Good Monday morning to all of you! When I first started this blog, I said I had no idea of what direction it might take. I think today's post is a good indication of that. And while teams across North America gear up for the season, owners across the National Hockey League must be fretting about the status of our economy.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed this subject last week in Toronto when they met the media for a Q&A. Let's face it. Everything costs more these days. The fan that commutes 60 miles round trip for a game just added another several dollars to his game day experience. The salary cap goes up and, typically, so does the cost of attending a game. More and more teams are offering "deal games" in which tickets are discounted and packaged with meals and/or additional discounts on ancillary products from in and around the arena.
Bettman acknowledged in that conference that there's no way to predict the future of the economy, then added that some positive insights.
"Based on the projections we are seeing, based on data that we're getting with respect to things like season ticket sales, we're actually running ahead of last season," he said.
That's great news. And there's no doubt in my mind that people in places like Toronto and Montreal and Edmonton would likely decide to go without a days worth of food in order to afford a ticket to see the Leafs, Habs or Oil. I'm not so sure that's the case in other places. For example, let's use Atlanta once again.
They play a Tuesday night game in October against Minnesota. Let's say you want to sit in the lower bowl between the goal lines. That ticket will cost you $98. Tell me this; who in Atlanta is going to shell out $98 to watch a Tuesday game in October? In other words, the strength in these sales has to lie within the strength of the corporate ticket base. And in tough times, the entertainment budget of corporations is one of the first to disappear.
Please understand this isn't a shot at the Thrashers and their pricing policy. For that matter, the team has had in place since it's inception a $10 ticket that enables fans to sit between the goal lines, albeit halfway to the moon.
So what do you think? Is the current state of the economy causing you to re-think the use of your entertainment dollars? Will you still attend games, but fewer in numbers? Will you nix the dinner out prior to puck drop?