NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 02: Fans play hockey prior to the Chicago Blackhawks playing the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 2, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
On Monday, the Devils finally released their Promotional and Theme Night Schedule for the 2010-2011 season. Thanks to elesias for putting up a FanPost. This is a very late announcement compared to the previous years the Devils release their promo schedule. It's usually released in early September. I could guess Kovalchuk-gate this summer was a disturbance.
The Devils may be a hot ticket this season, with the return of Jason Arnott and the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk increased attendance when he arrived via trade last season. But with tickets prices slightly increased (as John summarized), and the economy, tickets sale may also struggle. In my audition post, the average attendance over the three-year span at Prudential Center is 15,630. Promotions like giveaways and drives for charity bring in additional attendance against certain teams and on certain days.
The promotional and theme night schedule currently has 10 games spreading throughout the season. I say currently because as noted on the bottom of the page of the link, additional promotions will be added during the season. Did the Devils change anything drastic from the previous seasons? What could they possibly add for promotions? Here are some quick thoughts about the promotions and theme nights. More after the jump.
First, I'm glad the Devils are adding additional promotions. Ten isn't a lot (24%) and is well below the average of 13.5 (32.5%). Last year the Devils took a huge step is promoting their image and team. Here's John's summary of last year's promotional schedule. The Stanley Cup honor nights, the introduction of the now annual Retro-Jersey Night, and the advancement of Jersey's Team has really benefited attendance. Taking a step back this season would make last season's step moot.
Here's the schedule:
|Friday||8-Oct||Dallas||Opening Night/Magnetic Schedule|
|Monday||11-Oct||Pittsburgh||Kids Opening Day/Silly Band|
|Saturday||23-Oct||Buffalo||Women in Hockey Night/Team Calender|
|Wednesday||15-Dec||Phoenix||Devils Army Puck|
|Friday||31-Dec||Atlanta||New Years Fireworks|
|Friday||4-Feb||Florida||Black History Month/Willie O'Ree Guest|
|Sunday||10-Apr||Boston||Fan Appreciation Night/Team Poster|
The Devils have six promotions on a weekend and five on a weekday. Because of the Columbus Day holiday this coming Monday, the Devils are holding a special Kids Opening Day for the 4 p.m. matinee day against Pittsburgh. It's also the return of Paul Martin, who will be visitors locker room. The fireworks night is also new. Is this in the arena or outside in the middle of winter? Willie O'Ree, who if you didn't know was the first black player to play in the NHL, will make an appearance during Black History Month on Friday, February 4th against Florida. Most of the promotions are games against conference opponents outside of the division. That would make sense considering the Devils play 2 game each against those 10 teams at home.
One thing that is absent are the charity drives. For as long as I've been a fan, the Devils annually did a canned food drive around Thanksgiving, Toys-for-Tots before the holiday season, and a coat drive in January. I'd be a real shame to see those promotional nights disappear. Usually when you donate items, I remember you are put into a raffle to win autographed Devils gear and such. I'd expect to see these come back and be announced accordingly.
What else could the Devils possibly announce during the year though? Are they waiting for a certain number 27 retirement night? Will they be starting the Devils Hall of Fame, that Jeff Vanderbeek said the organization was working on at the Jersey Tour stop in Hackensack? Here's where you come in. What type of promotions or theme nights should the Devils add? What would make you more desired to go to a Devils game? I mean, they already have the best goaltender of all time and the best shooter in the game today.
One quick note only because they seem like pretty good deals: The Devils are trying hard to sell tickets using ticket packages and ticket plans. I'm almost positive they have had a table at each Jersey Tour stop. There's three different 12-game plans (Atlantic Division, All-Star, and Weeknight), three different half-season plans (Black, Red, Weekend), and even a 8+ game flex plan that includes Opening Night and you picking any games you want. What's probably the best package right now (and even more appealing to the gamblers out there) is the Opening Night/Caesars Casino package. You buy 4 tickets to Opening Night and you get a free night at any of the Harrah's casino affiliates in Atlantic City.
So do you like the schedule? Hate it? What types of promos can they add? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.