The Winnipeg Jets play in the smallest arena and the smallest market in the NHL, but contrary to expectations, they will not need to rely on the NHL's revenue sharing program this season. Team owner Mark Chipman made that announcement on Friday afternoon, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
"When we first modeled this business, we did so quite carefully," Chipman said. "We had the benefit of those years leading up and we looked at where we thought we would fit in. Initially, we thought we'd be a (revenue) share team. And so we studied that model very carefully.
"We thought we were going to be dependent on it. So we spent time with teams like Nashville that have managed their way through that process very well. As it turns out, our revenues have exceeded the point at which we are allowed to participate in revenue sharing so we feel really good about that."
Half the league participates in the NHL's revenue sharing program, in which revenue from the top half of the league is redistributed to the bottom half. In order to be eligible for revenue sharing, teams must be located in a media market under two million people and must rank in the bottom 15 in per-team revenue.
The Jets have sold out all 41 games at the 15,000-seat MTS Centre this season, but those numbers on their own are highly predictable. Higher-than-expected revenues via merchandise sales and broadcast partnererships fueled Winnipeg's jump into the NHL's wealthy tier.
For more on the team, check in with Jets blog Arctic Ice Hockey.