SBD/July 11, 2013/Franchises

Blue Jackets Have Already Sold More Season Tickets Than Last Year

A strong run at the end of last season also helped boost Blue Jackets ticket sales
Blue Jackets Senior VP & CMO John Browne said that the team already has "sold 7,314 season tickets as of Monday," 4.5% above last season’s franchise-low total of around 7,000, according to Jeff Bell of COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST. Browne noted that the team’s season-ticket renewal rate is 91%, the "highest rate since the 2006-07 season.” It marks the “first time in seven years the club has been above the 90 percent mark." New season-ticket sales also are up 21% “compared with this time last year." That is the "highest new sales total the Jackets have had since after their one and only NHL playoff appearance" in '09. Browne said that the "sales momentum ... kept going after the NHL draft in June and gained even more steam when the team resigned" Vezina Trophy-winning G Sergei Bobrovsky to a two-year extensions and signed free agent RW Nathan Horton to a seven-year, $37.1M deal Friday. In addition to the player signings, Browne "chalked up the ticket sales gains to the Jackets’ strong run at the end of last season … and the team’s upcoming move to the Eastern Conference" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/9).

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: ESPN.com's Craig Custance noted the Blue Jackets' signing of Horton "utilized the spirit” of the NHL’s new 48-hour free agent interview process “almost perfectly." Two days prior to the start of free agency, Horton flew to Columbus and met with Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson and GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Because of the "extra time built into free agency this year, they weren't rushed in explaining the process in which the two plan on building the Blue Jackets into a winner." Another benefit was the team "asked for and received Horton's medical information." This new window gave Horton the "opportunity to get comfortable before committing the next portion of his career to a team." It was the "first indication that this window could be most beneficial to small-market teams that might have trouble attracting free agents otherwise" (ESPN.com, 7/9).
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