SBD/January 16, 2013/Franchises

NHL Western Conference Franchise Notes: Blue Jackets Season Tickets At All-Time Low

Blue Jackets fans can get a two-for-one ticket deal for Monday's home opener
Blue Jackets President Mike Priest said that the team’s season-ticket sales "stand at a little over 7,000 as the club prepares to open the shortened NHL season" at the Predators on Saturday. In Columbus, Jeff Bell noted that compares with 8,000 "last season." The 7,000 mark is the "lowest in the history of the Blue Jackets, who made their NHL debut in 2000." The Blue Jackets are offering a "two-for-one ticket offer" for Monday’s home-opener against the Red Wings. But Priest said that future ticket discounts "will be limited to what the team has traditionally offered fans in value packs" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/15).

KIND OF BLUE: Blues Owner Tom Stillman, who took control of the franchise in May, said, "There's been all this anticipation. Now we finally get to hold the baby." He added, "I just want our fans to know that we don't take them for granted. We're excited about this team and this season's potential. We feel a lot of things are in place. We have very good people here. But we need our fans. We've never forgotten their role." In St. Louis, Joe Strauss notes the Blues "lost about $20 million last season under league control," and this year breaking even would "be a good outcome." The Blues "suffered only negligible erosion of their season-ticket base, which stands around 11,000 full-season equivalents." The franchise's "narrow fiscal margin precludes it from cutting ticket prices as a giveback" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/16).

SNOW DAYS: In Denver, David Migoya notes the Avalanche are "pushing a variety of ticket promotions to draw back a fan base that once rivaled the league's best." The team said that 90% of last year's season-ticket pool "remained true." Kroenke Sports & Entertainment CMO Kurt Schwartzkopf said that the team will have "an apology letter handed to each fan who attends next Tuesday's home opener," which will be signed by team Owner Stan Kroenke, GM Greg Sherman, coach Joe Sacco and LW Gabriel Landeskog. In addition, tickets to the game are "being offered at a 2-for-1 price -- and season ticket holders can also grab four free additional tickets" (DENVER POST, 1/16).

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: In Minneapolis, Rachel Blount notes the Wild will "stick with its longtime slogan -- Let's Play Hockey -- as the theme for this shortened season." The team will offer "merchandise specials throughout the month, give away T-shirts on Opening Night and award autographed jerseys to selected fans." Season-ticket holders will be offered a 20% discount on "additional single-game tickets through Feb. 28." Wild COO Matt Majka said the team is on course to get back to its peak of 16,500 "very quickly." He added that "no corporate sponsors left, and most season-ticket holders did not ask for refunds for cancelled games; instead, they left their money in the accounts to go toward future tickets" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/16).

KINGS' RANSOM? In L.A., Lisa Dillman notes ticket prices for Saturday's Blackhawks-Kings game at Staples Center were "starting in the neighborhood of $155," but the game is "sold out, which means the secondary market is surging." AEG COO Kelly Cheeseman said, "Pricing is something we never take lightly, but in most cases I'll tell fans there's lots of options out there when it comes to purchasing Kings tickets." The Kings' season-ticket base is 15,000, and team President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille said that they "lost four accounts during the lockout." Dillman writes one "eye-popping price angering fans for the opener was $600." Cheeseman said, "We only had two that were available at the $600 price at the glass" (L.A. TIMES, 1/16).
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