CAN CAPS' PLAYOFF RUN EXCITE DC'S SUSPECT HOCKEY FAN BASE?
While the Capitals "have had to hustle to sell seats"
at the MCI Center for the NHL Playoffs and are registering
overall "flat" TV ratings, there is "new hope and
opportunity for Washington's often ignored hockey" team as
it plays in the Eastern Conference finals, according to
Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST. Team officials hope
that the series against Buffalo will also help increase the
team's "modest" season-ticket base of "about" 6,500. As of
late yesterday, there were 3,200 tickets remaining for Game
One on Saturday and 7,400 for Game Two on Monday. The
league also changed the date of Games Five, Six and Seven
because league and team execs "failed to realize the
original date" of Game Five was reserved by WCW for a
"Monday Nitro" event at MCI Center. While the team has sold
out four of its six playoff games, they "have had to work to
do it," by offering discounted seats to season-ticket
holders and other "inducements, including spreading some
free tickets around town." But Washington Sports President
Susan O'Malley said, "Nothing helps ticket sales like
winning" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19).
SCHEDULE SNAFUS: With the date changes, if the Caps-
Sabres series goes to a Game Seven, it would be televised on
ESPN2, not ESPN. Since ESPN2 is not available to DC
Cablevision customers, the NHL is seeing whether RSN HTS
could carry it to "affected homes" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19).
In Dallas, schedule makers failed to notice a Champions on
Ice show at Reunion Arena on June 2 and were forced to move
Game Five from June 2 to June 3, and move Games Six and
Seven back a day as well (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/19).