra perks, including club and suite benefits, run $180 to $330.
By comparison, tickets for the San Antonio Rampage (the Coyotes’ AHL feeder) range from $10 to $40. The AHL’s Houston Aeros price their tickets between $13 and $70, and the Texas Stars charge $9 to $65.
Rich Ettenson, a business professor and sports marketing expert at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, said AHL teams do not have the cost pressures of player salaries that hit NHL team’s bottom lines.
“They don’t need to fill a stadium of 15,000 or so to make it a go,” said Ettenson, adding there can be enough loyal hockey fans to support a AAA team.
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