Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/16/06 at 09:48 AM ET
Are the Predators in this for the long haul? And do enough people in the area care about hockey and/or the Preds to make this marriage work in the long term? Frustration over the market's failure to fully embrace the Preds boiled over during the first round of the playoffs. When ticket sales stalled, Preds officials initially threatened to black out Game 5 in the local TV market. Team officials blamed lagging sales on the Nashville area business community, which was not buying blocks of tickets, as is standard operating procedure in most NHL markets. But the blackout blackmail left a mark. Some local business movers and shakers were alienated and are not likely to hop aboard any time soon. Elsewhere, there are signs of a ticket sales uptick among the rank and file, or Joe and Jill Fan, as Preds V.P. Steve Violetta calls them. Season ticket sales could pass 10,000 for the first time in several years. Yes, they're keeping score. After three years of declining attendance in the seasons before the lockout, Preds officials indicated attendance was up roughly 10 percent this season. But paid attendance — not including complimentary tickets, which often number well into four figures for weeknight games — remained below 13,000 a game.more about the battle between the City of Nashville and the Preds...
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