WINNIPEG - Hockey fans expecting sticker shock on NHL ticket prices didn’t have their jaws hit the floor today.
Good thing, as the level of support shown by fans in the province will be critical in gaining approval on the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment (TSNE) by the NHL’s Board of Governors at a meeting in New York on June 21.
Any franchise relocation or sale would need approval of 75 per cent of the league’s owners.
TNSE unveiled a ‘Drive to 13,000’ season-ticket sales campaign, which the organization feels will be an indication of the level of support in the community to the NHL.
Said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: "To be candid, this isn’t going to work very well unless this building is sold out every night."
Worth noting: the 13,000 figure wasn’t imposed on True North as a condition of the sale, but a figure the organization believed it needs to meet to make the franchise viable.
The season ticket price-range is also tasty for a discount town, ranging from $39 to $ 129 or a total of $1,755 to $5,805 per 45-game season.
"We spent a lot of time scrubbing those numbers, not only in this marketplace with our experience in the American Hockey League but through that and other NHL comparables in Canada," said Jim Ludlow, the President and CEO of TNSE.
"We think those ticket prices make a ton of sense, most particularly for folks in this marketplace. We need to be fair to our fans and our customers and with the effort we’ve put into that analysis, we think we’ve hit the sweet spot on ticket prices."
The Drive to 13,000 officially starts Wednesday at 1 p.m. with a presale to existing Manitoba Moose season-ticket holders, mini-pack holders and corporate advertising partners.
General public on sale opens this Saturday at noon but specific seat selection will not occur immediately – fans will commit to a number of seats and their price category with the designation of seats occurring after the drive to 13,000 is completed.