On Tuesday, the goal horn echoed through Nationwide Arena, signifying not a goal celebration, but a celebration of a different kind.
That day, the Columbus Blue Jackets surpassed a goal by selling the 8,000th full season equivalent ticket plan for the upcoming season. The number is approximately 1,000 FSEs higher than the total sold last season and was hit two months prior to the start of the regular season.
John Browne, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Blue Jackets, told BlueJackets.com that a combination of factors, such as the Eastern Conference switch and the buzz surrounding the team at the end of last season, made fans want to "Join The Battle" as soon as possible to ensure their seats for this season's best match-ups.
Browne also credited the high rate of renewed season ticket holders as a key factor in reaching the 8,000 season ticket mark. As of this week, 92 percent of last season's season ticket holders either renewed or upgraded their packages for the 2013-14 season.
"People are excited and want to make sure they have great seats for all those games," said Browne. "Many fans are either buying a package for the first time or upgrading their package because they’re realizing that the package they have isn’t large enough for them to see all the different opponents and games that they want. That response is a combination of our team’s continued improvement on the ice - and the excitement about what’s going to happen this year - as well as the move to the Eastern Conference.”
Yet another key factor to explain the surge in season ticket sales was the club's ticket sales team, a dedicated group that has spent several late nights and weekends reaching out to fans and organizing various events with players, coaches and management.
"All of us that work in sports love what we do and there’s a level of ownership that it’s not just a job - it’s a real sense of pride and excitement," said Browne. "There’s a feeling that you get when you walk out in the building on a night when the building is sold out and there is a sense of pride and accomplishment that you were part of that. Our sales team is going to get to enjoy that feeling more frequently this year."
While the Blue Jackets ticket staff has reached the 8,000 season tickets sold mark, Browne and the sales team realize that there is still a lot of work to be done and are discussing what the next goal (season tickets sold by Opening Night) will be as fans continue to show excitement for their team.
Browne said that being two months ahead of their goal is encouraging, and it has the team excited to see what the coming months have in store.
"We’re thinking about a reasonable, realistic goal that we can set, but at the same time, one that we’re really going to have to continue to work hard at and really push ourselves toward," said Browne.
"I would encourage fans that haven’t purchased season tickets yet that are contemplating to do so. The best seat locations for the best games are going fast. Now’s the time to get in, secure those great seat locations and not only enjoy the regular season games from those locations, but hopefully a lot of exciting playoff games down the road as well.”
Fans will have multiple opportunities to purchase season tickets, including an Open House/Select-A-Seat event presented by Coldwell Banker King Thompson, and at Front Street Friday on Sept. 6.
Check back to BlueJackets.com for other ticketing events and opportunities over the coming weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about season ticket plans, click here.