A flattering report on the Prince Albert Raiders’ economic and social impact on the city is serving as another tool to garner business support.
The report, prepared by University of Saskatchewan master of business administration students, describes the Raiders’ $6.27 million annual impact on the local economy.
“It’s good for the businesses and the community to know exactly what the franchise means to the City of Prince Albert,” the WHL team’s business manager Bruce Vance said, adding that the $6.27 million figure is on par with expectations.
This figure factors in ticket sales, spectator spending, corporate spending, competing team’s spending and spending from the Raiders organization. It combines the Raiders’ financial information with the results of 245 spectator surveys taken during three home games in March.
“Economically, it’s a figure that you can see as $6.27 million, but socially, you really can’t put a number on it, and that’s another huge impact,” Vance noted.
During the 2011/2012 season, Raiders players made 63 community appearances and volunteered a total of 1,278 hours.
“They do things like reading programs, hospital visits, drug awareness, etc,” Prince Albert Raiders’ governor to the WHL Bob MacDonald said. “Our team’s really active in the community and we’re proud of that.”
There’s another element to the Raiders that you can’t put a number on, Mayor Jim Scarrow said — community pride.
“The Raiders really are Prince Albert’s team — the No. 1 attraction and our claim to fame, second only to John Diefenbaker,” Scarrow said.
“Prince Albert is widely known as a hockey community and it’s reflected in the calibre of the Prince Albert Hockey Club and organization.
“It’s a phenomenal organization … a quality, first class living breathing active member of our community, focused on young men who play the game and play by the rules of the game and enrich the lives of many and are inspirational to our youth.”
Season ticket sales
It’s hoped that these findings within the report, outlining numerous positive impacts on the city, spur greater business support for the Raiders organization, which is set to see its 2012/13 season begin next month.
“We just need another tool to take to businesses that are maybe on the fence on supporting the hockey club,” Vance said, noting that business support is quite important to the franchise.
Season ticket sales have always been a key area of support from the business community, he said.
“It’s nice for mom and pop stores to have season tickets to give out, and we really want to top up our numbers in the next month or so.”
So far, Vance reports about 1,300 season tickets have been sold, which is 400 shy of their goal.
“We want to be at 1,700 season tickets by a month from today and we’re confident with the team we’ve got — the marketing team, the sales team — that we’ve got a good chance to get to the 1,700 by the time the season opens,” Vance said.
Helping the Raiders along the way will be retired business owner and local hockey steward Ab Pellegrini.
“I have always recognized that corporate sponsorship of sports … is really important to the business community,” he said, while expressing an interest in helping the Raiders in whatever capacity he’s needed.
It’s a phenomenal organization … a quality, first class living breathing active member of our community, focused on young men who play the game and play by the rules of the game and enrich the lives of many and are inspirational to our youth. - Mayor Jim Scarrow
By his count, there are 1,535 registered businesses in Prince Albert, of which 195 support the Raiders, representing 13 per cent.
“I know we can do a hell of a lot better than that,” Pellegrini said, adding that he’d like to see the percentage of businesses supporting the Raiders with season ticket purchases increase dramatically.
“I’m prepared to offer my services to the Raiders to help organize a group — maybe senior people — to maybe make some contacts … to see if we can reach that number,” the 50-year resident of Prince Albert said.
“For all the years I’ve been here, Raiders hockey has been great entertainment, and I know with the group they have running it right now they’re reigning in the future, and we need to get off our butts and get the community behind it 100 per cent.”
New Raiders arena
There has been talk in recent years of a new arena for the Prince Albert Raiders, to replace the Comuniplex that was built in 1971 and renamed the Art Hauser Centre after facility renovations in 2005.
Its capacity is currently 3,228, including 2,570 seats and space for 658 people standing.
“Certainly, we should be looking at what we can do with the existing building to expand it to the appropriate number — somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 seats … and how we can fund it,” Scarrow said.
With a number of facilities set to be paid off in the next few years, including the Alfred Jenkins Field House, Scarrow said that the city can start building a reserve to look at the “next big thing for Prince Albert.”
“There are many people thinking that it should be a new rink facility,” Scarrow noted.
“There are always many needs within the City of Prince Albert, but this seems to be one that is resonating well within the community … That’ll be up to the council of the day.”
In all, Scarrow said that he commends the organization and its “exceptionally strong board.”
Although a new arena may be on the horizon, Scarrow encourages residents and the local business community to support the team now.
“Season ticket sales are underway right now. The season’s a month away, so let’s support the team now so financially we are able to plan for the future.”
The Prince Albert Raiders’ numbers
$6.27 million — Annual impact on Prince Albert’s economy
$119,714 — Art Hauser concession profits in 2011/12
1,278 — Number of hours Raiders players volunteered in 2011/12
$1.1 million — 2011/12 Raiders operational spending
3,228 — Art Hauser Centre capacity
1971 — Comuniplex opens
2005 — Comuniplex renovated and renamed the Art Hauser Centre
1985 — The Raiders win the Memorial Cup
$100,500 — Amount (un-audited) spent toward player scholarships in 2011/12