Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ticket troubles

There were huge pockets of vacant seats, more than popped up even during the playoffs. The announced crowd of 17,610 was about 2,500 below capacity, an amazing drop-off and the Wings' first regular-season non-sellout since 1996, a span of 396 games.
For the first time in team history, the Avalanche failed to sell out its home opener Wednesday night. Attendance at the Pepsi Center was 17,487, with capacity at 18,007. The Avs had their NHL record streak of home sellouts end last season, at 487.
UPDATE Thanks to Barbara for sending in this roundtable discussion on the State of the Red Wings, a meeting that included the Detroit News, Scotty Bowman, Ken Holland, Mike Ilitch and other team executives.

I found the bits on the board of governors quite interesting.


At 3:07 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

There's a number of factors contributing to the wings ticket sales (see discussion during playoffs)

The biggest one for the avs is simply that they haven't been great like they were years ago and the bandwagon fans aren't packing the arena like they used to.

At 3:13 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Even the Senators have 1000 tickets available for Saturday's Rangers game and 2500 available for Monday afternoons Devils game.

On a related topic, the Carolina Hurricanes were the only NHL team not to show their home opener last night on local television. Apparently to watch it you had to have NHL center ice and watch Montreal's french broadcast.

At 3:26 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

The Hurricanes' game could not be seen on local cable because the NHL/Versus deal doesn't allow for local cable broadcasts during the time Versus is airing a game... or at least the once a week "game night" thing they do. It's not like the Hurricanes couldn't convince their local cable to broadcast the game, or there wasn't demand, they simply were not allowed to broadcast it.

The Avs missed the playoffs for the first time last year, and the Rockies made the playoffs for the first time since the Avs came to town, so I think that had a lot to do with it coming short of a sellout.

At 3:28 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

I found myself awfully confused in the Wings-Ducks telecast last night. Usually I can identify Pronger easily in Detroit because of the booing.

Extremely bizarre.

At 3:44 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

Move the Wings to Hamilton, and the Avs to Kitchener-Waterloo.

At 4:06 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

Early last season there were plenty of these stories as well. This is the reason why the owners aren't all that keen on the season starting any earlier than they have to. This time of year, they are competing with football and baseball playoffs for fan eyeballs, and it's a tough road for them. Attendance always picks up in the second half of the season, and usually quite strongly.

As for the Avs, someone already nailed it in terms of bandwagon fans. There are only a small number of cities where the team is going to sell out regardless of on ice performance. The Avs' glory years have now passed, so they will have to hustle to sell tickets like everyone else now.

At 4:12 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger Kevin said...

I love how Wings fans are allowed to use the economy as an excuse when they would quickly rip on any team in a non-traditional market if the same thing happened. I can understand Wings fans not turning out for a midweek game in November against the Coyotes but to not sell out your home opener against a the defending champs is inexcusable, poor economy or not.

At 4:19 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zero tolerance, redline... You can kill a good game in so many ways. Taking off the redline killed hockey in Europe so why would it be any different here?

At 4:21 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous said...

Let's not be too quick to condemn.

Anybody watch the baseball playoffs last night, where the COLORADO ROCKIES played the Phillies?

Detroit's economy is more to blame than the team. Toyota is kicking Detroit's ass. Not to mention Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai, etc.....

At 4:24 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

One of my coworkers emailed me yesterday:

"How are you going to decide what to watch, the baseball playoffs or the start of hockey season?"

My response?

"There's baseball on?"

(And I drive a Mazda. Good to know it's hurting the Red Wings.)

At 4:26 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

But if you can't sell $9 tickets you lose the economy as an excuse.

Let's wait and see what the Avalanche do once the Rockies get ousted from the playoffs.

At 5:01 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Those $9 tickets probably aren't the ones they're having a hard time selling... they're obstructed view, anyways.

I also don't think it's a coincidence that they have attendance issues starting last year, the year that Stevie Y and, to a lesser extent, Brendan Shanahan were no longer on the team.

At 5:37 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger sager said...

Fair enough... if there's a more fun story in pro sports to follow than the Rockies being on a once-in-a-lifetime run -- 16 wins in 17 games defies probability -- I haven't heard about it.

At 5:59 p.m., October 04, 2007, Blogger McLea said...

I guess somebody forgot to tell the Tiger fans that they're too poor to attend professional sporting events.

At 8:13 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HockeyTown was a myth that was readily accepted by the mainstream Canadian media, the same bunch of folks that were too lazy to investigate Eagleson during his reign.
The pecking order in Detroit sports has always been Lions, followed by the other three teams based on success.
The Wings don't have an identifiable blue collar North American star to market to the yobs in Detroit,
They want Probert or McCarty not a bunch of fancy skating Euros.
Downey will be one of the most popular Wings this season.
Mark my words.

At 8:53 p.m., October 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hockeytown" isn't a myth--it's a marketing slogan, no more, no less, like calling Baltimore, Maryland "The City that Reads" (which morphs into "The City that Bleeds" every time there is another shooting). People take it so seriously.

Baseball tickets are cheaper than hockey tickets for equivalent seats (not nosebleed or obstructed view), and just a few years ago the Tigers were nearly historically putrid. Now they are a legit team with solid offense and tremendous young pitching and a bright future, while the Red Wings are good (as usual) and probably going to make the playoffs (which they do pretty much every year). Success for the Tigers is new and exciting, success for the Red Wings is expected and a little boring.

I like both sports and if I could only afford tickets to one team, it would be the Tigers because they haven't been good in so long that it is more fun to see them succeed after many failures than the hockey team do the same thing they do all the time.

At 11:15 a.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

Hey James, Ford owns Mazda, so you're um... helping the red wings?

Hey Kevin, no one in the comments before you blamed the economy for detroit's attendance, so I don't know what you're talking about.

At 12:15 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous said...

We may have been to quick to claim the economy in Detroit for being totally responsible, though I think we solved the Avalanch puzzle.

Here are some ticket prices in Detroit to consider:
Cheapest Most expensive

Wings: 22 85
Tigers: 10 65
Pistons: 10 175

I didn't look at box seats. But at the cheapest range it is over twice the money to catch a Wings game than the options. The economy could be part of the reason for the Wings decline.

At 12:20 p.m., October 05, 2007, Anonymous Mogen_david said...

Add the stars to your list of teams with ticket trouble. Check the Dallase Morning News:

At 1:01 p.m., October 05, 2007, Blogger HockeyTownTodd said...

from a comment I posted on A2Y, and again on HockeyTownTodd:
"We know our hockey here in D-town and as Stevie put it “This isn’t Hockey”. You are seeing some serious fan burn off because of the new rules and scheduling.

Before comparing the Tigers fan base with the Red Wings, it is important to point out that Baseball has not made major Rule Changes 6 times in the last 7 yrs."


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