Forbes’ Top Moneymaking Arenas
Forbes recently crunched some numbers to come up with their first ranking of North America’s 10 most lucrative sports arenas.
The magazine determined which venues brought in the most revenue per seat by adding up sports-generated revenue from gate receipts, concessions, luxury box sales, naming rights and other sponsorship and advertising deals. Earnings from concerts and other events were not included.
Nine out of the top 10 profitable arenas were indoor basketball/hockey venues that seat 18,000 to 21,000 with at least 89 luxury suites. Forbes’ research found that no Top 10 arena received more than 4 percent of its revenue in the past year from corporate naming rights.
General sponsorship and arena signage averaged closer to 10 percent of total revenue for the 10 arenas. And it’s still all about getting butts in seats as gate receipts, supplemented by concessions sales, brought in about two-thirds of a typical venue’s annual revenue.
The No. 1 lucrative sports arena was Los Angeles’ Staples Center. At 21,000 capacity including 160 luxury suites, the venue raked in a total annual revenue of $216 million and an annual revenue per seat of $10,200. The NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, NHL’s Kings, AFL’s Avengers and WNBA’s Sparks certainly helped with the dollar figures.
Madison Square Garden was No. 2 with a capacity of 19,763 and 89 luxury suites. Without any naming rights the venue still managed to bring in a total annual revenue of $198 million with annual revenue per seat at $9,900. The NBA Knicks, the NHL Rangers, the WNBA Liberty and St. John’s college basketball all call the venue home.
The 19,500-capacity Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, with 154 luxury suites was next with total annual revenue of $179 million and $9,100 annual revenue per seat. Teams include the NBA Raptors and NHL Maple Leafs.
American Airlines Center in Dallas can brag about an annual revenue of $160 million and an annual revenue per seat of $8,800. The venue, home to the NBA Mavericks, NHL Stars and AFL Desperados, has a capacity of 21,000 and 144 luxury suites.
In fifth place is Chicago’s 21,711-capacity United Center, which has, according to the article, the exact same revenue annually and per-seat as American Airlines. The venue, home to the NBA Bulls and NHL Blackhawks, has 144 luxury suites.
The 18,624-capacity TD Banknorth Garden in Boston has a total annual revenue of $119 million and annual revenue per seat at $6,400. With 104 luxury suites, the arena is home to the NBA Celtics and NHL Bruins.
No. 7 was the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, home to the NBA 76ers, the NHL Flyers and AFL Soul. The 20,444-capacity venue with 126 suites has a total annual revenue of $119 million and annual revenue per seat of $5,800.
Pepsi Center in Denver brings in a total annual revenue of $111 million and $5,700 annual revenue per seat. Teams at the 19,309-capacity venue with 95 luxury suites include the NBA’s Nuggets, NHL’s Avalanche and AFL’s Crush.
Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center, home to the NBA’s Wizards, NHL Capitals, WNBA Mystics and college basketball team Georgetown, brought in an annual revenue of $119 million and annual revenue per seat of $5,500. The venue has a capacity of 21,500 with 108 luxury suites.
Rounding out the last spot on the Top 10 list is Boston’s 39,928-capacity Fenway Park, home to baseball’s Red Sox. Another venue without any naming rights, the ballpark has a total annual revenue of $208 million and annual revenue per seat of $5,200, including 40 luxury suites.