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Blue Jackets face prospect of worst-ever season ticket sales

Jan 16, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

toughcrowdgetty Getty Images

The lockout postponed Columbus’ chance to host an All-Star Game, but that might not end up being the worst result for the Blue Jackets franchise. The team established an estimated season ticket fan base of just 7,000 for this season – the lowest in their history, according to Business First Columbus’ Jeff Bell.

Bell goes a little deeper to explain those troubling figures:

Those numbers are for “full-season equivalents,” which factor in tickets bought in full-season packages as well as partial-season plans. By my calculations, the 7,000 mark is the lowest in the history of the Blue Jackets, who made their NHL debut in 2000.

Blue Jackets president Mike Priest didn’t make excuses, instead acknowledging that the team needs to get better to draw fans into Nationwide Arena.

“Our product has to deliver,” Priest said. “It needs to be competitive and deliver the value commiserative with what you’re asking people to spend with you.”

One trip to the team’s Web site shows that they’re going all-out to fill the building for their home opener against the Detroit Red Wings on January 21.

Here is what also comes with one purchased ticket:

  • Another ticket to that game
  • A T-shirt
  • A hot dog
  • A Pepsi (no word on if you can sub a Mountain Dew for this EXTREME deal …)
  • Popcorn
  • A schedule magnet
  • A male and female of every species*

* – OK, the last bullet point isn’t true, but the other giveaways are totally real.

As you can see from this screen grab, the Blue Jackets also agreed to pay the nebulous ticket fees prompted by Ticketmaster for any ticket purchases through Jan. 21. (Eddie Vedder would probably approve.)


Hey, if the team itself hustles like this, things might turn around sooner rather than later.

Related: the Nashville Predators are doing their own two-for-one deal.

  1. valoisvipers - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Teams in Florida are offering 10 and 20 dollar tickets but in Winnipeg the cheapest Jets ticket is 71 bucks. Good time to be golfing in Florida.

    • truenorthjets - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      Don’t know where you get your information, but my tickets for the Jets are $55.50 for P6 seats, P7’s are cheaper still… Still crazy compared to these other drowning markets.

      • valoisvipers - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        Got that tidbit of BS from CTV sports news.Sorry for bad info!

  2. rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    No real surprise there. There are quite a few people like me who have CBJ season tickets that love hockey but could care less about the Blue Jackets. I think I’ve seen better hockey and a much better fanbase at University of Kentucky club hockey games.

  3. capesouth - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    It’s too bad but it just reinforces the obvious. They shouldn’t have a team. That franchise needs to be relocated.

    • travishenryskid - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      I don’t think it’s so much that Columbus shouldn’t have a team as that franchise needs to turn things around.There is decent hockey in Ohio compared to many other NHL cities, so they should be able to draw. The problem is how bad and uninteresting they are. They traded there only draw in Nash for mediocre pieces. They were dead last but didn’t even get Yakupov. Ryan Murray might end up being great, but he’s hardly inspiring. Their goalies are putrid. Howson, who has proven incompetent, is still running things. Would you buy season tickets for a franchise that is that far away? I wouldn’t.

    • reasonableperson1 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Dumb statement.

      Columbus is a strong hockey market that
      1. Has been fairly recently introduced to NHL hockey
      2. Been dealt with a horribly run franchise that has one playoff appearance in the past 11 years (and was swept at that)
      3. Just lost their star player and don’t really have any new stars to roll out
      4. Just lost the All-Star game because millionaires and billionaires couldn’t decide how to divide the loot

      Once the team starts winning the fans will flock, but to expect fans to blindly buy season tix when their team is in shambles and the league is coming off a lockout is a little bit absurd.

      This has NOTHING to do with where the franchise is located but instead with HOW the franchise has been run.

    • dbara43 - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      Yeah. “Seattle Blue Jackets” has a nice ring to it.

  4. nach0mancandysandwich - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    jeeze. i feel bad for those fans. but in all honesty i know losing nash is huge and looks unreplaceable but they got some nice pieces in return! they are much deeper for the trade!

  5. govtminion - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    So wait, putting a perennially bad product on the ice every season, making the playoffs once in over a decade of existence, and giving fans the finger for half a season eventually drives fans away?

    • ferrantej - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Only in Columbus – it works fine in Toronto.

      • axisofweasels - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        oh snap

  6. rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Capes, I agree. I live between Nashville and Columbus, and there is a staggering difference between the two fanbases. Nashville actually has a good, passionate fanbase while Columbus has bored people who just want some hockey. I feel if Columbus has even a minor amount of success that all of that could change, but I personally don’t see many wins for the jackets anytime soon. I hope I’m wrong.

    • contraryguy - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      You may be confusing boredom with disgust.

      So far I haven’t seen anyone mention the prior PHT article on the Jackets, about the ‘goalie competition’, between two stiffs that will likely struggle to get below 3.00 GAA; the notion that coach Richards thinks Mason has a good chance of being the starter again makes me cringe.

  7. rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I agree that they are deeper and appear to have a ton of potential on the blueline, but fans don’t come out to see a deep team, they come to see an all-star and exciting players.

  8. jakreidler - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Should’ve given Nash to the wings.. Would have gotten a much better return and I’d be willing to bet it would be a little easier to sell tickets to this one.

  9. valoisvipers - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    I think it is hard to develop a fan base when the team has been so poorly managed since their existence in the NHL. Now they have lost their franchise player and it’s a shortened season. Ouch I do hope that Jacket fans will return to see the new blood they got from NYR as it could be a breakout year for Arte and maybe Dubby too. A change in management is required ASAP.

  10. rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    They didn’t want to trade Nash to a team in their division.

  11. bcsteele - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Let’s all just be honest with ourselves: They are in hockey friendly area and should thrive. However, no matter how many ticket specials you run it will not fix the product on the ice, and as long as Howson and crew are in charge this organization isn’t going anywhere.

    AT LEAST, John Davidson is now there to do something about it but if the higher ups restrict his abilities they will be as equally screwed as they are now.

  12. tfaltin - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    I think there is still potential here. Ohio State now has hockey, and that will build the hockey base in Columbus, it’s only natural that those fans will turn to the pro ranks once they’re hooked. The product does need to improve for that to happen, but I believe it is. Murray’s injury is unfortunate, but he will be a franchise defenseman. They have a solid D-corps and have forwards that will be difficult for any team to play against. They’re going to be a blue-collar team in a blue-collar state and with solid effort and some more W’s I’d still give them a chance.

  13. hockeyfan1701 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I have been to training camp for the last 4 years. This was by far the most people I have ever scene at a CBJ training camp. It was standing room only for the first day. I hope this excitement goes forward into the season.

  14. ironmike778 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    In a perfect world the lockout should have resulted in the folding of about 5 teams. It’s painfully obvious but unfortunately money rules all. Common sense will never prevail.

  15. colonelfancy - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    To sum up how bad the Blue Jackets fans feel here, look up a clip of Jamie Benn ripping apart FOUR defenders on way to a goal after a turnover in there own zone. I live near Columbus, so they are the easiest team for me to follow, broadcast-wise, and I was a fan until they blew that pick on Nikita Filatov (Thanks, Scott!) when they should’ve nabbed Tyler Myers, then trading away my second favorite player, first Jackets pick Rusty Klesla, for a disinterested Antoine Vermette and some cashews. I watch occasionally, and they might be a harder working team, but unless Cam Atkinson becomes the speedy sniper he was in Boston College, they might not score or be exciting enough without winning.

  16. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    They should be able to sell that game out. Too bad for Columbus, half the fans will be wearing red and white. Having witnessed the end of the “dead things” era, I hope they turn it around.

    • rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Agreed, there are a ton of Wings fans in Columbus. There were a lot Wings fans in Nashville up until last year when the city really accepted and embraced hockey and the Preds. Being there for the playoff game in which the Preds eliminated Detroit was really something to see and was certainly an experience.

  17. lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    All I can say is, patience, CBJ fans. The Wild endured years of terrible or wasted picks and incredibly boring hockey. Cliff Fletcher came in and four years later we now have one of the best prospect pools in the league and will most likely be a contender within the next 3-5 years. Let the CBJ organization know how you feel about the management there but keep supporting your team. Davidson will be good for you guys.

  18. wingsfan05 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Ahhh Columbus. The Detroit Lions of the NHL

    • rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      Absolutely not. The Lions have a decent quarterback, a helluva receiver, and an absolutely evil D-line. The Jackets have…… a nice arena?

  19. ruddigervancity - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    “commiserative”: To feel or express sorrow or pity for; sympathize with.

    “commensurate”: Corresponding in size or degree; proportionate.

    Used the wrong word……or did he?

  20. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    If they had fired Howson, they would have increased ticket sales.
    Ownership is to blame for the mess that is Columbus and I don’t blame the fans one bit.
    Retaining Howson sent a signal to the fans, and this is their reply.

    The average Hockey fan know more about the sport than ownership of the Blue Jackets.
    The NHL is failing in Ohio and it’s not because of the fans, it’s 100% on the ownership, and it’s a shame

  21. hockeyflow33 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Was anyone else shocked that they even had 7,000 season ticket holders?

    • rich859 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      I’m still trying to wrap my head around a post about the Blue Jackets having 27 comments.

  22. phillyphannn83 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    And Flyers are offering…oh that’s right, good teams don’t have to do crap like this to get fans, although I’m jealous I have to pay full price and don’t get a hot dog and a Pepsi, lol.

  23. Jeff - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    NHL should just contract back to the Original 6

    • valoisvipers - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      So no Pens – Flyers games in Original 6, Leaf and Habs still wouldn’t make the playoffs LMAO Really Jeff Did you think about it before you spammed us with that.

  24. watchfullhose - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    I’d like to add that this is the SECOND All-star game Columbus has lost to a locked out NHL.

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