RiverHawks talk new arena lease, could opt out if attendence marks not met

Augusta Riverhawks
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Thursday January 31, 2013

Augusta, GA--The Augusta RiverHawks have announced that they have entered into negotiations with Global Spectrum for a multi-year lease that would see the team play in Augusta, GA for the next two seasons. RiverHawks' Owners Bob and Diane Kerzner, President Mark Richards, and Vice-President Ken Vezina have been involved in discussions with Monty Jones Jr., General Manager of the Augusta Entertainment Complex, and both sides have agreed to the framework of the deal.

“We feel we are quite close to striking a deal that will potentially keep hockey in Augusta for at least the next two seasons,” said Richards Tuesday. “We have enjoyed a solid relationship with the Global Spectrum staff at the James Brown Arena, and feel this is the right community for the RiverHawks franchise. Both sides absolutely want to get a deal done as quickly as possible.”

In the agreement, the Kerzners will have the right to nullify the lease should the RiverHawks not reach a certain benchmark numbers. Should the Kerzners not feel that there has been enough movement towards those benchmarks for the 2013-14 season, they will have the option to step away from the lease in May 2013.

“In speaking with Mr. Jones Jr, season ticket holders, sponsors, and other members of the Southern Professional Hockey League, we feel that a team's stability is largely tied to the number of season ticket holders it has,” said Richards. “To be a viable franchise in this market we need to secure in the ballpark of 800 season ticket holders, which is a modest increase from where we are currently and is very achievable over the next handful of months. Should we not hit that number, it would be very difficult for this organization to be viable in Augusta, but we are confident that it will be reached.”

In order to reach the number, the RiverHawks organization is beginning a comprehensive season ticket sales drive, featuring many paths to help fans become season ticket holders. The team will offer Full, Half, and Partial season ticket plans, along with Flex-Date and Flex Pack offerings. The focus will be on local companies along with the large number of individual fans who have enjoyed RiverHawks hockey, but for whatever reason have not signed on to enjoy the benefits of being a season ticket holder.

“Our walk-up attendance is extremely strong compared to the rest of the SPHL, and it is a testament to the support that exists in Augusta for the RiverHawks,” said Vezina. “However, the challenge is to take these fans and make them part of the RiverHawks family of season ticket holders. That applies to individuals and to businesses. Fans can save a lot of money and enjoy some very exciting benefits by signing up for one of our season plans, and I am very confident that we will reach our goals once the benefits have been clearly communicated to those fans.”