This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Power Play: Fans Return to NHL in Record Numbers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Most companies don't like to see their names abused in public.

And yet Monday night's thrilling finale to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs saw some of the best hockey players in the world jostle, push, and slam each other into dasher board advertisements for brands such as Honda (HMC - Get Report), McDonald's (MCD - Get Report), Coca-Cola (KO - Get Report) and Verizon (VZ - Get Report).

Players even smashed into dasher ads for Tim Hortons (THI - Get Report), the coffee and donut joint that's not well known in the U.S. but is considered a national treasure in Canada. The logo of its cross-border rival, Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN - Get Report), was only a few feet away, ready for the next pummeling.

Why would sponsors pay good money for such apparent mistreatment?

Because sponsors go where the fans are. And after a lockout that cut the regular season almost in half, record numbers of National Hockey League fans made a beeline to hockey arenas and high-definition television sets across North America.

In other words, the NHL is on a breakaway with plenty of scoring opportunities over the next several years.

According to SportsBusiness Daily, the the average number of fans per regular-season NHL game was 17,768 in 2013, up roughly 2% from the previous season and besting the previous high of 17,460 set in 2008-2009. Across the league, 17 of 30 teams averaged 100% capacity or higher (possible by selling standing-room-only tickets) and only five clubs experienced a drop in attendance.

Not only did hockey fans shrug off any hard feelings from missing nearly four months of their favorite sport, but they also proved willing to absorb yet another steep rise in average ticket prices.

ESPN reports that non-premium NHL tickets rose 5.7% to $61.01 on top of a 4.8% increase a year ago. That's two years in a row that the NHL instituted the largest percentage increase in ticket prices among the Big Four professional sports leagues. The only solace for NHL devotees might be that an NFL game still costs more, at an average price of $78.38 in 2012.

Television audiences for NHL games were also way up this season. Compared with 2011-2012, viewership on Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report)-owned NBC and NBC Sports Network rose by 15% and 18% respectively, the latter marking the NHL's highest tally for a national cable audience in 19 years.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
THI $36.85 -0.53%
CMCSA $55.94 0.00%
DNKN $47.50 0.00%
HMC $33.46 0.00%
KO $40.08 0.00%


DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs