PRINCETON, N.J. – Dr. William A. Sutton, who is a business consultant for the National Basketball Association and associate director and professor of the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Program, addressed the ECHL Board of Governors on Friday as part of the Annual Meeting held on Thursday and Friday in Henderson, Nev.
Sutton, who has spoken three times at the ECHL Marketing & Communications Meeting, stated that ECHL teams should connect to season ticket holders and anticipate the needs and interests of their customers. The dependency on repeat customers makes service and variety extremely important to ECHL teams. Sutton spoke about the need to retain customers, explaining that the NBA retained 85 percent of its season ticket holders in 2004-05, resulting in records for average attendance and capacity, and that it will probably exceed 85 percent in 2005-06.
“Bill is well respected in the sports industry for his expertise and experience,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “His insights and comments were well received by our owners as they prepare for the upcoming season.”
Sutton has been at UCF since January 2004 after being professor in the department of sport studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst while also serving as vice president of team marketing for the NBA.
He continues to work with the NBA on a consulting basis, assisting NBA and WNBA teams with marketing-related functions including sales, promotions, market research, advertising, customer service, planning and staffing. Acclaimed for his extensive knowledge and expertise in sports marketing, Sutton is co-author of two textbooks (Sport Marketing and Sport Promotion and Sales Management) as well as being a regular contributor to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. He has written more than 100 articles and made more than 100 presentations to national and international audiences.
He is a past president of the North American Society for Sport Management and a founding member of the Sport Marketing Association while serving as co-editor of Sport Marketing Quarterly and as a member of the editorial board for International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship.
About The ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2005-06. There have been 303 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 who have made their NHL debut in 2005-06.
The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.