Less than a year and a half since their inaugural puck drop, the Seattle Kraken have become a model franchise on and off the ice. While their on-ice performance is easy to see, 18 wins and 39 points in 31 games so far this season, what they have done from a business perspective is far more impressive. According to Forbes magazine, Seattle is ranked 10th in the NHL with a $1.05 billion evaluation. That is higher than the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins. They have also passed the second newest expansion franchise in the Vegas Golden Knights, who have an estimated franchise evaluation of $965 million. How have the Kraken become one of the best well-run organizations in hockey? Well, here are four reasons why.
Investment By Ownership
The major reason for Seattle’s early business success is its ownership group. The trio of David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tod Leiweke have invested over $1 billion on top of the $650 million expansion fee to ensure this franchise is a shining example in the NHL. Whether it was renovating Key Arena and turning it into Climate Pledge Arena or building a practice rink that fans can also take advantage of located less than 10 miles away, they have hit on almost every project they have implemented since being awarded the franchise back in 2018.
Outside of building facilities, the Seattle organization has made a conscious effort to get involved with the community. Whether through charitable donations to local organizations or their efforts to help those who need financial assistance to play hockey, the Kraken are doing everything they can to help those in need. These initiatives have helped create a bond with the city of Seattle, translating to plenty of excitement in the Emerald City.
Passionate Fan Base
Seattle and its neighbouring communities have always been known as a passionate sports city. From the 12th man at Seattle Seahawks games to the Seattle Storm being the only team in the WNBA to average over 10,000 in attendance per game, it is easy to see the city is filled with passionate fans. The Kraken are no different, as they have an average attendance above 100% capacity at games this season.
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Fans in the Seattle area have always cared about hockey. The Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL) are proof, as they are consistently in the top 10 for attendance going back to before the Kraken were even announced as an expansion team. Even now, with an NHL team, they are still drawing strong crowds and rank third and sixth across the WHL. These fans love hockey which is a major reason why the Kraken have had some much success early on.
Little Competition In the Market
The Kraken playing from September to April is arguably the biggest advantage, as they do not have consistent competition in the market. The only team they have to compete with the majority of the season is the Seahawks, but with the NFL only playing once a week, it is easy for fans to enjoy both and rarely have to choose which team to watch. The Kraken have also made it easier for fans as they try to schedule home games at different times so that the paying customer could attend both events on the same day if they desire.
With no NBA team and leagues like the MLB, MLS and WNBA running in opposite months, the Kraken are able to fill a professional sports void for the city. Just look at a team like the Los Angeles Kings. They need to compete with not just the Los Angeles Lakers, but also the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite having the fourth most points in the Western Conference this season, they are only averaging 90% capacity. While fans in Seattle may be clamouring for an NBA team, the absence of one is helping the Kraken build a strong franchise right now.
Game Day Experience
Arguably the most important factor in a team’s success is the fans’ game-day experience. Outside of on-ice performance, this could be anything from food selection to in-game contests run during the commercial or intermission breaks. They even had one of the greatest composers of this generation, Hans Zimmer, create original music for their pregame introductions. This is an area the Kraken have sunk a lot of time and money into, and it is paying off as they have created one of the best game day experiences across the league.
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From bringing in local artists to design special warm-up jerseys, a pregame show that rivals the best in the NHL, to bobblehead giveaways that are going for upwards of $70 on the secondary market, the Kraken have created an experience that people do not want to miss out on. Fans will even pay outrageous food prices and buy merchandise because they want to be fully immersed in the atmosphere Seattle has created. Speaking from personal experience, it is an event every hockey fan should try to attend as it really is something to behold.
Easy To See Why The Seattle Kraken Are So Successful
These are just four of the reasons why the Seattle Kraken have become so successful despite their short existence. From a one-of-a-kind arena that is breathtaking to how the organization conducts itself on and off the ice, they have developed into a model franchise. With a trip to the playoffs expected this year, their franchise value should continue to climb, and they should continue to climb the list over the next few seasons.