SBD/January 23, 2013/Franchises

NHL Franchise Notes: Caps' Season-Ticket Cancellations Were Few During Lockout

Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis estimated that about 70 season-ticket accounts were "canceled during the lockout, or roughly 150 seats." He said that he "wasn't worried about the effect the lockout would have on the Caps." Leonsis: "People understood. People knew we were going to come back. And they're back. We're sold out. They're happy. They're happy to be here amongst their friends" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/23).

FANBOYS: New Jersey-based 16W Marketing Partner and Devils season-ticket holder Frank Vuono said of fans' response to the NHL's return, "Maybe there are a few fans still ticked off about the lockout. But for people like me -- and there are 12,500 diehards like me -- it doesn't matter. That's across the board in this sport. This sport is just different. Its fans might get ticked, but they won't quit, unless you do something drastic like charge them for PSLs. The core audience is always strong" (NJ.com, 1/23).

ALL APOLOGIES: Penguins President & CEO David Morehouse said of the team issuing an apology after the lockout, "It was important because it wasn't contrived. We said we're sorry because we were sorry." In Pittsburgh, Rob Rossi notes "roughly 18,000-20,000" fans attended last week's team scrimmage at Consol Energy Center. Morehouse said, "I was surprised with how young everybody was. It shouldn't be surprising because, when we look at our research, that is a group we target and the young fans often can't get tickets because of the (six-year) sellout streak" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/23).

THE NEW DEAL: In Ottawa, Vito Pilieci notes the Senators' new agreement with StubHub marks the team's "third try at a marketplace system to allow people to move tickets they know they can't use." The Senators, who "own Capitaltickets.ca, created their own system before moving to an offering from ticketing giant Ticketmaster." The agreement with Ticketmaster, which "lasted three years, has now ended, allowing for the Senators to sign a 'long-term agreement' with StubHub." Senators President Cyril Leeder "would not say how long the deal will last" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/23).

KIND OF BLUE: Blue Jackets President Mike Priest said of the team's necessary attendance mark in order to break even, "Our goal is to reach paid attendance that is at the league average -- somewhere between 15,500 and 16,000. ... A market of this size has proven it can do that, but the quality of the (hockey) product is going to push that. That’s the end game." Priest, when asked how the club can get fans back after the lockout and a losing record in '11-12, said, "It's the product on the ice. You have to deliver an exciting entertainment experience that's world class. When you do that, people will find their way back" (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST, 1/18 issue).
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