People always say we ignore the Western Conference (we do), so today let’s talk about the Anaheim Ducks.
Back in October, the Ducks lost their season opener 6-1 to Colorado. That’s not exactly how a team wants to ring in a new year. You know they had a post-game talk about shaking it off, getting back out there are starting over.
Did they ever.
Right now Anaheim is first overall in the NHL with a 35-8-5 record. They are 19-0-2 at home, making a run at the League’s longest-ever home point streak to start a season (26 by the Flyers in 1979-80) [link]. In those 21 home games, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 81-39.
That’s a lot of cheering, quacking or however you want to celebrate.
The Ducks have 21 home games left this season. They can’t/won’t always win at home (or can they?), but they’re probably going to keep doing it on the regular. Might you like to see some – or maybe 10 – games in which you’re virtually guaranteed an overwhelming amount of success?
Yours – for $17.
Anaheim, for all those home wins, currently ranks 20th in home game attendance at 93.9% [link]. According to Team Marketing & Hooked on Hockey they have the 7th lowest average face value ticket price in the League. The Ducks also match the highest minimum beer price at $9.50. Cruel.
Part of me wants to scream, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, SOCAL?” That part of me yells a lot (and lived in LA, so it has history). Instead of indulging the knee-jerk reaction of hockey fans who can’t understand people that aren’t hockey fans, I actually think this is great.
Hockey needs more fans. In so many markets, and America overall, that generally means new fans. Drawing new fans requires a perfect storm of winning (bandwagoners welcome) and reasonable ticket prices. Sure the Ducks would love to fill 118.5% of their seats like Detroit. But how to do that? It’s not sell tickets to corporations, as so many top market teams do.
The Ducks have to make fans.
Don’t mistake: Anaheim has loyal fans. Some were chirping me last night about why my team can’t catch theirs in the standings. I know, dammit! Last year, Bleacher Report ranked Ducks fans #3 in “NHL Fanbases Least Likely to Return” after the lockout – they were wrong.
The Honda Center is also known for drawing lots of visiting team support. I last went to a Pens game there in ’09 that was 25%+ Pittsburgh fans. This Ducks fan noted it at last week’s Bruins appearance. Those are marquee out-of-market teams though, and they don’t come around every week. The Ducks would rather it be tough for visiting fans to make so much noise.
Consistency helps. After finishing second in the west last season, Anaheim is having another huge year on-ice. With luck it will yield a big jump in the stands as well. The Ducks are headed toward the playoffs like a rocket, and people could see it all for about the cost of an IMAX movie. I hope they will. I hope the Ducks get a point in every home game this season. They can win into the Cup final if they want, then lose to the Penguins (obviously). But mostly I hope their winning and marketing combine to create lots of new hockey fans.
Perhaps just say: “Tickets start at $17 – so you can afford the beer!”
ICYMI: Teemu Selanne will play in Sochi for his 6th Olympic Games. He debuted at Albertville in 1992. If you did something every four years – say, graduate from college – since 1992 imagine what you could be doing right now.
It wouldn’t be blogging.Tags: Anaheim Ducks