Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Free Tickets to Boost Attendance Numbers!

If the NHL/Caps ever wanted a more truthful media pitch, I’d propose that one. Caps GM George McPhee was on a local radio show this morning and mentioned that the first 360 college students get in FREE to this weekend’s game. Not only that, eat up, you get a free pizza as well. A couple of funny things about this. First, the VerizonCenter is only a five minute Metro ride from many DC area universities. I wonder how many college students will be over for just the pizza? Now if they were smart, young entrepreneurs, they’d sell their 400 level ticket to the scalpers outside to pay for their Metro rides. No need letting a good ticket go to waste. Now while this is a good marketing pitch to potential young fans, I can’t help but think of how many other promotions like this go on in struggling hockey cities. I also can’t help to think of how these freebies will artificially inflate attendance numbers. In a sport that is struggling to attract fans, attendance numbers aren’t the true marker for the health of the league. As so many articles have pointed out, there are many ways to inflate numbers so that you can spin your answers when confronted. A true test of the league’s health would be to see some research on the average price of purchased tickets in the league over the years. Another would be to see a count of physical attendance over the years. Or you can always look at t.v. ratings… word on the street…. Oh wait, there is no word on the street!

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