I went to a BLUES hockey game with a friend the other night and he remarked how we could hear the players yelling at each other. We had moved to better seats since there were only about 5,000 fans total. He attributed the ability to hear the players (which is kind of cool) to our upgraded seating position. I said it was because there were was no other noise in the building- like people cheering, talking or breathing.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch just did a story where they quote fan Jeff Fitzgerald as saying "It's empty in here." The article focuses on a few factors keeping fans away, one of which is increased ticket prices:
'Checketts said he does not regret raising tickets.
"No, I don't," he said. "Because I just believe that we will earn their respect and they will come back. Any negativity about the prices will go away. ... That's how it's always worked wherever I've been. There's always going to be complaining about ticket prices. It's part of the game."'
Economics 101 tells you that prices are a function of supply and demand. In what other business would people raise prices for an inferior product (last place in the league) or that had declining popularity (plummeting attendance last year)? The BLUES are saying if the customers (fans) pay more, then they will improve the product (team).
This would be like Ford coming out with a terrible car, losing sales, then increasing prices expecting people to pay more for them to correct their mistakes.
Don't think there is no competition. There are more entertainment choices than ever. Did you notice how poker replaced hockey on ESPN?
There are a lot of suggestions I have for the BLUES, and the NHL in general on how to win back some fans, but let's start simple. Put a winning team on the ice- or at least appear like you are trying to win, before you raise ticket prices.
I am a huge hockey and BLUES fan, but if you are lame enough to alienate even die hard fans like me then maybe you should try another business.
PS- Keep an eye out for my online petition to shorten the time between periods. They can do the ice in 6 minutes yet they are taking 17. We can shorten the dead time in games by 22 minutes!