The Augusta RiverHawks announced Thursday they have entered into negotiations for a multi-year lease to remain in James Brown Arena beyond this season.
Team owners Bob and Diane Kerzner have agreed to the framework of a deal with Augusta Entertainment Complex.
Monty Jones Jr., general manager of the arena, said a deal should be finalized within a month. He and the team have been in contact regarding an extension for a couple months.
The deal would be for two years, beginning after the current hockey season. It includes the right for the Kerzners to nullify the lease should the RiverHawks not reach certain ticket numbers. They would be able to step away from the lease in May.
“To be a viable franchise in this market, we need to secure in the ballpark of 800 season-ticket holders, which is a modest increase from where we are currently, and is very achievable over the next handful of months,” RiverHawks president Mark Richards said in a news release. “Should we not hit that number, it would be very difficult for this organization to be viable in Augusta, but we are confident that it will be reached.”
The RiverHawks have about 550 season-ticket holders. The team ranks last in the Southern Professional Hockey League this season with an average attendance of 1,811 per game.
Vice president Ken Vezina said getting to 800 season-ticket holders is not a definite number, but a goal for the RiverHawks.
“Bob and Diane want to see the organization on track,” Vezina said. “That ballpark would give us a good key to success. I would say that’s not a hard number that we absolutely need to be at, but it needs to be in that direction.”
The RiverHawks are beginning a season-ticket sales drive that would reach out to different types of fans and allow them to become ticket holders in different ways. Those will include full, half and partial season-ticket plans, as well as flex-date and flex-pack offerings, and corporate plans.