Predators prey on Blackhawks fans

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August 14, 2013 by Cups n Pucks

Paige Hall:

Blackhawks fans looking to follow their home team to Nashville next season may have a hard time getting their hands on tickets. Or will they?

According to Predators fan site Section 303, the organization is instituting a “Keep the Red Out” strategy in which it attempts to restrict ticket sales for games against the Stanley Cup champs to Preds fans. As seen over the last few years, whenever the Hawks pay a visit to Bridgestone Arena it turns to a “sea of red”, and apparently the Nashville Predators don’t appreciate it.

Blackhawks fans in Nashville

Nashville’s version of ‘The Bean’? (Photo: thehockeybroad.com)

This season, for the first time, fans (regardless of affiliation) will not be able to buy single game tickets to home games against the Blackhawks (November 16, December 17, and April 12). Instead, they will be required to purchase a ticket for a second home game as well – stretching the commitment of Chicago fans looking to road trip to Music City. The second hurdle: zip-code restrictions during pre-sale to ensure fans are local.

“For Blackhawks games, we want to make sure that we preserve this building as much as we can for those who live in Smashville,” says Nashville President and Chief Operating Officer Sean Henry.

Though I normally have a more emotional rationale when it comes to sports (as it seems Mr. Henry has), I can’t help but rip this idea apart using my business perspective.

With this said, here are a few reasons why this plan is stupid and not going to work the way they want:

The Predators are a business:
Chicago Blackhawks play the Nashville Predators

Hawks vs. Preds in a Sea of Red (Photo: CBS Sports)

Though a lot of people see sports as all fun and games, when push comes to shove it’s a business and the number one goal of a business is to make money (No brainer, right?). By putting obstacles between fans and the Predators’ piggy bank, “you’re gonna have a bad time”. Though that sea of red may make the Predators’ and their fans’ blood boil, they should actually be thanking them for filling their seats and putting money into the team, the arena, and the city of Nashville. This suggested plan attempts to punish Blackhawks fans but I don’t think it helps Predators fans at all. Even if Hawks fans swoop the majority of tickets from Ticketmaster, the official ticket broker of the NHL, they are not preventing Preds fans from purchasing their home game tickets on a secondary market. No matter which jersey ticket purchasers are wearing, the tickets are still being sold. I find it hard to believe that Hawks fans have honestly been preventing Predators fans from going to games. Maybe this a case of the Phoenix Coyotes in which out-of-towners are inevitably a huge source of revenue (rhetorical, don’t quote me on this).

Opportunity Cost:

To put it simply, there are other opportunities that the Predators are giving up by choosing to “keep the red out”. All of the restrictions they are making to keep Hawks fans out of 3 of 82 games have taken time, money, and effort to plan and implement. Instead of keeping paying fans out of Bridgestone, maybe they should take these resources to work on the team’s marketing, building the brand, and ultimately bringing in new, local fans. This strategy has such a negative focus. Is that what they want?

You know the phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them”? Maybe they should take a page from Wirtz’s book to find other ways to fill the stands with the right fans.

And the obvious…

StubHub:

I cannot remember the last time I purchased any sort of ticket (sports, music, whatever) from an official ticket broker. Do the Predators really believe that Hawks fans won’t buy their tickets on a secondary market? Come on. There is no such thing as “sold out”. Even when there are tickets still on Ticketmaster, the prices on StubHub are either the same or better.

Regardless of whether or not the Predators’ plan is a flop, I am truly interested to see how it all unfolds. Though I clearly see it as a bad idea, I would love to hear counter-arguments. Please leave us a comment and let us know why you agree, disagree, or have other reasons to add.

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