SBD/January 17, 2013/Franchises

Wild Set Franchise Record For Ticket Sales In One Day

Wild COO Matt Majka said that not even halfway through yesterday the team "already had its biggest ticket-selling day in franchise history," according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Two games, including Saturday's season opener against the Avalanche, were "sold out in the first hour." Hundreds of fans "swarmed the three Hockey Lodge locations and emptied shelves during a half-off sale." And 13,096 "enthusiastic fans arrived early" last night to watch an intrasquad game featuring, for the first time, LW Zach Parise and D Ryan Suter in red Wild sweaters. Majka said, "We are extremely grateful and humbled, but we know we continue to have a lot of work to do to earn everybody's trust and faith again." Majka "wouldn't divulge Wednesday ticket-sale numbers, but he said the Wild sold 10 times the number of jerseys it would on a normal game night and five times the volume of merchandise sold in the 12 days of the State Fair" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/17). Majka said that the Wild is "prepared to offer mea culpas as long as necessary." In Minneapolis, Rachel Blount notes though Majka heard "plenty of anger during the lockout, he anticipates the Wild can regain its entire fan base -- and perhaps add to it -- if it follows sincere apologies with high-quality play." Majka said that the NHL "consulted with franchises about post-lockout marketing plans, but allowed them to formulate their own strategies to cater to local markets." In addition to last night's activities, the Wild 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 percent discount on additional single-game tickets through Feb. 28, and they will be given waivers of some ticket fees, reward-program points and recognition during games." Majka acknowledged that the "state's love for the game gives the Wild a leg up, especially compared to nontraditional hockey markets." The signings of Parise and Suter "generated sales of 4,000 season tickets over the summer, and the lockout did not seem to diminish fans' excitement to see whether the Wild can meet heightened expectations." The Wild is "running newspaper ads this week asking for fans' forgiveness, and players will offer their personal thanks to selected fans before Saturday's game" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/17).
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