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Free Concessions Save Fans $700,000

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins - When the Bruins started the season on January 19, that was a benefit in itself. NHL hockey was back in New England, and the B's players, coaches and staff were excited to kick off the 48-game season.

Through the month of January, fans donning their Black & Gold were treated to a 5-1-1 record in the B's first seven games, five of those at TD Garden - and four of them wins.

But off the ice, fans were also given added benefits - benefits that amounted to more than $700,000 saved.

Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs hands out free concession vouchers at Boston's first home game of the season.

The Bruins announced various fan initiatives heading into the 2012-13 campaign, including merchandise discounts and unique giveaways like the chance to fly on the team charter with the team for an away game.

Among these benefits was a commitment to give free concessions vouchers to all fans at the Bruins' five home games during the month of January. All in all, more than 130,000 free concession vouchers were distributed, saving fans more than $700,000.

"There are a number of programs that you’ll notice throughout the season, not only January, that we’re going to do on behalf of our fans in order to embrace them, frankly, for their patience and reward them for their returning to our game," Bruins Principal and Alternate Governor Charlie Jacobs said prior to Opening Night at TD Garden. "We've got retail discounts and we’ve got food and beverage items to give for free. And we expect that those will be able to really reach out to our fan base in ways that they can really connect with."

The concession vouchers enabled each fan to receive three complimentary food or non-alcoholic beverage items from a select menu. The estimated totals for each item given away throughout the five games are astounding to mention. At the end of the fifth game on January 31, TD Garden estimated that 36,111 fountain sodas; 27,364 hot dogs; 19,472 cups of popcorn; 18,720 sausages; 17,640 slices of pizza; 5,666 healthy wraps; 4,512 bags of peanuts; 3,230 bags of chips; and 1,291 jumbo home-cooked meatballs were given away free of charge to B's fans flooding the Garden.

"It's something that our ownership believes that we should be doing," Bruins President Cam Neely said during a press conference to kick off the season on the morning on January 19. "And there's no question, to be able to come in here for the games in January, and get the benefits and concession vouchers, is certainly something that makes sense for us to do and hopefully our fans will appreciate that because we certainly appreciate them."

And through those games, the Bruins saw their sellout streak reach 134 consecutive games - a streak that began more than three years ago on December 5, 2009 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"To be candid, we experienced some years here where we didn’t really have all that much goodwill," said Jacobs back on January 19, in reference to the ups and downs of the team through the years. "It took a long time to build up that equity, if you will, of goodwill. I feel it’s still there in this market, and I’ve actually experienced it firsthand. We're so fortunate to have a market like Boston—I say Boston, but it’s really New England’s team."

"When we had our Cup run, I can remember taking the Cup up to both New Hampshire and Vermont and all the way down to Rhode Island. There’s a big footprint of what I call “Bruins Nation” out there, and again, I just feel like we’re very fortunate so have such base of people to draw upon. We are a market, but we really represent the region, I feel."

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