A few days ago, I passed along reports that the Phoenix Coyotes only managed to sell about 1,800 season tickets for next season, so far. That number seemed ridiculously low – even for a team with as many problems as the Yotes – and the team refutes that number. Here’s more from the Phoenix Business Journal.
“The report is incorrect – the number is much higher. It’s also worth noting that renewal rates are higher than they’ve been in three years and new season ticket sales have already topped last year and are on pace to be better than the past few years as well,” said Coyotes spokesman Rob Crean.
Crean wouldn’t say how many season tickets the Coyotes have sold.
“We don’t release that information, but like I said it is significantly higher,” Crean said.
The Coyotes ranked last in attendance last season in the NHL averaging just under 12,000 fans at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, according to ESPN. The arena seats 17,100 for hockey. The Coyotes did see an attendance boost towards the end of the season and their first playoff appearance since 2002.
Who knows what counts for “significantly higher.” A thousand more? Three thousand more? Maybe 2,500 people signed up for season ticket deals?
Regardless, that 1,800 number did sound a little low.
Either way, the Coyotes’ sales will likely live and die with the team’s success. Sure, just about any sports team’s ticket sales (even Canadian ones) swell in size thanks to so-called “bandwagon fans,” but that holds especially true with NHL squads in “non-traditional” markets such as Phoenix. You can bet the league is rooting for Dave Tippett, Ilya Bryzgalov and the rest of the Coyotes to make good on their breakthrough 2009-10 campaign next season. Especially if the team’s protracted sale drags on into the 10-11 season, which seems like a growing possibility.