What Is A Playoff Series Worth To The Oklahoma City Barons?

Photo by C. Tyson Photography in Rockford, All rights reserved.

One of the more interesting topics of conversation here over the last two weeks has been the state of the Oklahoma City Barons. As the Oilers continue to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous injury fortune, the Barons (who've been relatively healthy all season long) have been decimated by call-ups. They've lost top-scoring wingers Liam Reddox and Linus Omark to the Oilers for the season. They've lost their best defender, Jeff Petry, to the Oilers for extended periods. Now, as the Barons try to kick down the homestretch, the Oilers have also nabbed heart-and-soul winger Teemu Hartikainen, center Chris Vande Velde, leading scorer Alexandre Giroux, and defensive center Ryan O`Marra. That they're still in the race is a testament to Colin McDonald, Brad Moran, Ben Ondrus, and Martin Gerber.

The call-ups have led to inspired debate amongst the commenters here -- is it better for the organization as a whole to have those players in Oklahoma City ensuring a playoff spot and a successful first season in the AHL or is it better for those players to experience the NHL, even on a lost cause like the Oilers, because they need to see what awaits them in the coming years?

Personal development aside, I wanted to find out what a playoff appearance would mean to the Barons and Prodigal Hockey. After the jump, I wade into the finances of the deal.

To determine how much each home playoff game would be worth to Prodigal Hockey and the Barons, I'm using an average ticket price of $20. This number is an educated guess taken from a statement made prior to the season by Bob Flannery, Director of Ticket Sales for the Barons. When asked about pricing, Flannery said tickets "...would average around $25 a piece, but be as low as $10." Based on the number of ticket and package discounts offered by the Barons as well as early evening walk-up deals for $10, I've priced in a significant discount to arrive at $20 per ticket. Below is the regular season attendance for the Barons to this point:

 

Day Month Date Attendance Est. Revenue
Saturday October 9 9818  $     196,360
Sunday October 10 2817  $       56,340
Friday October 15 3349  $       66,980
Saturday October 16 3259  $       65,180
Tuesday October 19 2784  $       55,680
Friday October 22 3986  $       79,720
Friday November 5 5490  $     109,800
Saturday November 6 3364  $       67,280
Sunday November 7 2781  $       55,620
Tuesday November 9 2740  $       54,800
Friday November 12 3601  $       72,020
Friday November 19 4481  $       89,620
Sunday November 21 3208  $       64,160
Tuesday November 23 3045  $       60,900
Tuesday December 7 2830  $       56,600
Friday December 10 5102  $     102,040
Friday December 17 4858  $       97,160
Saturday December 18 4048  $       80,960
Tuesday December 28 4470  $       89,400
Saturday January 1 3229  $       64,580
Sunday January 2 3210  $       64,200
Friday January 7 4789  $       95,780
Saturday January 8 4058  $       81,160
Sunday January 9 3171  $       63,420
Wednesday January 26 3564  $       71,280
Friday January 28 5321  $     106,420
Saturday January 29 6174  $     123,480
Thursday February 3 2647  $       52,940
Friday February 4 4374  $       87,480
Wednesday February 9 2005  $       40,100
Wednesday February 23 3128  $       62,560
Friday February 25 4758  $       95,160
Saturday February 26 5367  $     107,340
Friday March 4 4135  $       82,700
Saturday March 5 4669  $       93,380
Tuesday March 8 3110  $       62,200
Friday March 11 3836  $       76,720
Saturday March 12 4970  $       99,400
Friday April 1 ?
?
Saturday April 2 ?
?





Total 38 games
        152,546  $  3,050,920

 

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Barons have averaged 4,014 fans per game. If the $20 ticket figure is close to accurate, the Barons have generated a bit over $3 million in gate revenue.

The Barons may be able to charge more for a playoff series, but at this point, I believe $20 is again a fair baseline. Assuming the Barons could reach their season opening total of 9,800, each playoff game would mean an additional ~$200,000 in gate revenue and a playoff appearance would guarantee Prodigal Hockey an additional ~$400,000 in gate revenue

Perhaps most importantly for Prodigal and the Barons would be the opportunity to prove Oklahoma City is capable of selling out an AHL building. It has been rumored that part of the Oilers' agreement with Prodigal includes Edmonton's ability to exercise an out clause should the Barons attendance fall below 5,000 fans per game for a season. The Oilers aren't going to exercise such a clause after one year, but both sides would have much more confidence in the market after seeing 20,000 fans pass through the Cox Center turnstiles for a couple of playoff games.

All credit for the compiled attendance data goes to AvsOkie at OKCHockey.com.

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