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LOS ANGELES KINGS: STANLEY CUP VICTORY PARADE

Kings not a hard sell now

Tickets for next season may be gone. Merchandise flies off the shelves.

June 15, 2012|Andrew Owens

As the Kings venture into unfamiliar territory after winning their first championship, they are quickly discovering the benefits of standing atop the National Hockey League.

Sure, there's the thrill of the Stanley Cup presentation and Thursday's subsequent parade and rally, but the team is also reaping immense financial benefits.

Chris McGowan, the chief operating officer of the Kings, said the playoff run has had a "humongous" influence on merchandising and ticket sales.

"We've definitely seen a spike in season tickets already. Attendance was doing very well during the regular season," McGowan said, the Kings having sold out all but two home games. "But then we made the playoffs and saw a big spike after we beat Vancouver in the first round.

"That's when we started to sell lots of season tickets."

McGowan said the team already has sold out its partial ticket plans for next season and projects to do the same with season tickets -- a feat that has never occurred in team history.

Just as the team is experiencing a buzz at the ticket office, it has experienced a similar demand for Kings apparel and merchandise, McGowan said.

"Our numbers during the playoffs and finals were unprecedented in both hockey and basketball," said McGowan, who added that it has been a mixture of online and on-site sales at Team L.A. at L.A. Live. "People are coming down here and buying jerseys, hats, anything they can get their hands on that commemorates the Stanley Cup Final.

"I was amazed at the parade. Everyone had a Kings shirt or jersey, as a lot of people are jumping on board and supporting the team by buying merchandise."

Season-ticket holder Jennifer Chesrown said she spent approximately $500 on Kings merchandise during the playoffs.

"It's ridiculous the amount of money that I've spent," she said at Thursday's parade. "You just don't know if this is ever going to happen again, so I've got to get enough stuff so I can keep it forever and ever and pass it down to my kids. I buy it in all different sizes, so if I gain weight or lose weight, I can still represent the team."

Along with the team's success has come increased celebrity, the players have noticed.

"You start seeing a lot more silver and black everywhere and you get noticed a little more wherever you go," left wing Dustin Penner said. "You see your name in the paper, as far as the Kings organization, a little bit more. It's great to see the hard work paying off and us getting our dues."

During the first couple days after the Cup-clinching victory, captain Dustin Brown appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and the team showed off the trophy on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and at Dodger Stadium.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick said the increased exposure comes with the territory of winning the Cup and that he "enjoys it and has fun with it," but center Anze Kopitar said it has been exhausting.

"It seems like this was the longest 48 hours of my life," he said. "You just try to soak it all in as much as you can."

Soak it in they will, as they discover that winning the Cup might be worth a lot more than the 35-pound silver trophy.

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andrew.owens@latimes.com

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