When the Chicago Blackhawks come to town it seems like their fans invade the place. They have a fan base that travels everywhere and they certainly make a scene in cheering for their team. Their new, crisp, Patrick Kane jerseys are easy to spot and they have been fans forever.
To fight the Blackhawk infestation, the Predators are now prohibiting single-game purchases on Blackhawk games in an attempt to “keep the red out.” If you want to buy a ticket to a Preds/Hawks game, you have to buy a ticket for another game. Fans from both sides have uttered their frustrations with the policy, citing that this type of policy is not fair and disrespectful of their fans.
UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT! This may be a frustrating policy for fans of both teams, but the plan should benefit the Nashville Predators in the long run. It should sell more tickets and the plan could keep traveling Blackhawk fans in the city of Nashville if they decide they want to buy both tickets.
I spent some time looking around the blogs for reactions to the policy. There are three misconceptions people have about the “keep the red out” promotion that people need to understand.
1. The Predators front office can do what they want.
Let’s not forget that the Predators are running a business. If they want to give tickets away, they can do that. If they want to make every ticket $1,000, they can do that as well. Whatever the Predators decide to do is an attempt to better them, the brand or their bank account.
2. The Chicago fan base goes everywhere. This isn’t a Nashville thing.
Chicago fans are using this new policy on Blackhawk games to tease Predators fans and their lack of attendance and support. When Blackhawks fans saw this, the immediate reaction was the Predators were scared of the Blackhawk fans coming into the arena and Nashville won’t be able to sell the place out with their own fans.
Somehow, the fact that Blackhawks fans are at the games means that the fans in Nashville aren’t good fans.
It’s a misguided argument. If Blackhawk fans want to go to see their team play the Predators, they will find ways to go. Stubhub, eBay and scalpers are going to be available for the Chicago fan. Just because the Blackhawks get their hands on tickets doesn’t mean that Nashville fans are slacking.
In Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, not only could you see the Blackhawk fans in the TD Garden, you heard a lot of cheering when they won the Stanley Cup. No one doubts the fandom of Boston. So why didn’t Boston fans “keep the red out?”
Because Chicago fans go everywhere and they take over whatever building they go to. When Nashville is the first team to attack their division rival with a move like this, other teams ticket offices are kicking themselves because they haven’t thought of it first.
3. This isn’t about “keeping the red out.”
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t think the front office is concerned about what fans are in the building. It is all about money.
Follow me on this. The Blackhawk games are going to sell out in Nashville, whether they are all Blackhawk fans or Predator fans. Chicago is the defending Stanley Cup champion, it’s a division opponent and they have star players on the roster. It is a premium ticket and will bring in money.
Usually, this type of ticket would call for a price increase on the game. It’s supply and demand of economics. If people want a product (in this case, a ticket to a hockey game) and there are only 17,000 tickets, the price will go up. The supply is low and the demand is high. But the Predators, who struggle with selling season tickets and multi-game packages to its fans, see this as an opportunity to sell one ticket for the price of two.
If the Predators created a policy that requires someone to buy more tickets, that means more money and tickets bought for games that aren’t so premium. The front office doesn’t care if people go on StubHub and sell the extra ticket. The ticket has already been bought.
Keep in mind that with the new alignment, Nashville will play every team in the NHL at least once. If the team isn’t a big draw, the Preds may or may not sell the game out. If a ticket for the game is tied to a premium game, Nashville will have an easier time selling tickets for the lesser games.
So whether you like the plan or not, understand that it is a business move by the Nashville Predators. And as a business, they want to make money. It’s a plan so crazy, it just might work.