Season Ticket Drive Thoughts

There is not a day that goes by that people don’t ask me about the season ticket drive. People hit me up on social media, text, email, and just about every hockey friend I run into asks me about it. I love that Seattle hockey fans are so excited about the possibility of an NHL hockey team coming to town. Let me share with you all the information that I DO know about the season ticket drive.

In a nutshell, I don’t know much on the ticket drive since not much has been announced since the league and city’s announcement on December 7th. What I do know is based on a combination of listening to everything that is being said publicly by people in the know, leveraging data and observed behavior of Vegas. I figured I would summarize my thoughts and findings here:

When will the season ticket drive launch?

No official timeline has been announced from OVG. Based on comments from last Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada, it would appear they want to put the Executive staff in place before finalizing and publishing any ticket drive timeline. That sounds like a February launch, but again, nothing official. I’ve been suggesting people to sign up for the NHLtoSeattle newsletter here. I don’t use it a lot, but intend to send out ticket drive details as more information is known.

Pricing & Down payment

Another hot topic is how much the tickets will cost. There has been no reporting or speculation on that…so let’s speculate. For starters, let’s look at tickets prices in Seattle for the NFL and MLB to get an idea on how Seattle stacks up as a sports ticketing market. The chart below plots the average ticket price by league and team.

NFL-MLB

As you can tell, Seattle as a market is right at the league median ($30 for MLB. $92 for the NFL). As a starting point, we might be able to anticipate Seattle’s NHL Ticket prices to be around the NHL median so now let’s look at the NHL ticket prices.

NHLticketprices

The median of the average ticket price is around $73 but as you can see, I teased out the Golden Knights to see how they compare as a first-year franchise with one of the smaller venues in the league. (The redeveloped Seattle Center arena will have close to the same capacity). Obviously, ticket prices will vary based on where you sit in the arena and as a good rule of thumb, I tend to think lower bowl between the blue lines could be double the average ticket price ($150 to $178), while upper deck could be half the average ($36 – $44).
As far as down payment or “pledge”, Vegas Golden Knights required a 10% commitment of the value of the season ticket package. This was refundable if the league chose not to expand to Vegas. I would anticipate something similar, so depending on your price point, multiply ticket price by the 44 games and then 10% of that would be your down payment.

Is there a sales target?

“Vegas wants hockey” was the Golden Knights ticket drive campaign. They had a stated goal of 10,000 season ticket holders when the campaign launched. To date there has been no reference to a goal for Seattle’s ticket drive. If there is one, I expect it to be announced by the time the campaign launches. No matter what the goal, I am fairly confident we will hit and hit it quickly. According to research I saw from Scarborough  from 2015, there is over 70,000 people “interested” in NHL season tickets in Seattle.

My recommendations for interested season ticket holders:

  • Join my mailing list. Once I find out more about the ticket drive, I will communicate Facebook, Twitter, blog and email. I don’t want interested folks to miss out.
  • Plan your season ticket plan. If you are like me, I am looking at creating a season ticket group that will sit together for games. Start talking with friends to make sure they sign up around the same time. I imagine there will be a process for selecting your seats based on when you sign up. In order to sit with or near friends, you probably need to get in the same window. I’ve also been talking to friends about full seasons, half season etc. I am already looking forward on having a draft to determine who gets what games.
  • Budget and Save. We are 30ish months away from buying our inaugural season tickets. I am a planner, so I am already putting money aside into my “NHL in Seattle fund”. I am sure I will be buying a jersey and going through plenty of face paint in the first season.

Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

NHL to Seattle Survey #1 Results

Thank you all who responded to last month’s survey. The # of responses exceed my expectations and some of the comments you all shared made me laugh and smile. If you would still like to respond, you can fill it out here & I will refresh the data every couple weeks. Here are the highlights:

Location

I asked your zip code to calculate where the audience comes from. No surprise, Seattle dominated the responses with 27.5% coming from the city limits.

cityview2

One slightly interesting note is that Tacoma had the 2nd highest response rate of all cities in the area. Note that not all responses were from people in the Seattle area. To get an idea of the high level of responses, I bucketed the responses in the following categories.

county breakdown

Favorite team

I’ve long said that Seattle hockey market is fragmented and so it is tough to know how big the community is here since there isn’t one team that people can talk about, watch at a bar or sport their merchandise. The results of the survey proved that out pretty well. All 30 NHL teams were represented and 2 former NHL teams were identified as “favorite teams”. I loved the write in votes for Seattle.

Favorite team

Vancouver on top shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. When Vancouver was in the finals, Seattle was a top 10 TV market for a few of the games (TV numbers didn’t even include the CBC fragmenting market).

Attendance Intent

attendanceIntent

Per the first bar graph at the top of the post, King County response volume doubled the sum of Pierce and Snohomish counties so although a comparable volume, it should be no surprise that King County will be the bulk of the ticket holder base. This should not be a surprise since King County has the highest population. Some interesting things about the data is the numbers outside the 3 main counties. Several people from Canada and a lot from Oregon mentioned that they would make several trips a year to check out games. On a related note, several people wrote in that they would cancel their season tickets in Vancouver if Seattle were to get a team.

Odds and ends

I could not include all the write in responses but here are some of the highlights. (I loved reading them all, even the one that said “screw Seattle, but the team in Louisiana.):

Best of luck from Massachusetts. Would love to see a team in Seattle. League is missing a major opportunity, great city, great fans.

Get it done!  I’m dying to root for my home team and to go to games!!

Go Seatlle, you’ll have a ton of people coming down from greater vancouver, just like we do for the seahawks

I love hockey but it is hard to get behind a team because I don’t have one that is local, I feel I would be much more engaged in the league and the sport if Seattle had a team.

I really hope the NHL brings a team to the Emerald City. A positive, supportive atmosphere would be sure to greet the team.

It’s time to bring the NHL to Seattle, guys like Akerley blocked it years ago, lets make it happen!

Let’s make this happen.  Not only for the highest level of professional sports, but for the growth of the game and benefits at the younger levels of the game.  For our kids!