The Blue Jackets’ on-ice success has translated into box-office success going into the 2013-2014 season.
After playing the best hockey in franchise history during the second half of the shortened season, the Blue Jackets have seen a surge in ticket sales over the past few months.
Though the Blue Jackets started the first half of the season in 30th place with a 5-12-2 record into late February, the team’s exciting 19-5-5 run to close out the second half of the season captured national attention. With a good balance of seasoned veterans, rising young stars, new acquisitions and a hot goaltender you may have heard of named Sergei Bobrovsky, the team ended the season in dramatic fashion, missing out on the playoffs and the eighth spot in the Western Conference in a tiebreaker.
Over the course of the season, the energy and excitement of the Blue Jackets’ improved play created a significant buzz around Columbus and fans fed off their team’s on-ice energy. The team sold out its final home game with a standing-room only crowd of more than 19,000 fans and came close to selling out several more down the successful end-of-season stretch. The building’s game-time energy is something fans, players and Blue Jackets organization hopes will continue into next season.
That energy is the main reason why new season ticket holder Dustin Biddle, one of hundreds of fans to commit themselves to the team by buying season ticket packages, made the decision to purchase season tickets with a friend.
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“My favorite part of [Blue Jackets] games is when the arena is packed and there is energy in the game,” said Biddle. “When fans are passionate and there is the emotion of having fans from division rivals in the building, it creates emotion, excitement and energy.”
These division rivals for Blue Jackets will be different from the rivals they have faced since their NHL debut in 2000. The Blue Jackets will make the switch from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-2014 season, a change that will reduce travel and increase fans’ broadcast access for road games.
Biddle cited this switch as another deciding factor to purchase his season tickets.
“Because the Eastern Conference is now a stacked strong conference with lots of exciting games going on, becoming a season ticket holder was an easy decision,” said Biddle.
Biddle also saw the excitement from the Blue Jackets team, organization and fans, and wanted to become more involved as a season ticket holder.
“We have always just been the casual Blue Jackets fans,” said Biddle. “We wanted to step up from being the casual fan to being more dedicated fans. We’ll be immersed in the team more by seeing them practice and coming to more games as season ticket holders.”
A perk of being a season ticket holder is additional access to the team. Season ticket holders are allowed to attend exclusive team practices, attend team meet-and-greets and have access to team- and player-signed items.
Paul Gosse became a season ticket holder for the first time because his son will get to meet and see his favorite hockey players up close at these exclusive events.
“I saw the delight in my son’s eyes when he goes to the games in person and gets to see the players he watches on TV and sees in his XBOX games,” said Gosse. “The team goes the extra mile for their season ticket holders and I was impressed by the team-wide effort at the games we attended.”
With the exciting environment surrounding the Blue Jackets heading into next season, Gosse hopes that these various factors will influence people to go to hockey games and become Blue Jackets fans.
“People in Ohio in general should come out more and watch a Blue Jackets game,” said Gosse. “If (more new fans) experience the energy of what it’s like, they’ll come back.”