Any prospect of an NHL boycott or post-lockout fan apathy evaporated Tuesday, as Calgary Flames tickets went on general sale and quickly eclipsed last season’s initial sales totals.
“In six hours, we’re about 30 per cent ahead of last year’s two-day sale,” said Rollie Cyr, the Flames’ vice-president of sales.
Pre-sales to season ticket holders were also up, Cyr added, by about 20 per cent over last year.
Many fans looking to buy tickets online reported fierce competition for seats.
“I was very surprised by the lack of availability,” said Chris Ferneyhough. “There seemed to be a lot of anger by fans during the lockout. But much of that anger seems to have already disappeared.”
Jefri Hiebert said he furiously hit the refresh button on his web browser the moment tickets went on sale but still couldn’t find the tickets he wanted.
“Even though I knew I was either at the front or extremely close to it there were no remaining tickets at my price,” he said.
Both Hiebert and Ferneyhough later found resale tickets through online classified ads.
Ben Hodson of Saskatoon was looking for five tickets to a Flames-Canucks game and said he was “extremely surprised” by how quickly they sold.
“It seemed as if every time I refreshed the page, tickets were gone,” he said.
The Flames also announced numerous fan-appreciation promotions Tuesday which Cyr described as among the “most aggressive” in the NHL.
Still, he said the main draw remains the hockey.
“Our best thing we can do for our fans is to ensure that the on-ice product is where it should be,” Cyr said.
- 50-per-cent off food at the Scotiabank Saddledome for the first two home games.
- 50-per-cent discount on Flames merchandise at all FanAttic locations during training camp week and up to the end of the first game.
- A guaranteed 50/50 pot at the first two home games, with the winner taking home at least $50,000.