Preds paid attendance rebounds, still lags halcyon days

The Nashville Predators are unusual in the National Hockey League in that the terms of the team's lease with Metro require it to submit — and thus make public — their game-by-game ticket sales, comped ticket and ticket revenue numbers.

The final tally for the 2013-14 is in and, despite a disappointing on-ice year, those figures rebounded from the lockout-shortened season and moved back toward the heady days of the halcyon seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

The Predators averaged 15,558 tickets sold for the 41 regular-season home games at Bridgestone Arena (two pre-season games were not included in these calculations) and the team gave away another 1,031 tickets per game. Only twice did the team sell fewer than 14,000 tickets and 12 times the team cracked 16,000 sold tickets.

In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, paid attendance was 15,126 for 24 home games, but the team gave away 1,901 tickets per game.

For the last full NHL season — 2011-12, when the Predators made it to the second round of the playoffs and were touted as a potential Stanley Cup contender — the team averaged 16,103 sold tickets and 646 comped per game. In 2010-11 — the year of the team's first playoff series win — the team average 15,525 paid and 650 comp. Dirk Hoag has the figures dating back to 2008-09 here and here.

The number of giveaway tickets continues to be higher than in pre-lockout years, though Predators officials point out the organization has numerous obligations related to free tickets — commitments to charities, schools, sponsors and the like — and many of those went unfulfilled with the lockout-shortened schedule and thus had to be given away this season, particularly early in the year. An examination of the figures bears that out, as the three most comped games — against Edmonton on Thanksgiving (2,409 comped), Montreal on December 21 (2,125) and San Jose December 14 (2,064) — were before Christmas and only twice after the Olympic break did the team give away more than 1,000 tickets.

Revenue-wise, the Predators generated $29.3 million at the box office (after discounting taxes and the seat-user fee), an average of $715,167 per game. The team cracked $1 million on two occasions, both against Chicago (once in November and again in the season's final game).

Per ticket sold, the post-tax and fee revenue averaged $45.97. According to Hoag, that's down from $48.63 last season, but is ahead of previous years ($40.42 in 11-12, $37.73 in 10-11, $37.70 in 09-10 and $42.53 in 08-09).

That $29.3 million ticket revenue covers roughly half of the Predators' salary obligations. According to CapGeek, the Predators salaries totalled $58.74 million at the end of the season.

Predators president Sean Henry says season-ticket renewals are pacing with last spring and summer and the team expects to hit its usual "93 to 94 percent" mark.