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Fans Need A Reason To Follow The Seattle Kraken

from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times,

In completely random surveys of my sports obsessed pals and colleagues, most are hard-pressed to name more than a Kraken player or two, if that. Brandon Tanev is somewhat the exception, what with his flowing hair and the eye-bulging face he made taking his team headshot. Combined with his hardworking approach and unexpected goal scoring, you can see why he’d stand out.

And goalie Philipp Grubauer’s name elicits a “Gruuuuu!” reaction from the home crowd when he stops a puck, so it’s probably a matter of time before even casual fans pick up on that. Not that they could pick him out of a lineup, but it’s a start.

One acquaintance, who owns season tickets to the Kraken and other local teams, bumped into Amy and me at a weekend event, and we mentioned her not knowing the players.

“Oh, you’ve got to come to a game,” he said. “It’s completely different once you’re inside the arena.”

Which is very true but misses the point. You have to give non-hockey-fanatic casual fans a reason to go to the arena in the first place. And judging by the empty seats I’ve increasingly seen among the sold-out 17,151 nightly attendance and the falling Kraken ticket prices on online resale exchanges, that hasn’t been quite as automatic as many expected.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: seattle+kraken

Comments

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The Kraken (or the league?) is alienating fans here in a big way.
I live 3-1/2 hours from a parking place for a Kraken game, and at least another 30 minutes to get to the actual rink, either by train or by walking. We are considered “in market”, which is a stretch, but its not as bad as Idaho and Montana have it!
Thus we are blacked out from watching 99% of their games on tv- even road games in Detroit?! I have an ESPN+ subscription but that does not help. Apparently they had a contract with ROOT TV prior to ESPN signing on with the league, which will have to run its course before “local” fans can see them from home. It seems likely to be a 4-5 year period for people to forget they exist.

Posted by pnwwing on 12/08/21 at 11:49 AM ET

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This was the whole problem with their expansion draft—how do you not put Tarasenko in a Seattle sweater? Seems like they overthought the process.

Posted by boylioncat on 12/08/21 at 12:12 PM ET

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A personality like Fleury - and his rejuvenated game
helped. GMs gifting Vegas picks and players on top of
other good players who were still available to be picked
led to both a talented roster and one with something to prove.
I might not care for some of it, but it seems like the team and game
was marketed effectively to new fans as well as born and raised
hockey nuts who’d relocated out west. I’m sure not having big league
competition helped.

I don’t know if the Kraken have an identity on the ice
or among general Seattle sports fans. Other than the novelty
that’s not quite as good as we’d hoped for the price?

Posted by lefty.30 on 12/08/21 at 03:06 PM ET

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The reality is the best way to create a solid fanbase is to win and do it with some consistency. I personally think it takes almost a generation to really build a fanbase. You want people who grew up as kids going to hockey games becoming season ticket holders and you want those same people eventually bringing their own kids to games. You need local hockey programs so even more kids and parents get exposed to the game.

Vegas was very fortunate. It was an almost ideal situation to start off on the right track. Expansion hadn’t taken place in awhile, the city had no other pro sports to compete with and there plenty of money in the city to act as partners. Their talent pool was pretty deep and ownership had no problem shelling out money when the time was right.

Seattle wasn’t so lucky. That doesn’t mean it can’t succeed but it has a lot of challenges to deal with. One of the biggest is expectations based on the Golden Knights’ success. It will be a test to see how the fanbase endures what could be a 10 year time frame to be truly competitive.

Posted by evileye on 12/09/21 at 10:08 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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