‘Canes enjoying stronger ticket sales, but ‘fence-sitters’ still need convincing

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The team that finished dead last in NHL attendance last season is enjoying a stronger summer of ticket sales.

Carolina Hurricanes president Don Waddell spoke to the News & Observer recently and shared the encouraging news:

Compared to this time last year, new season-ticket package sales are up about 40 percent and overall ticket sales revenue is up about 60 percent, Waddell estimated on Monday. 

Waddell also said the team’s existing season-ticket member (STM) renewal rate stands at 90.15 percent. Last summer, the team achieved an 87 percent renewal rate but didn’t do so until September, and only about 72 percent renewed the previous summer.

The ‘Canes averaged just 12,203 fans in 2015-16, more than a thousand fewer than the Arizona Coyotes, who finished 29th in attendance. The struggles to fill PNC Arena have only fueled speculation that the Hurricanes could one day be relocated.

Despite the improved ticket sales, Waddell knows the real key to stability will be putting a winning team on the ice. The Hurricanes have missed the playoffs seven years in a row.

“The season-ticket base is really going to grow once we prove to the fence-sitters that we are a playoff-bound team,” he said.

Until then, optimism about the future is what the ‘Canes will have to sell. GM Ron Francis has been building something in Raleigh, but it remains to be seen when the roster will be good enough to actually compete for a Stanley Cup.