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  • Writer's picturePress Release

Norfolk Admirals President, Billy Johnson, nominated for the 2022-23 ECHL Executive of the Year



Words and Images Courtesy of the Norfolk Admirals



Billy Johnson, Norfolk Admirals
Billy Johnson

The Norfolk Admirals Professional Hockey Team is proud to announce that Billy Johnson, President of the Norfolk Admirals, has been nominated for the 2022-23 ECHL Executive of the Year award following the completion of his first full season at the helm of the organization. The ECHL Executive of the Year Award is Johnson’s fifth nomination with previous awards including being named the Atlantic League (baseball) Executive of the Year in 2000.

Johnson joined the Norfolk Admirals in November of 2021 after previously leading the 2003 ECHL expansion of the Las Vegas Wranglers from 2003 through 2014. Using his attention-grabbing marketing prowess, Johnson is credited for cultivating the viability of Las Vegas as an NHL market prior to the Vegas Golden Knights expansion in 2017.

Johnson’s immediate impact resulted in The Admirals breaking both attendance and all-time gross revenue records, with paid attendance rising by 34% and ticket revenues rising by 41% for the 2022-23 season. Several games also ranked in multiple team-high Top 10 lists of all time since the team’s inception in 1989.

The attendance of Admirals games brought a 37% increase in foot traffic to Downtown Norfolk. Revenues direct to SevenVenues and the City of Norfolk rose by an estimated 38% combined. The 2022-23 season broke several ticket revenue records in the team’s long history.

“The Admirals 36 game dates hold unique value to Downtown Norfolk,” Johnson said. “Our ticket buyers are the most likely to return to downtown on non-game days. They know the ins and outs of parking, surface streets, and more. They may already have their favorite restaurants but each time we bring them to a game there is more for them to discover.”

Johnson credits a few factors to this positive rise in revenue. The first was making the decision to schedule games earlier in the evenings to match the operating hours of downtown businesses and accommodate families with children. Johnson also introduced the team’s wildly successful marketing centerpiece – The City Series – last season, which celebrated each of the seven Hampton Roads cities. The team’s hosting of the 2023 Warrior ECHL All-Star Classic and touring the Stanley Cup—including a visit with sailors on the USS Eisenhower—energized the second half of the Admiral's regular season.

This award nomination and impressive past season have only fueled Johnson’s belief that there is still much to uncover in the upcoming seasons.

“The Admirals revealed it is very much in the community’s DNA,” he said. “It’s unique and quite special. It’s up to us to do smart things to reconnect. We are well on our way.”

The ECHL Executive of the Year Award will be announced and presented next month at the ECHL June meetings in Las Vegas. For more information, please contact Becca Robinson, Marketing Coordinator for the Norfolk Admirals, at brobinson@norfolkadmirals.com



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