Speaking of season ticket sales, the current status of the Buffalo Sabers at the box office is a lot like expectations on ice: optimism is finally trickling in but there’s still plenty of work to do.
Season tickets will be on sale until December On a pro-rata basis, but an early estimate of base growth is currently around 20%, which the club says was among the NHL’s top ten in sales over the past season. Of course, Sabers have a lot more inventory available than most teams in the league.
Cypress declined to give specific figures for current sales because they are ongoing. The team revealed the number of season tickets last year at around 6,500 during the home opening week in October, but a 20% jump would put that number around 8000 now, six weeks before the season begins.
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The season ticket base was in the 16,000 range for the 2017-18 season, but a combination of drought and the Covid-19 pandemic drove a pit last season to the lowest level in franchise history, when the Cypress finished 31st in overall attendance at 9,997 per game, ahead of Ottawa. Just.
But that number is up due to the Heritage Classic in Hamilton, Ont. Without these numbers, the sword would have been the last time in the league.
The Sabers says tickets for individual games will go on sale next week, with Tuesday being the target day. As seen on the hockey side as the scouting division grew, the team added staff to the ticketing and sales team to the general public and holders of premium seats such as club level and wings.
All indications are that the 2021-22 season was the starting point in the presence of Cypresses. Many accounts have been suspended due to the pandemic, including most of the 1,200 or so accounts from Canadian members, and the team is slowly working to get those fans back and give an immediate boost to the overall numbers.
“We are really heading in the right direction and we still have a lot of work to do,” said Frank Patrice-Landita, Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service. “The building has a capacity of 19,000 people, so keep working.”
Last October was perhaps the bleakest month at the box office in franchise history. Just over 7,300 tickets were sold for the entertainment win over Montreal, and it appears that the indoor count for some of the other games in the first month of the season was less than 5,000. Patrice-Landita said things should look drastically different this season, starting with the season opener. October 13 vs Ottawa.
“I remember saying to employees last year, ‘Take a mental picture of what it looks like tonight, because I can guarantee that the work that lies ahead, won’t look the same a year from now,'” Patrice said. – Landita, in his second year with the Sabers after eight years in sales with the San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils.
“The way things are going and what we’re expecting on opening night this year is going to look very different. Having 7,000 people here (at the 2021 opening) as a salesperson and obviously a sports fanatic, was like a hard pill to swallow. But it was the reality of the situation.
“Last year, we’ve been working on getting it back. That’s the motto we have on the hockey side, and that’s the motto we have at ticket sales.”
The action really started in the last 28 games of the season, with a 16-9-3 record that included a Heritage Classic win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and impressive victories over Nashville and Chicago in front of a sold-out crowd to honor Janner.
“It gave me goosebumps and gave me hope,” Patrice-Landetta said. “That’s why I moved from San Jose to here. In sports and sales we have to sell hope for next season, no matter where you are in the standings. So, the way the team played definitely helped. People are just getting excited about the team and what it’s doing (General Manager Kevin). Adams and coach Don Granato)”.
Flexibility is the key word the team uses in their sales pitches. Fans can always get a full season plan of 41 regular season games and three pre-season competitions, but there are now many other options.
Patrice-Landetta said: Half-season plans of 22 games It has generated a tremendous response. The “Royal” plan includes the opening game against Ottawa and the January 19 game against the New York Islanders that will be preceded by Ryan Miller’s shirt retirement party, while the “Golden” plan includes the December 1 game against the Stanley Cup champions Colorado. The February 21 game against Toronto will be the Leafs’ only visit of the season. Prices at level 100 for those plans start at $54 and start at $25 for level 300.
The team also presents Triple of quarter-season plans from 11 games which features a weekend, weekday, or “all-star” plan for VIPs and will offer customizable plans starting with No more than five matches.
“We wanted to add some flexibility,” said Patrice-Landetta. “We’ve heard a lot of the members and that’s what they wanted and the response to our mid-season plans has been fantastic.” “It’s essential to give them different ways to use their packs. It can’t be one-size-fits-all. We need to find customizable ways for members to attend games.”
Season ticket benefits are also growing. The team added a “Draw the Ice” day after last season and introduced a program called Blue and Gold Visions that allowed members to interact with players and Adams. This month’s Ticket Trade will be rolling out for fans to get tickets for different games if they can’t use their games, and there’s now also a Season Ticket page on Facebook.
The Super Bowl at the Buffalo Bills, which has a season ticket base of 60,000, could make Sabers tickets a tough sell in the first half but the team doesn’t view that as a negative.
“We are all very excited to see what the Bills can do and hopefully bring this Super Bowl here,” said Patrice Landita. “We are going to be pushing on the hockey side, especially with some of the initiatives we have here early in the season, to create that excitement and make sure that people know that hockey is here. And we want people to know the young and exciting team we have on the ice is a great reason to come.”
The Sabers recently lost a key member of their sales and ticketing team, as John Durbin, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Strategy at Pegula Sports and Entertainment, announced last week He started as a commercial manager for FC Cincinnati in the United Soccer League.
Sources said Durbin’s departure had been expected for several months as he had been planning to return to Ohio to be closer to family. He started in 2014 as Director of Marketing at Sabers and has moved through the company ever since.