The Buffalo Sabres were named today as one of five nominees in the category of “Professional Sports Team of the Year” in the inaugural Sports Business Awards presented by Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily. The awards recognize excellence and achievement in the business of sport for the calendar year 2007.
The other four nominees are the Boston Red Sox (MLB), Phoenix Suns (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS) and Hendrick Motorsports (NASCAR).
The Buffalo Sabres played in front of 41 sold-out crowds at HSBC Arena in 2006-07, finished first overall in the NHL, and captured the first ever Presidents Trophy in franchise history. They ended the season with a league-best 53 wins and 308 goals scored, making them the only team to top the 300-goal plateau. Buffalo advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive season and fourth time in the past 10 seasons, joining Colorado (5) and Detroit (4) as the only teams with four or more Conference Finals appearances since 1997.
Sabres season ticket sales have climbed to an all time high of 14,800 from a low point of 5,800 in 2002-03, along with a waiting list of several thousand. The Sabres sold out all 41 regular season home games and all nine playoff home games in 2006-07, a feat not achieved since 1979-80 in the old Memorial Auditorium. Buffalo’s rabid fan base not only purchased tickets in droves, sales of Sabres merchandise went through the roof thanks to the launch of the team’s new uniforms. Sabres overall merchandise sales were up more than 1000 per cent over the previous season, as the team regularly posted the best monthly sales numbers on shop.nhl.com, and Sabres individual player jerseys were prominently featured in the top 10.
Other categories include Pro Sports League and Sports Executive of the Year. Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 29 at an awards celebration being held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.