ENTERTAINMENT

One Stanley Cup record the fans are going to break: cash in the till

TRENT FRAYNE April 21 1962
ENTERTAINMENT

One Stanley Cup record the fans are going to break: cash in the till

TRENT FRAYNE April 21 1962

One Stanley Cup record the fans are going to break: cash in the till

For the four top teams in the National Hockey League, this is the year when playoff spells payoff. Everywhere they’ve turned in the last two weeks— in Montreal, Toronto, New York and Chicago—the owners have seen sellouts and heard the swish of folding money as it cascaded into cash boxes. Whatever team sips the champagne from the Stanley Cup. the owners will be able to pick up the tab.

This is a record year because all the playoff clubs, giving a variety of reasons, raised their prices. In Chicago, owner Jim Norris was heard to say that it was time hockey operated like a bigtime sport at the box office, as baseball does with the World Series. To Norris,

the big-time attitude meant a fifty percent increase in seat prices throughout the huge Stadium. The feeling in New York was that hockey at Madison Square Garden ought to have the class of the Broadway theatre. The extra cost of class was a dollar apiece for nearly 10,000 downstairs seats, up to a $6 top, and fifty cents a seat for 6.000 galleryites.

In Toronto, where the increase was a dollar a seat throughout Maple Leaf Gardens, vice-president Harold E. Ballard felt compelled to hold a press conference and explain that the boost was dictated in part by an increase in the players’ share of the gate. The players of the four clubs will get a total in-

crease of $36,000, and the owmers will be able to manage this without undue strain.

An average increase of a dollar a seat, for an average of 15,000 seats in each of the four rinks, works out, obviously, to $15,000 a game. Since there must be a minimum of 12 playoff games, and a possible maximum of 2 I games if the semifinal and final series all went the full seven games, the owners could count on an increased boxoffice income of between $180,000 and $315.000.

Gross figures? Well, on an average of $3 per ticket, which seems conservative in view of the $5.50 to $7.50 top prices in the four arenas, the clubs will

bank at least $540,000 for the minimum of 12 games, or $945,000 for the maximum of 21. From this pile, the players’ take is $189.000, distributed in this fashion: The four teams in the playoffs first collected $54,000, with the leagueleading Canadiens taking the biggest share. They got $27,000, or $1.500 per man on an 18-man roster. Then, in the semifinals, each winning-team player earned $1,500 and each losing-team player $750.

In the Stanley Cup final, there’s a difference of $1,000 per player between winning and losing. The winners get $2.000 per man and the losers $1.000. The owners keep the rest.

TRENT FRAYNE