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Stanley Cup champions L.A. Kings announce new radio home

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The Los Angeles Kings' new flagship radio home will be KABC-AM (790)
L.A. Kings have sold out of season tickets for 2014-15; single-game tickets will go on sale in September

Now comes the financial byproduct of winning another Stanley Cup.

The business side of the Los Angeles Kings franchise has successfully capitalized on the team's stirring run to its second Stanley Cup championship in the last three seasons. First off, the team will announce on Monday that its new flagship radio home will be KABC (790).

It is a five-year agreement and the Kings will be the only sports property on KABC, and longtime team broadcasters Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans will continue in their positions, play-by-play and analyst, respectively.

Additionally, the Kings already have sold out of season tickets for 2014-15. The team said its season-ticket base is 16,000 and that season-ticket renewal was in excess of 95%. The base number includes partial season-ticket plans; single-game tickets are scheduled to go on sale in September.

The Kings have sold out 120 consecutive games, and they've been able to raise their rates in terms of sponsorship dollars. Forbes magazine valued the worth of the Kings at $450 million, but that was in November, months before they beat the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

In the midst of their run to the Stanley Cup in 2012, the Kings reached a TV agreement with Fox Sports for a reported $250 million, keeping the team on Fox Sports West through 2024.

For the Kings, the radio deal is novel in that it is a multiyear agreement. Kelly Cheeseman, the Kings' chief operating officer, said in a interview that the team previously "basically paid" to be on radio and that agreements of the past were typically of a year-to-year nature.

There has been a marked change in the business climate from when the Kings first won the Stanley Cup in 2012.

"It's different across all the segments of our business," said Cheeseman, who is also the chief operating officer for the Kings' parent company, AEG Sports.

This is, in part, because the Kings have reached the final four for three straight seasons — winning twice — about as close as you can get to a mini-dynasty in this salary-cap era. And the team's second Cup win neatly eliminates the one-hit wonder narrative.

In 2012, some of the Kings' momentum was slowed because of the looming labor dispute. The NHL's lockout did occur and the regular season did not start until January 2013.

This time, there is labor peace, and the season will start on time. Kings fans can circle Oct. 8 on the calendar, knowing that the Stanley Cup banner raising will be at the season opener against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.

"Now we have the long-term certainty of the CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and we know we're going to see them [the players] in a couple months," Cheeseman said. "It's just a different feeling. You know you're going to be right back in the market, and nobody is going to forget about it."

One of their goals is to keep the general sports fans, who were drawn in during the playoffs, on board.

"That's what we lost last time," Cheeseman said. "We knew the Kings fans, the hockey fans were going to be there. It's the new fans. Those are the ones we want to turn in 30-, 40-year fans. That's the momentum we need to keep, and we're excited to see that.

"A lot of the newer season-ticket holders are people that had basketball and baseball tickets for years. We want to make sure they're here for the long term."

The Kings hope the radio agreement will help along those lines, assisting them in reaching a broader audience. Beyond the game-day broadcasts, they plan on partnering on "exclusive events and original digital content."

"We are thrilled to partner with Cumulus and TalkRadio 790 KABC as we announce this agreement," Luc Robitaille, the Kings' president of business operations, said in a statement. "They are a strong and visible media and broadcasting brand in our community, and they have a great overall reputation as a business and in the radio industry in particular.

"Our combined efforts will undoubtedly broaden the reach of the Kings with our current fans and in the broader community."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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