Gary Bettman Heads To Winnipeg To See If He Can Help Sell Tickets

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The Jets business is suffering financially.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman is going on a fact-finding mission to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bettman wants to know why the Winnipeg Jets franchise is a failing franchise financially. What Bettman will find is that Winnipeg, like many areas in Canada, is a hardcore hockey community with devoted customers located in a small market with limited corporate support who cannot afford to pay big prices for constantly going to games. Bettman is going to Winnipeg to find out why people are not buying season tickets at the rate they did when the NHL moved the Atlanta franchise to the Manitoba capital in 2011. The Jets business used to sell about 13,000-season tickets per season, that number is around 9,500 for the 2023-24 season and the Jets business owner Mark Chipman is sounding the alarm. The business cannot go on financially selling just 9,500 season tickets.  “We’ve got to get back to 13,000,” Chipman told The Athletic. “This place we find ourselves in right now, it’s not going to work over the long haul.”

Chipman is not selling his business yet but there are people in Salt Lake City, Houston and Alpharetta, Georgia who want to get into the hockey business and probably would offer Chipman at least a billion dollars US or about $1.35 billion Canadian for the team. In a sense it’s déjà vu all over again for Bettman who had to deal with a Winnipeg problem at the beginning of his tenure in 1993. That Jets franchise was slated to move to Minneapolis but the deal fell through. The franchise ended up in Arizona in 1996 because of financial reasons and ownership could not get a new arena, with better revenue streams, built. The Canadian dollar was around 65 cents US. Today it is 74 cents US and that is a big problem in Winnipeg.

Jets ownership needs more customers in the seats.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com