A Columbus Dispatch headline from today states that the Blue Jackets are having issues selling tickets at the box office. However, once reading the article, it seemed to be a different story. The trouble is that they are finding it tough to increase ticket sales. The front office expected a large and immediate jump in ticket sales once the move was made to the Eastern Conference.
Season ticket sales shot up in the offseason after the spectacular 19-5-5 ending to the abbreviated season, which included a playoff push. Also, single ticket sales averages are higher this season, than of the last two full seasons. The team positioned themselves perfectly to draw in their fan base to Nationwide Arena. The problem, however, is that the early season results did not match the hype.
Blue Jackets fans have now proven this time and time again: If you want more fans to spend money on tickets rather than watching on television, you have to win.
Let’s look at a quick example from last year. The Jackets won their first game, which was away. Their second game was the home opener, which was sold to 105.9% of capacity (due to standing room only tickets). The second home game last season was the teams 5th game. By this time, they were 1-2-1, and Nationwide arena was at 101.3% capacity. By the time the 6th home game rolled around, the Jackets were sitting at 3-6-1, and the arena was at 60.7% capacity.
Now the rest of that example is well known. The team had a miraculous turnaround, pushed for the playoffs and ticket sales mostly increased game by game.
The point is this: The Blue Jackets fan base is a great one, but they aren’t going to spend money to see a team lose, which means the casual fan is not going to either. They can watch losses from their couch for free.
There is no greater atmosphere than a standing room only crowd at Nationwide Arena. I want to experience that with every game that I go to, and that is a lot of games. I am not alone. Everyone involved wants that sold-out atmosphere for every game, but the on-ice product has to draw the people there. Nothing else will. As John Davidson has stated may times, this team is being built brick by brick. Each brick put in place will make the team better, which will lead to wins.
To borrow an often overused cliché: …If you build it, they will come.