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Are the Ottawa Senators doing enough to maintain fan retention?

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Old
06-29-2012, 12:57 PM
  #1
ScotM
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Are the Ottawa Senators doing enough to maintain fan retention?

While on Twitter yesterday, I noticed an update on the Ottawa Senators official page with a tweet saying there was an open practice with the prospects at the Sensplex in Kanata and that that there would an autograph session after. The only catch to this is that you'd have to be a season ticket holder. This struck me as a little unfair. The practice was open to the general public, whether they were a regular ticket buyer or not, yet meeting the prospects immediately following the practices was restricted to only a select few.



This sort of thinking has been quite prevalent for at least as long as I remember and maybe comes down to time restraints or even maybe as a selling incentive for more people to want to choose the season ticket route for the added perks. Either way, it smacks of a raw deal for the rest of us.

Given the facts, season ticket holders get many other benefits, such as the chance to have their picture taken and get an autograph with a select player when they go pick up their tickets in early September. They also have an opportunity to meet many of the players mid season during a meet and greet that routinely centres around a skate on the ice and lunch with the owner and president Cyril Leeder.

Another season ending experience is the Shirts Off Our Back event where on the last home game of the year lucky season ticket holders get the jerseys worn by players and also get their jerseys signed and a photo with that player. Compare that to the autograph sessions regular fans get way out in the East end at a car dealership with the same 3 or 4 injured reserves and fourth liners every year and something doesn't quite add up.

When an article came out earlier this year stating that many small market teams rely so heavily on federal funding to stay afloat, one would think teams like the Ottawa Senators would be reevaluating ways to bring the hockey experience to more fans, not alienating them by offering special incentives to some, but not others.

As a cross reference, the other hockey team in Ottawa, the junior level 67's have numerous autograph sessions throughout the season where most, if not all of the team participates. An even better example of small market teams catering to all fan demographics can be seen in Edmonton, Nashville and Minnesota, where the Oilers, Predators and Wild hold public skates for under $10 (with proceeds benefiting local children's hospitals) and free autograph sessions with the entire team.

Clearly there's a divide here and it's continued widening is of concern not only to me, but to countless other fans who just can't afford to pay thousands of dollars a year to be a part of the elite group of season ticket holders. In an era where revenue is on the rise, while small market teams still continue struggle to keep their heads above water, something has to give.


Last edited by ScotM: 06-29-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old
06-29-2012, 01:01 PM
  #2
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You have to have some additional perks to being a season ticket holder in order to incentive more fans to become season ticket holders.

With that said, they are building a young exciting team that is and will be very entertaining to watch. They may even have what it takes to win a cup or a few, depending on how the prospects pan out. All it is is entertainment, so if you are not entertained spend your money elsewhere.

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06-29-2012, 01:04 PM
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I'm a STH and have no interest in meeting any of the players. Want to go for me?

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06-29-2012, 01:05 PM
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The general idea is that if you care so much about getting these benefits, buy a season ticket package.

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06-29-2012, 01:06 PM
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If I spend thousands of dollars a year at AMC watching movies, I get a bunch of free movies. If I spend thousands of dollars at Loblaws (and have their bank account), I get a bunch of free groceries every year.

If I spend thousands of dollars a year at SBP watching hockey games, I get a bunch of free stuff, too.

Businesses reward customers who loyally continue to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their products/ services. I have no idea why the Senators would be any different.

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06-29-2012, 01:07 PM
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Last year I just went as a non sth. They don't check. They only check at the start of scrimmage to give sth's priority for the sensplex seating.

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06-29-2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Senators Fan View Post
I'm a STH and have no interest in meeting any of the players. Want to go for me?
done!

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06-29-2012, 01:10 PM
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I am not a season seat ticket holder and I agree there must be perks to forking over that much money per season.

The thing that does bother me is that most open autograph signing sessions are announced late and almost always in the Kanata area. It seems to me that the Senators forgot that there is a huge base of fans outside of the rich folks in Kanata.

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06-29-2012, 01:10 PM
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I just wish I got my Filip Kuba autograph before he left for good

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06-29-2012, 01:15 PM
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There will always be extra perks for the people who spend the most money. That's life.

Quote:
Clearly there's a divide here and it's continued widening is of concern not only to me, but to countless other fans who just can't afford to pay thousands of dollars a year to be a part of the elite group of season ticket holders. In an era where revenue is on the rise, while small market teams still continue struggle to keep their heads above water, something has to give.
Season tickets start at $880, and just about the entire 300 level (save the first seven rows of six sections) is available for under $1600. I'm not telling you to suck it up and loosen the purse strings, I'm saying that the barrier to entry isn't as high as you're making it out to be. It may be more than you can afford right now, but it's hardly "thousands of dollars".

Yeah, it sucks that fan devotion isn't factored into these sorts of things, but you said it yourself - these teams are businesses and out to make money, and the small market teams have a rougher go of it. One of the ways they increase their margins is by having a ton of perks for the people who commit to the entire season.

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06-29-2012, 01:21 PM
  #11
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Average it out though for a family of 4. If you spent even half the amount on game worn autographed jerseys from online auctions or autographed 8 x 10s off Ebay, you'd still have a boat load of money left over for half a dozen 200 level seats against some of the leagues better teams.

I'm honestly hoping that entry above doesn't come off as being bitter. I've met most of the players, have autographs and photos, even considered putting my signed jersey up on Ebay.

The point isn't the ability to meet these players, it's that this small market team scrapes by almost every year and is almost giving tickets away in the Coca Cola zone (which are decent seats), while alienating one set of fans to benefit another.

In the last 10 years, the fan experience and the game in general has greatly deteriorated. I met Alfie, Spezza, Karlsson and Michalek last year at the All Star fan fest, but it wasn't as easy for other fans. Security was exceptionally ******* and permitted very few people, kids especially from talking to or getting pictures with players. It wasn't so much a fan fest as it was a media circus.

I saw fans crying and being held back while Sens players were walking the floors of the Convention Centre. Luckily I was able to catch Karlsson and Michalek coming out of the Sirius Satellite radio pavilion or I wouldn't have gotten anything but a 8 x 10 that 1000 other people got. Wait in line for two hours to see Spezza only to be told at the front, no personal items. That's not catering to the fans, it's a spectacle. The sooner the league puts the fans first, the better chance small market teams will have of surviving.

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06-29-2012, 01:26 PM
  #12
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They streamed a damn prospect game, as a fan of hockey in the summer this pleases me immensely

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06-29-2012, 01:28 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsonscave View Post
I am not a season seat ticket holder and I agree there must be perks to forking over that much money per season.

The thing that does bother me is that most open autograph signing sessions are announced late and almost always in the Kanata area. It seems to me that the Senators forgot that there is a huge base of fans outside of the rich folks in Kanata.
This too. I was working at Best Buy in Kanata last year and Foligno was at the SportChek right next door. He was there from 1-3pm, I believe. I was working until 6pm, by the time I got home at 6:30pm, the Sens page had posted he'd been at that location. It was a really stupid idea to post it at all, but to make mention over 4 hours later.

This organization does a lot of things right, especially development of prospects, but their PR and the way they treat their so called regular fans leaves a lot to be desired.

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06-29-2012, 01:29 PM
  #14
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dont forget you can be considered a STH for just about 300$...thats 22 games of hockey for 300$ and yes you get pretty much every single perk a full 41 game STH does.

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06-29-2012, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
Average it out though for a family of 4. If you spent even half the amount on game worn autographed jerseys from online auctions or autographed 8 x 10s off Ebay, you'd still have a boat load of money left over for half a dozen 200 level seats against some of the leagues better teams.

I'm honestly hoping that entry above doesn't come off as being bitter. I've met most of the players, have autographs and photos, even considered putting my signed jersey up on Ebay.

The point isn't the ability to meet these players, it's that this small market team scrapes by almost every year and is almost giving tickets away in the Coca Cola zone (which are decent seats), while alienating one set of fans to benefit another.

In the last 10 years, the fan experience and the game in general has greatly deteriorated. I met Alfie, Spezza, Karlsson and Michalek last year at the All Star fan fest, but it wasn't as easy for other fans. Security was exceptionally ******* and permitted very few people, kids especially from talking to or getting pictures with players. It wasn't so much a fan fest as it was a media circus.

I saw fans crying and being held back while Sens players were walking the floors of the Convention Centre. Luckily I was able to catch Karlsson and Michalek coming out of the Sirius Satellite radio pavilion or I wouldn't have gotten anything but a 8 x 10 that 1000 other people got. Wait in line for two hours to see Spezza only to be told at the front, no personal items. That's not catering to the fans, it's a spectacle. The sooner the league puts the fans first, the better chance small market teams will have of surviving.
I just... I don't think you understand how the world works these days. This is the same as every other professional franchise in north america.

Why should this be any different?

Fact is, our season ticket base is the lowest among canadian franchises. They HAVE to give extra incentive to be a season ticket holder.

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06-29-2012, 01:33 PM
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I'm a season ticket holder and I would rather not mingle with you plebians at these events.

Thank you Senators organization for cutting out the riff raff.

Now to enjoy a fine cigar lit with a $100 dollar bill.

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06-29-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
Average it out though for a family of 4. If you spent even half the amount on game worn autographed jerseys from online auctions or autographed 8 x 10s off Ebay, you'd still have a boat load of money left over for half a dozen 200 level seats against some of the leagues better teams.
Why does hockey (or anything else) get deemed "too expensive" once it exceeds what we assume a family of 4 can pay? A flight to Tokyo for a family of 4 at the end of the summer will cost $8100. Should Air Canada just lower their fares so families of four can go experience Tokyo, or should these families just go do something that's in their price range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
The point isn't the ability to meet these players, it's that this small market team scrapes by almost every year and is almost giving tickets away in the Coca Cola zone (which are decent seats), while alienating one set of fans to benefit another.
So they're "giving tickets away" in the Coke Zone to keep the things affordable for people who don't have a lot of disposable income, but they're alienating people who don't have a lot of disposable income by keeping the perks for the people who commit the most money? I don't see how it can be both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
In the last 10 years, the fan experience and the game in general has greatly deteriorated.
I've only found it to be getting better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
I met Alfie, Spezza, Karlsson and Michalek last year at the All Star fan fest, but it wasn't as easy for other fans. Security was exceptionally ******* and permitted very few people, kids especially from talking to or getting pictures with players. It wasn't so much a fan fest as it was a media circus.

I saw fans crying and being held back while Sens players were walking the floors of the Convention Centre. Luckily I was able to catch Karlsson and Michalek coming out of the Sirius Satellite radio pavilion or I wouldn't have gotten anything but a 8 x 10 that 1000 other people got. Wait in line for two hours to see Spezza only to be told at the front, no personal items. That's not catering to the fans, it's a spectacle. The sooner the league puts the fans first, the better chance small market teams will have of surviving.
oldmanyellsatcloud.jpg

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06-29-2012, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChocolateLeclaire View Post
I'm a season ticket holder and I would rather not mingle with you plebians at these events.

Thank you Senators organization for cutting out the riff raff.

Now to enjoy a fine cigar lit with a $100 dollar bill.

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06-29-2012, 01:44 PM
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I just... I don't think you understand how the world works these days. This is the same as every other professional franchise in north america.

Why should this be any different?

Fact is, our season ticket base is the lowest among canadian franchises. They HAVE to give extra incentive to be a season ticket holder.
I understand. And my point was not to get into a debate about economics. But if you wish to take that route I'd also point out that with the exception of the Canucks (who made it to the finals in a game 7) and the Jets, who have just rejoined the league, we are the only modern era Canadian team without a Stanley Cup banner.

Yes the Sens do have historical moments, but they do not have a history. There is no reason for this team to charge substantial amounts for such entertainment and given the way patrons are treated by event staff for getting a little noisy and cheering on the home team it's a miracle the fan base hasn't suffered more.

I agree that if I'm looking for more of a fan experience, I'd likely go see the 67's more often, but for a professional sports team seeing some of the best players in the world, it seems at times the organization could treat it's fan base a little better.

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06-29-2012, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChocolateLeclaire View Post
I'm a season ticket holder and I would rather not mingle with you plebians at these events.

Thank you Senators organization for cutting out the riff raff.

Now to enjoy a fine cigar lit with a $100 dollar bill.
I didn't know $100 bills could self ignite

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06-29-2012, 01:49 PM
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They streamed a damn prospect game, as a fan of hockey in the summer this pleases me immensely
Same here. I followed the camp online the entire time and the stream was a very nice surprise.

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06-29-2012, 01:50 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChocolateLeclaire View Post
I'm a season ticket holder and I would rather not mingle with you plebians at these events.

Thank you Senators organization for cutting out the riff raff.

Now to enjoy a fine cigar lit with a $100 dollar bill.
I thought the new maple syrup smelling plastic $100 bills were indestructible...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
But if you wish to take that route I'd also point out that with the exception of the Canucks (who made it to the finals in a game 7) and the Jets, who have just rejoined the league, we are the only modern era Canadian team without a Stanley Cup banner.

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06-29-2012, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ScotM View Post
I understand. And my point was not to get into a debate about economics. But if you wish to take that route I'd also point out that with the exception of the Canucks (who made it to the finals in a game 7) and the Jets, who have just rejoined the league, we are the only modern era Canadian team without a Stanley Cup banner.

Yes the Sens do have historical moments, but they do not have a history. There is no reason for this team to charge substantial amounts for such entertainment and given the way patrons are treated by event staff for getting a little noisy and cheering on the home team it's a miracle the fan base hasn't suffered more.

I agree that if I'm looking for more of a fan experience, I'd likely go see the 67's more often, but for a professional sports team seeing some of the best players in the world, it seems at times the organization could treat it's fan base a little better.
1) I'm not a business wiz or anything, but I think rewarding your best customers is probably a good idea.

2) There have been several posts in this very thread illustrating the cost required to become a season ticket holder. (Hint: its not that much.)

3) I'm sorry you have a family of four and the price is now prohibitive for you. That's too bad, but I'm sure having children is rewarding in it's own way for you.

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06-29-2012, 01:57 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by Buck Aki Berg View Post
Why does hockey (or anything else) get deemed "too expensive" once it exceeds what we assume a family of 4 can pay? A flight to Tokyo for a family of 4 at the end of the summer will cost $8100. Should Air Canada just lower their fares so families of four can go experience Tokyo, or should these families just go do something that's in their price range?



So they're "giving tickets away" in the Coke Zone to keep the things affordable for people who don't have a lot of disposable income, but they're alienating people who don't have a lot of disposable income by keeping the perks for the people who commit the most money? I don't see how it can be both.



I've only found it to be getting better.




oldmanyellsatcloud.jpg
Maybe because while ticket prices are going up and professional athletes are making millions of dollars job wages are staying the same or decreasing. But I digress, again that's economics.

I don't see what going on holiday has to do with paying to watch a hockey game. The product on the ice has greatly deteriorated. Scoring is down, few teams have 2 solid lines, never mind 4 like they did back in the early 80's. Yes the game is faster, more physical, but that doesn't necessarily equate to better.

My point about the Coca Cola zone tickets was if they had a bigger fan base they would sell out more games and wouldn't need to charge so much on other ticket prices which would likely keep merchandise and concession prices down, which would in turn bring in more revenue.

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06-29-2012, 02:00 PM
  #25
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Originally Posted by AndrePetersson View Post
I thought the new maple syrup smelling plastic $100 bills were indestructible...



Pre 1930's championships are great and the banners do fill out the rafters quite nicely, but they're not very relevant to the modern era since none of us were alive to witness them.

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