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CAN CAPS' PLAYOFF RUN EXCITE DC'S SUSPECT HOCKEY FAN BASE?
Published May 19, 1998
While the Capitals "have had to hustle to sell seats" at the MCI Center for the NHL Playoffs and are registering overall "flat" TV ratings, there is "new hope and opportunity for Washington's often ignored hockey" team as it plays in the Eastern Conference finals, according to Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST. Team officials hope that the series against Buffalo will also help increase the team's "modest" season-ticket base of "about" 6,500. As of late yesterday, there were 3,200 tickets remaining for Game One on Saturday and 7,400 for Game Two on Monday. The league also changed the date of Games Five, Six and Seven because league and team execs "failed to realize the original date" of Game Five was reserved by WCW for a "Monday Nitro" event at MCI Center. While the team has sold out four of its six playoff games, they "have had to work to do it," by offering discounted seats to season-ticket holders and other "inducements, including spreading some free tickets around town." But Washington Sports President Susan O'Malley said, "Nothing helps ticket sales like winning" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19). SCHEDULE SNAFUS: With the date changes, if the Caps- Sabres series goes to a Game Seven, it would be televised on ESPN2, not ESPN. Since ESPN2 is not available to DC Cablevision customers, the NHL is seeing whether RSN HTS could carry it to "affected homes" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19). In Dallas, schedule makers failed to notice a Champions on Ice show at Reunion Arena on June 2 and were forced to move Game Five from June 2 to June 3, and move Games Six and Seven back a day as well (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/19).