NHL Team To Give Season-Ticket Holders A 50% Discount If They Suck

St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts and former owner Bill Laurie

It is not unusual for the NHL to push the promotional envelope when it comes to selling their sport to the fans. Enter the St. Louis Blues, who have decided to only charge their season-ticket holders 50% of the cost of each seat, with the fans paying the remaining 50% only if the team makes the playoffs. Via the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Using a new and unique ticket promotion, the Blues are allowing fans who purchase season tickets for select seats to pay half of the bill now and the other half when the Blues make the 2010-11 playoffs…”We feel good about the team and we want to sell more season tickets and get more people in the building,” said Peter McLoughlin, CEO of St. Louis Blues Enterprises. “We think it’s a smart, creative program, and we expect people who buy into this program are going to be paying 100 per cent of the cost.”

An interesting promotion to be sure. But your first thought might be, “doesn’t every team make the playoffs in the NHL?”

Close, but not quite. Actually, only 16 of the 30 teams (53.3%) advance to the postseason. Of course, the Blues missed the playoffs in 2009-10 so this is quite a risky proposition. Still, with the economy the way it is, the one thing that is guaranteed to resonate among fans is a discount.

The bigger question might be: how long before we see similar promotions from other teams and in other sports?

With the limited 16-game schedule in the NFL, making the playoffs is just too much of a gamble. But what about Major League Baseball where only eight of the 30 teams make the playoffs, but the 162-game schedule is more conducive for separating the contenders from the pretenders?

While 50% might be a little steep when only 25% of Major League teams qualify for the playoffs, a similar promotion could become the staple in baseball. With many mid- and small-market teams selling-out only a fraction of their games, a “we promise not to suck” discount could go a long ways to getting fans in the stadium on a more consistent basis.

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