Attendance and revenue: Top 20 North Eastern European teams
Revenue from ticket sales is not the primary source of income of sports organizations. Especially when it is compared to sponsorship deals, TV broadcasting rights, merchandising, and donations from local city or regional government. However, home-game attendance is a key factor that affects a club’s business strategy.
A Basketball club is first and foremost an entertainment brand in sports. Live games are the core entertainment product offered to its audience.
Attendance has a direct effect on other income sources:
- Sponsors want exposure and will be more willing to support a club with strong fan following.
- City governments tend to sponsor teams which are valuable to local communities.
- Live game attendance also directly affects in-arena spending and merchandise sales.
Ticketing and attendance overview
Here is a snapshot of how 20 North Eastern European teams are doing so far this 2013/14 season, as ticket sales revenue and attendance are concerned:
Total Ticketing Revenue
|3||Stelmet Zeliona Gora|
|4||Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius|
|7||Khimki Moscow Distr.|
|8||Kalev Cramo Tallinn|
|12||Krasnyi Oktyabr Volgograd|
|13||Spartak St. Petersburg|
|20||PGE Turow Zgorzelec|
|1||Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius|
|8||Stelmet Zeliona Gora|
|10||Kalev Cramo Tallinn|
|11||Krasnyi Oktyabr Volgograd|
|15||Khimki Moscow Distr.|
|19||Spartak St. Petersburg|
|20||PGE Turow Zgorzelec|
* The research includes gate receipts from VTB United League, Euroleague, ULEB Cup, FIBA Challenge Cup, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian domestic basketball championships. The research currently does not include domestic league income for Ukrainian, Polish, Belarusian and Czech teams, as the following leagues do not officially publish attendance numbers.
CSKA and Zalgiris – in a league of their own
CSKA Moscow and Zalgiris Kaunas top the list of the clubs with highest ticket revenue in North Eastern Europe, each earning more than 600,000 EUR from their home games in the first part of the season. Both clubs are clear leaders as they make at least twice as much per game as other clubs in the region.
CSKA Moscow plays their regular seasons games in CSKA Sports Hall (built 1979) which can accommodate up to 5,500 spectators. It is a relatively small arena, but the economy of the region allows for high ticket prices of CSKA home games. Though the team is only 7th according to average attendance, their ticket prices allow CSKA to top the list of 2013 earnings.
Zalgiris is the clear leader based on average attendance. The team plays in a newly built (2011) Zalgiris Arena, which can accommodate up to 15,688 spectators. They have a loyal fan following which produces stable attendance numbers despite subpar performances on the floor. Contrary to many teams on this list, Zalgiris does not play in the VTB League and relies on Euroleague for most of its ticketing income. Kaunas club only plays half of the Lithuanian championship regular season games.
Lokomotiv leads by attendance in Russia
Average attendance for Russian teams was 2,462 spectators. Lokomotiv Kuban has the biggest following, attracting 4,731 fans per match. This makes it one of the most promising brands in Russian basketball. CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan and Krasnyi Oktyabr Volgograd also have healthy local support.
Unfortunately, the numbers look grim for Khimky Moscow District. The club was saved from bankruptcy last season. With a roster on par with Euroleague participants, the club only manages to attract 1,279 spectators per game. In business terms current attendance results are not sustainable. The team needs to adjust their ticket pricing and improve marketing efforts to at least double the attendance of home games.
Bottom ranked teams
ČEZ Nymburk and PGE Turow are the bottom-ranked teams. They each earned less than 30,000 EUR. Both teams have modest local facilities and play more important games outside of their home towns.
Nymburk is a 15,000-resident city, 50 kilometers away from Prague. The team plays half of their games in Sportovni Centrum (2,000) in Nymburk, but has to travel to Tipsport Arena (11,560) in Prague to play ULEB Cup and some VTB League fixtures. The home arena of PGE Turow in Zgorzelec (33,000 residents) holds only up to 1,300 supporters. The lack of proper sports infrastructure and small local communities makes European competition for these teams much harder.
Tsmoki Minsk deserves a special mention as well. The team from Belarus has the 5th largest average attendance, but is only ranked 18th by average revenue per game. Due to lower consumer purchasing power Tsmoki has to attract more than 7,000 spectators to earn 10,000 EUR. For Kalev Tallinn in Estonia, it only takes 1,500 spectators. As teams compete in the same leagues, clubs from better economically developed countries are at a clear advantage.
Story by: Mantas Miksys