Saturday, January 13, 2007

Preds Dead?

In an article yesterday, I got some good news ... selfishly.

It appears the slow adoption of the Predators as a Nashville team is catching up to them. To summarize the article, lagging attendance, especially for an NHL league leader, could cost Nashville it's pro hockey franchise. Not only is the issue the direct revenue associated with paid attendance, but it is also the complicated formula based on home attendance that pays out league revenue sharing. Without the revenue sharing, the Preds would be dead.

Why would this make me happy? Because I think they have significantly cut into Vanderbilt's revenue both in ticket revenue and corporate sponsorships. Without question, the Predators leaving would be profitable for the Commodores.

Let me just go on record, I admire the Predators' marketing staff. I think they do a really good job of creating awareness, interest, and excitement once someone takes in a game.

But why is it not working? Many point to Tampa Bay, or Raleigh as southern towns that support hockey very well. Is it because they do not have NFL sucking the life out of them the entire year?

The talk radio crowd has been discussing this religiously and have been harping on what do do. The focus is on the business community not supporting the Preds through ticket sales. I think their corporate sponsorship levels are satisfactory, but the large blocks of tickets that are bought by local businesses in other markets are just not happening.

As I sit back, as I usually do in situations like this, I am thinking to myself what would I do? Right now, I do not know. I think something very radical has to be considered that is directly targeted at the Nashville business community.

By radical, I do not mean in the sales process, but radical in the product. What else could a hockey team do to encourage Nashville businesses to consider blocks of tickets to support their business efforts?

Business only Happy Hour prior to the game? Maybe like a Chamber event exclusive to ticketholders bought in a business' name? Or perhaps take some of the trends in club seating to all tickets in the lower bowl such as waiter service, wireless ordering of concessions, or exclusive entrance?

Just a little brainstorming. In my opinion, the issue lies in the product. Not the game presentation or the team performance, but rather creating more value for the business to meet their goals.

Take care.

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