Busy day for me today as I work the Hockey games up here starting at 3 PM, so this will be my only post today.
The Senators announced yesterday that they are starting a program called Sens Fans First; where 10,000 Value-Priced tickets will be available to children over the rest of this season and will continue into the '09-'10 season. On a smaller note, the final five Saturday home game practices will be open to the public under the Esso Gameday Experience.
There are 13 home regular-season games left for the Sens, which means 500-1,000 tickets will be available for the plan for each game for $20 Canadian, this includes a hot dog and drink in what is being called the Future Fans pack which is focused on the kids. Parents who will be bringing the kids to the game under this deal also get a cut as well, with their tickets being priced at $29 Canadian.
Finally, the Sens have more plans, this time for their season-ticket holders. The rest of the Sens Fans First campaign will be announced next week.
What to take of all this? Well, the Sens are the first Canadian team to really make a public showing of cutting ticket prices and providing deals in this economy. I like the idea, as the Senators have struggled all season and this will ensure that their attendance average and capacity don't suffer too hard. Plus, what I really like about this, is the focus on offering affordable tickets to children. I've always been a proponent of the NHL focusing their marketing on kids, as they are the future fans of the sport. Plus, if a kid has a great time at a game, they will always want to go back, and mom and dad will break out the wallet eventually.
Via my Team Marketing Report Weekly email, a nice story was put together by Dan Bulla, which focuses on the immense success thus far at the gate for the Chicago Blackhawks, and continues to compare some NHL and NBA attendance figures. We all know the Hawks are doing great, and are actually outdrawing the Bulls, but what really interested me in the story was this paragraph:
But the success even goes beyond the Capitals and Blackhawks. Looking across the league, the NHL’s numbers this year have been particularly strong, especially when seen alongside the NBA. There are 10 venues that host both NBA and NHL teams in North America—and since the Staples Center holds the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings, there are 11 solid NBA/NHL comparisons. If we look at the average percentage of capacity filled per game in each of those 11 instances during the 2008-09 season, the NHL is outdrawing the NBA in 7 of the 11.With this information stated, I went on the research offensive. Below is an expansion of what Bulla states, that the NHL is outdrawing the NBA in 7 out of 11 shared venues between the leagues in attendance capacity. All figures from the respective NHL and NBA attendance charts from ESPN.
As you can see, the NHL is directly winning in 5 out of 8 markets as noted by the highlighter. The Kings are outdrawing the Clippers, but not the infamous Lakers, so that moves our count up to 6. In Denver, although the Nuggets are technically winning by a slight margin, I call for a tie because of the major number of 87 % being the majority. So, the NHL is outdrawing the NBA in 6 out of 10 markets where NHL and NBA teams share an Arena. Not bad at all.
Bulla raises one final question at the end of his article. He mentions that the NHL was in a similar position back in the mid-'90s where they were challenging the NBA for the #3 spot in the big four ranking (Above is the cover from a spring of '94 issue of Sports Illustrated; any NHL diehard remembers it). He doesn't give his prediction, but he says that it is closer than many NBA fans, and ESPN, would like to think.
That's all for today, I'll see if I can get one in tomorrow before I hit up another day of work, but if not check back Sunday afternoon. Thanks for reading, as always.