Sabres' Early-Season Success Paying Off At Box Office
The Sabres have been one of the surprises of the NHL season, reeling off 10 straight wins in November and currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference following their league-worst finish in ‘17-18. On-ice success has been hard to come by for the Sabres over the past couple of years, but this season’s hot start has rejuvenated the fan base and has Buffalo once again buzzing with excitement. Sabres Exec VP/Marketing & Brand Strategy Brent Rossi said the early wins have been a “needed jolt” for the franchise. "We have the type of fan base that supports us almost no matter what," Rossi said. "But when a team starts to roll like we have, it just takes it to a completely different level.” Rossi noted that fervor can be seen across nearly every one of the Sabres’ different business verticals since last month, saying the vibe in the local market is like “nothing I’d ever seen since I’ve been here.” The Sabres have maintained a strong season-ticket base despite the recent down years, but Rossi said what the team has seen so far this year is a “significant uptick” in individual ticket sales over the past month. That includes five straight sellouts during the winning streak. Rossi noted during that same time, there was a substantial decrease in no-shows, something that the Sabres have been struggling with in recent years. Additionally, the team has already surpassed its individual and group sales numbers for the entire ’17-18 season. Rossi noted the team’s per caps are up close to 40% and jerseys sales have doubled year-over-year. The Sabres also are up nearly 20% on merchandise sales year-over-year.
TEAM EFFORT: The Sabres are led by a pair of young superstars in C Jack Eichel and D Rasmus Dahlin, this year's No. 1 overall draft pick, but marketing efforts have been centered more around all their players. Rossi said the team this season has run TV spots highlighting the story of each game, using them as “almost a real-time marketing sell where we develop the story of this team throughout the season” as a way to engage fans. The efforts have so far been successful, especially via social media, as the Sabres were second in engagement on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram during November. Rossi noted the team has seen “spikes” where during a game it will be first in social media engagements across the league. Rossi: “We are just seeing this market really fall in love with this team, and that excitement is kind of permeating through every line of our business.”