While the playoffs are ongoing, Rich Chere got an update about how the season tickets have been selling from Jeff Vanderbeek yesterday:
The early-purchase program, which ended April 17 and allowed fans a chance to win prizes such as touring the locker room during practice, resulted in 8,800 ticket renewals. Since then, with early-bird prices still in effect but not the additional prizes, another 751 season tickets have been sold.
"In a three-week selling window to have 60 percent of our season tickets renewed is a resounding success," Vanderbeek said.
60%!! That's massive! Not to mention the fact that means the Devils must have 14,666 season tickets in their hold (60% of 14,666 is 8,800 - not too unreasonable if you consider a lot of businesses and organizations have them too).
Now, this is clearly good news. With the Devils taking the lead over Carolina in the first round, a series featuring 4 one-goal games, there's plenty to be said on the ice. That's where the focus should be and that's where it mostly remains. But this really can't be ignored. If Vanderbeek is making it public how sales are going for 2009-10 before the end of April, it's going to be positive. I mean, if it wasn't going so well, he wouldn't say anything until after the playoffs are over - or anything at all.
Chere, correctly (to a point), highlights how the super prizes - a new tactic the Devils did this year - have - as a big reason why there's a 60% renewal rate while the playoffs are still going on. Season ticket holders had to renew by 4/17 to be eligible in the drawing for the super prizes (e.g. a helicopter ride to MSG for 4 to a Devils-Rangers game). Even if you didn't win a super prize, there was a second tier of prizes for those that renewed by 4/17. So the incentives to renew early were strong and successful, as seen by the 60% renewal rate.
Chere also mentions that the Prudential Center itself is a draw as well as an improvement of the general area. But I think what Chere seriously missed was the fact that the Devils significantly cut their season ticket prices for a majority of the arena along with the chance to win fabulous prizes. Given the tough economic times, a lot of the season ticket holders were concerned about whether they could afford to renew. Vanderbeek and the organization lowered prices in so many sections, which made the decision to renew a lot easier for thousands of Devils fans. The prizes just made it even more tempting to do it now. Still, the lower prices can't be ignored.
I don't know what the other teams in the league are doing; Mirtle attempted to find that out and not many teams are lowering prices. I think the Devils should definitely trumpet their lower prices more to convince fans to get on board. As Chere ended the article:
Vanderbeek said the new price schedule still holds true, although the early-bird prizes have expired.
With 9,951 season tickets already guaranteed for next season before the start of May, that will only help to increase renewals and get new business. Jump on it, Devils!