The Oilers are among the NHL’s ballers with ticket revenue

Vegas Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley, sat down with Forbes magazine to talk about his new team, the hockey landscape in Vegas and what it’s like to start a brand new team. What does that have to do with the Oilers? Foley talked about how they’re one of the top earning teams in the league in terms of ticket revenue.

Before I get started, I think it’s pretty obvious that the Oilers make stacks of cash from ticket sales—that’s not news. Frankly, I assume there is nothing but solid gold toilets at the Chateau Katz, and I’d even bet they can do cool tricks like spraying your butt with warm air and perfume. As an aside, I was once in Japan for a hot minute and one of the best things I’ve ever experienced was having my butt dried gently with the warm kisses of an air-blowing robot toilet—it’s a luxury the whole world deserves to try at least once.


Back in the Forbes interview, Bill Foley explained how the response for season tickets has been huge in Vegas and that there is a culture of hockey fans that are already living there or are likely to visit. According to the league’s 31st owner, Vegas was a great spot for an NHL team to land according to his models and the sales seem to back that up. Without even playing a single game, the Vegas Golden Knights are in the top seven or eight spots in terms of ticket revenue.

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“We are number five, six or seven in terms of ticket revenue in the league. That’s how good Las Vegas has been to us,” says Foley as we sit on a veranda at his Chalk Hill winery in Sonoma County. “Edmonton has more revenue in their brand-new arena. The Rangers, Toronto, Chicago Black Hawks, they’re all ahead of us. Montreal is right with us. We have more revenue than the Flyers, Penguins, the Boston Bruins. Most of our tickets are multi-year. The lower bowl is three to ten years.”

If I’m understanding this quote correctly, and I will readily admit I’m the furthest thing from a mathematician, economist or even a stats guy, the Edmonton Oilers could rank in the top four in terms of ticket revenue. That’s a hell of a stat for a team that spent the last decade in the league’s basement. Yes, I know we have the new arena, and yeah I know that people love to take shots about the public funding and how lucky we are to have Connor McDavid, but I would question how many fan bases would continue to avidly support their team (with ticket price increases!) after 10 years of crawling through a turd pipe Andy Dufresne style.

Edmonton Oilers select Maxim Beryozkin with the 138th overall pick

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  • tileguy

    This article makes me so proud of being an Edmontonian, just thinking how my tax dollars have helped the rich makes me tingle all over. The price of those tickets, wow!

    • Gravis82

      ummmm…..if you make ~50,000 dollars a year, you are in the top 1%, globally. If you are reading this on a computer/mobile phone you own, probably have no reason to complain about hockey ticket prices.

      • Jay (not J)

        So I’m in the top 1% of global wage earners and I STILL cant justify the outlay to take in a game with my family and you say that’s nothing to complain about?

        • Gravis82

          you are paying millionaires to skate around in a 1/2 billion dollar area, what do you expect. If its too much to go to the game with your family…do other things. Go to an oilers game is a choice, not a right.

          • Gravis82

            actually, to 4balls, I have only been to 1 game in 20 years because I cant afford it. I also just canceled my cable bill because I have other priorities that are more important than spending ~800 dollars a year to watch hockey. I will be listening on the radio next year. But I work hard and do my best. To those who have worked smarter and made better decisions in their life, to those who come from a line of mothers and fathers who also made better decisions in the past for their children, good for them. Maybe one day, that will be my family. In the interm, wasting energy complaining that some people have more, or can afford more, is a waste of energy, and very inconsiderate to the majority of those in the world who have less than you. The area debate always brings this out. People hate millionaires even though we would all love to be one. I for one am glad that the people of this city can support the team and the building, even though I could never in my wildest dreams afford season tickets. Go Oilers.

      • Cujo

        You realise there are 96 phones in use for every 100 people on the planet. Taking in account some have duplicate numbers it is estimated 85% of people have a mobile. So having a mobile doesn’t make you part of the 1%. It makes you part of the 85%.

      • Florescent Oil Orange

        You may want to double check that 50k number. I get a lot of third world countries have large populations. But 50k is barley middle class in North America. When speaking of the 1% I don’t think a 3yr apprentice trades person qualifies as the 1%

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      Not sure if your aware the new arena hosts more than just hockey shocker I know. This arena is paying for it self with hockey and all the other entertainment acts that are coming to the city. You think Garth brooks plays 9 back to back sold out shows in Edmonton if Calgary has a new arena that can support the stage shows hell no he does. Not to mention I wonder how many people traveled to Edmonton from around the province to take in those shows. Some people probably got a hotel room some probably ate out at a restaurant before the shows some probably did both. That’s a lot of money going to places other than DKs pocket But focus only on the fact that tax payer money went into something that’s gonna benefit this city for decades. Also I wonder how much tax revenue the city will earn with all those luxury condos going in downtown and property values increasing in the downtown sound like a good trickle down effect to me.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    It is sickening to see the ticket prices they charge after being handed tax money to build the arena. The average guy has to mortgage his future to take the family to a live Oiler game. Katz is nothing but a greedy #@%^$^$.

    • Randaman

      So watch it on TV in your cardboard box. Quit whining. That new arena is doing things for the downtown that nobody else was willing to do or invest in.

      • Rusty Patenaude

        That arena is not my complaint. My complaint is Katz milking the very same people who paid for a good portion of the building by charging some of the highest ticket prices in the league. He is a greedy ^#^#^%$#. I used to have mini-pack tickets but I can’t justify spending the money now so I go to a game or two. I love the Oilers and support them as much as I can but it ticks me off that he cranks prices up as much as he does.

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      Why are you blaming Katz he’s only bring a good business man. Maybe put some blame on the fans that kept paying increasing ticket prices during the DOD. Pretty sure prices would be cheaper if rexall was at half capacity during the DOD. It’s not DK fault that fans continued paying top dollar to watch the team finish in the bottom of league for a better part of a decade.

  • Spydyr

    Props for the Shawshank reference.I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season now that Jordan “We all float down here” Eberle has been moved along.

  • Randy

    They should lower ticket price to break even then oilers wouldn’t have to pay into fund to support u.s. teams that don’t make money and give paycheques to sissies that wouldn’t play in Canada becouse they can’t take the pressures of playing in places their recognized away from rink

  • oldTymeOilerfan

    I live in the East (i.e. ON) but I follow the Oil 365 days/yr. The local “fan power” in Edmonton (and vicariously around the league when the McD-era Oilers play on the road) strikes me as definitely top-4, even top-1 draw in the NHL. So, how does that potentially help make a better team? Well, I’d suggest relentless pressure from the fan base aimed at bringing in some “win now” talent. For conversation’s sake, maybe push Chia and mgmt to swing a big trade such as RNH for PK [from Pitt]? Drai could go back to 2nd line center (on most teams he’d be 1st line center) and the Oil would have a legit proven scoring RW for the first time in the McD era… just a thought 🙂

    • Redbird62

      Kessel scored a whopping 4 more goals than Eberle over the last 2 regular seasons (49 vs 45), with Malkin as his most frequent center. He was unable to get any chemistry with Crosby so no guarantee he lights it up with McDavid. He also comes with an $8 Million cap hit for the next 5 years from ages 30 to 35. He had two really good to great playoff runs, but at that salary, he is not what Edmonton needs going forward. I’d keep RNH at least for next year, but still play Drai at 2nd line center to see if he can truly excel at it for an extended period and play RNH on the wing.

    • JimmyV1965

      I think the opposite is actually true. There is zero pressure on mngt to ice a competitive team. Oiler fans have clearly demonstrated that they will pay for any garbage they put on the ice. The building should have been empty after five years of futility, let alone 10.

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      Equalization payments stopped as a result of the salary cap during the lockout in in 04/05. Your talking about revenue sharing two totally different things. Equalization payments were for only the Canadian teams. The teams had to sell X amount of season tickets back than I believe it was 13000 seats. Than the league would make up the difference on the exchange rate of Canadian dollars to American. It was replaced with revenue sharing during the lockout. Revenue sharing as I’m sure you know is the big money teams have to give some profit to the smaller money teams.

  • Oil_Thick

    I’ve been over seas 10 years, the last game I was at was triple overtime in the ’06 run. I’d Andy Dufresne a turd pipe all the way home to pay double for a pre-season game just to watch McD play! Being a legit playoff team will drive prices up even faster. And I’d pay if I was there.

  • Spoils

    let’s use some of that money to sign an additional forward to a simple one year term… a little competition for Puljujarvi and co. a little support for the lost Eberle points. deploy some of that money McDavid graciously left on the table to help him win.

  • madjam

    Prices go up because market here pays for that type of entertainment value , venues , etc.. If sellouts were not so prevalent then prices might fall or level out . As long as demand is more than building can accommodate prices will continue to rise to maximize that market . Supply and demand . At least TV most can afford to still enjoy NHL hockey , and many other items/products for sale . Without our tier one fans we might not have any of this , or an NHL hockey team playing here .

  • Makaveli

    The best thing about money is you can always make more. Don’t sweat the ticket prices. Lifes to short to not enjoy it from time to time and you can’t die with your money.

  • OilCan2

    OK now I want those turbo butt kissing fluff dry toilets installed at Roger’s. Do they come with Geisha attendants or are you on your own with your stuff floating in the breeze?

    Pay the price if you want to watch the Oilers live. I played 71 games last season. ALL my icetime was less than a pair in the Club section.

  • Roberto

    And so it be written, acting on the advice of King Jong Lowe the 6th rings, Master Katz built a wondrous coliseum, with the gold coins of the peasants, as he held the taxman ransom using his leverage as the owner of the city’s greatest gladiators. He increased the prices of wine, and the tier one peasants reluctantly drank, as Master Katz lined his pockets with more gold coins. The tier 1 peasants were pleased with the product, and attended the coliseum with joy, for they had not seen such entertainment for at least a decade of dark times, since the last great gladiator Pronger defied King Jung Lowe the 6th rings. The teir 2 fans crammed inside the gates, for a mere 80 gold coins, happy as they were to be close to the greatness of king jung lowe the 6th rings. The tier 3 peasants crowed the streets, to admire the great statue that was refurbished by King Jung Lowe the 6th rings himself, as a gift to Master Katz. General Howson and Strategic Operations Guru Mac T worked tirelessly behind the scenes, having the ear of Peter the great Marionette. Master Katz watched from one of his many Castles, and he was pleased.

    From the Book of Oil City, So Sayith the Oil.

  • TurkeyLips

    My old man bought one of those aptly named “air-blowing robot toilets” and it’s a marvel. Full warm water clean and everything. Makes the old dry wipe method feel like barbaric antiquity.