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Jackets expect record low attendance

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Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby RIBrownsFan » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:12 am

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sp ... ml?sid=101

Admittedly I am not that familiar with their particular situation, but would they be better off rebranding themselves as the Ohio Blue Jackets or something? I'm only in Cleveland every few months, but I've never seen any sort of presence from the team there, down to me never seeing any of their merchandise on sale at any of the area stores.

One of the mistakes the Whalers made was never really marketing in the southern part of the state of Connecticut. I'm not in Cleveland on a daily basis, certainly, but I do get that vibe with the Jackets and northeast Ohio, anyway...
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby swerb » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:51 am

There's no Blue Jackets vibe, at all, up here.

And despite the trumped up attendance figures from TMLP, the Monsters draw terribly as well.

This city is really just disgusted with sports as a whole right now. Had been trending that way ... and LeBron was the deathblow. Don't see any additional support for a 4th team coming anytime soon.

Part of it is the Jackets problem, they don't market at all up here. At all. Marketing and branding is clearly important.

It's a shame too. I was just down in the Arena district last Friday night with my son before the Ohio State/OU game. We stayed like a block from Nationwide. It's nice down there. That whole Arena District ... some really cool bars, restaurants, very clean and safe ... easy access to the other cool parts of downtown Columbus.

My interest in hockey as a sport has been revitalized, and I can't wait to make it down for a couple Blue Jackets games this season.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby RIBrownsFan » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:08 am

I guess I view their lack of marketing in Northeast Ohio as a huge mistake, especially in light of the current pathetic state of our three major league teams. If the Jackets have any kind of success, and were called "Ohio" or played a pre-season or regular season game in Cleveland, then I think the town would quickly rally around them.

And the NHL provides the opportunity for that as well as any of the other big four leagues. As bad as it's been for the Browns, they're only an actual quarterback away from contending. But who the fuck knows when they'll ever get one. When will we see the Indians in October again? 2012? 2013? And given none of the marquee superstars will ever stay or come to Cleveland in the NBA, it would seem that the Cavs best case scenario would be to emulate the Utah Jazz and just win 50 games every year so people will at least go to the games.

Given that outlook, the Jackets should at least make the attempt to gain a foothold in NE Ohio, IMO...
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby motherscratcher » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:20 am

I think maybe they don't market in Cleveland because they know it probably won't matter. Cleveland just isn't a hockey town, aside from maybe a very small group of hcokey fanatics.

I don't think it's anything anyone has against hockey, it's just been too long since we've been exposed to it. I don't think I know, or grew up with a single hockey fan. I don't remember any kids that I knew playing youth hockey. My school didn't have a team. I don't think most schools had a team.

The Monsters don't draw in part, I think, because Cleveland already has 3 Major Teams. People just aren't going to get excited about a minor league ANYTHING.

Personally, I like the idea of teh Jackets. They came to CBus when I was at OSU. I wanted them to do well. But I never actually went to a game, and I know very few people who ever did. And that was back when they were drawing well.

They can market up Cleveland all they want, I still don't think it's going to get many people to make the drive down 71.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby RIBrownsFan » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:48 am

Really I think Cleveland just wants a winner at this point. Cleveland is a basketball town and a baseball town when the teams are doing well. Otherwise, not so much.

I certainly agree about the Monsters. It's hard to sell a minor league product in a major league town, especially in a market where hockey is not followed closely.

Still, I think Columbus should be marketing to the entire state if they really want to have a chance to work in the long term. If the Whalers come back, I'd rather see them go to Columbus than actually be a relocated Columbus...
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby Love child of shawn kemp » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:01 am

I live in Columbus suburbs and have never paid for a ticket to see the Bluejackets and I doubt I ever will. I have gone to several games free, usually at least once a year including one game with Jungle Jack Hannah in the Columbus Dispatch suite which was cool. I try and watch some games on TV but the CBJ problem is the same as most Cleveland teams - they suck.(I say that lovingly as I will go to Browns games for life) The bottom line for me is, i did not grow up with hockey, never played hockey and care about hockey as much as I do soccer or the WNBA or pro lacrosse that has been in Columbus. I have no more room for new sports to follow with any high level of interest.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:48 pm

The Monsters draw excellent crowds for an AHL franchise. They were in the top ten of attendance last year for the AHL. The problem is that most of the tickets are freebies. All Cavs season ticket holders get Monsters ticket vouchers, so too do the ushers and all other employees. I believe they give vouchers away to youth organizations and other things. Last year, I went to about 15 of the 40 home games with my fiance. We paid for both of our tickets maybe twice. I know a guy who volunteers his time to take the plus/minus stats for the game and used his tickets a few times and I got vouchers for the other games. Jennifer got me tickets to opening night for my birthday. I expect that to be about the only game we pay full price for.

The Blue Jackets are a poorly run organization. The arena agreement cripples them financially and they've had one playoff season in 10 years. Not only that, they got swept in that playoff series. In a town like Columbus, where winning is the norm and often taken for granted, the Jackets cannot compete. Even the Crew win.

Fact is, nobody knows what the Jackets attendance figures will look like. They had an enormous drop in season tickets because people can buy tickets from scalpers at well below face value.

As Rich said, there is next to no carry over of CBJ fans in Cleveland. I follow them, they aren't even my favorite team. Hockey is a tough sell in Ohio. The ticket prices are some of the highest in professional sport.

Hockey's a game that's tough to understand and follow. The casual fan becomes disenfranchised with the speed of the game because they cannot follow the puck. There are also lots of whistles and stoppages of play that people don't seem to understand.

If CBJ changes their affiliation agreement to the Monsters in two years, when both of their current affiliation contracts are up, you may see a spike. Several Monsters fans on the shitty message boards at lakeeriemonsters.com don't want the team to be affiliated with CBJ for a myriad of reasons.

Tough sell on the Jackets. Losing doesn't help.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby StewieG » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:20 pm

What's funny is I'd actually love to watch them on TV, but they're blacked out here in Warren. You'd think they'd actually want people to see the games, but apparently not.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:04 pm

StewieG wrote:What's funny is I'd actually love to watch them on TV, but they're blacked out here in Warren. You'd think they'd actually want people to see the games, but apparently not.


You fall in the Pittsburgh market. The NHL is very very close-minded about market areas. Surprisingly, I can watch the Wings, Pens, or Jackets on AT&T U-Verse, but I think that's because they don't offer NHL Center Ice.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby StewieG » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:31 pm

I can't get Pittsburgh games either. We don't have FS Pittsburgh, and whenever they're on VS or whichever channel they're on, it's blacked out too. I'm in the Bermuda Triangle of hockey.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:08 am

StewieG wrote:I can't get Pittsburgh games either. We don't have FS Pittsburgh, and whenever they're on VS or whichever channel they're on, it's blacked out too. I'm in the Bermuda Triangle of hockey.


Talk about unfortunate. If you want, you can go to www.myp2pforum.eu and find a Justin.tv stream of a Jackets game in their NHL forum. It's usually pretty good quality.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby RickNashEquilibrium » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:29 am

ATDHE.NET is also good for live online coverage.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby StewieG » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:17 pm

Thanks! I'm not a huge hockey fan, but I do get the urge to watch sometimes, and it's frustrating not being able to.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby Cerebral_DownTime » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:24 pm

How does dropping "Columbus" in favor of "Ohio" do anything? They're called the "Columbus Blue Jackets" because they play in Columbus. They do have the Ohio flag on their sweaters....

Hey! Maybe try the "Ohio Blue Jackets of Columbus"?

I believe the true fans will still come out and support this team.

Go Jackets!
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby RIBrownsFan » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Cerebral_DownTime wrote:How does dropping "Columbus" in favor of "Ohio" do anything? They're called the "Columbus Blue Jackets" because they play in Columbus. They do have the Ohio flag on their sweaters....

Hey! Maybe try the "Ohio Blue Jackets of Columbus"?

I believe the true fans will still come out and support this team.

Go Jackets!


Just throwing an idea out there, dude. And hardly an unprecedented one at that. The NHL teams aren't called the "Miami Panthers" or the "Raleigh Hurricanes", the NBA team isn't called the "Salt Lake City Jazz", and the NFL team is no longer called the "Phoenix Cardinals." All of those franchises are using state identifiers in hopes of building a larger market.

Obviously wins and losses are most important in this equation, but whatever else the Jackets management is doing isn't working, as they're the ones expecting record low attendance. And like I said, I don't think a simple rebranding would be sufficient. They would need a presence in Cleveland and Cincinnati, be it pre-season games, regular season games, or what have you...

If they win more games, maybe it doesn't matter (though it hasn't helped the Coyotes attendance that much), but it just seems that they're doing themselves a disservice ignoring other markets in Ohio, especially when they're based in a region where hockey is not the most popular sport.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby Cerebral_DownTime » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:09 pm

People aren't going to drive from Cincy or NEO for hockey IMO. I'd be all for playing preseason games at other sites, but no regular season games.

I've been saying for a few years that they should do an outside game at the Shoe in the winter, I think they could get 70,000+ for that easily.

They come out and play some decent hockey and the walk up lines will be long.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby jack_tors » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:28 pm

Cerebral_DownTime wrote:
I've been saying for a few years that they should do an outside game at the Shoe in the winter, I think they could get 70,000+ for that easily.

They come out and play some decent hockey and the walk up lines will be long.


Another good reason for playing a game outside there is it wouldnt ruin the OSU field.

Gotta wonder if someone in the CBJ/OSU front office killed it or if the NHL would prevent it since they are trying to market the Winter Classic outdoor game as a marquee match up? I can guarantee I would drive down for an outdoor game at Shoe.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby RIBrownsFan » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:39 pm

Cerebral_DownTime wrote:People aren't going to drive from Cincy or NEO for hockey IMO. I'd be all for playing preseason games at other sites, but no regular season games.

I've been saying for a few years that they should do an outside game at the Shoe in the winter, I think they could get 70,000+ for that easily.

They come out and play some decent hockey and the walk up lines will be long.


That would certainly be a great idea, yes. Maybe if Bettman can stop putting Pittsburgh in it for five minutes maybe the Jackets will get that chance. I guess we'll see if the affiliation deal happens with the Monsters, and then see if that leads to pre-season games being played in Cleveland at least.

Like I say, the post was inspired in part by the Whalers making the mistake of not marketing in Southern Connecticut when they were here the first time. I'd hate to see Columbus trying to get a team back in 2025 because they didn't try to reach out to all of their potential fans in Ohio.
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Re: Jackets expect record low attendance

Unread postby Govbarney » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:22 pm

I am a Columbus Transplant from Cleveland (unfortunately). Really hoping for a good CBJ season (since its not looking to hot for the Cavs right now). I think what the CBJ need to do to gain some fans in the Cleveland area is make the Monsters there AHL affiliate. It be great if Monsters Fans could follow there fav. players to the NHL. Its really helped the Clippers the past two years being the Tribes AAA affiliate.
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