SBD/August 15, 2013/Franchises

Predators Introduce Special Ticket Plan Aimed At Keeping Blackhawks Fans Out

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Blackhawks fans in recent years have shown up in big numbers in Nashville
The Predators have adjusted the way tickets for games against the Blackhawks are "purchased next season in order to limit" the number of Blackhawks fans in Bridgestone Arena, according to Scott Powers of ESPN CHICAGO. The Predators recently announced that they "will not sell single-game tickets" to their three home games against the Blackhawks, and to attend those games, fans will "have to purchase tickets to a second game as well." Predators Senior VP/Hockey Communications & PR Gerry Helper yesterday said, "Our objective is to give our team the best home-ice advantage each and every game." Helper said that the plan "didn't have a specific name, but 'Keep the Red Out' has created some traction following an interview" Predators President & COO Sean Henry recently did with Section303.com about the ticket initiative. Blackhawks fans have "developed a reputation for attending road games, especially those in Nashville, in large numbers in recent years" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 8/14). Henry said, "In the end, we’re building something pretty special. If we have to do it off the backs of their fans a little bit, I’m not apologizing for it. We don’t want to build those ticket grosses off of our core -- our lifeblood -- the season ticket holders. We want to build it off the single game buyers who only want to buy those games.” SECTION303.com's Jeremy Gover noted if some fans are "not able to go" to the second game, the Predators "have that covered." Henry said, “We’ve built in a plan where they can donate the ticket back to members of the military" (SECTION303.com, 8/13).

RISKY MOVE: YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote this is "no different than variable pricing plans: It’s a way to gouge the invading fans and profit from them." But "just like variable pricing, the home fans take some damage too" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/14). CBSSPORTS.com's Chris Peters wrote it is a "risky play for the Predators business side." Even though Blackhawks fans may "take over the building, they're still contributing money" to the Predators by buying a ticket. If this package "turns many of them away, there's no guarantee the team will be able to make up the ticket sales with locals" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/14).
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