Expert: NHL giving companies great excuse to cancel season tickets

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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