A follow-up here to my earlier post and a few comments to other bloggers.
Yes, the CBJ sent players to baseball games in Cincinnati and Cleveland, but that had more to do with FSN Ohio in the case of Cincinnati. You see, if you’re Fox Sports, you have two marquis attractions, the Cavaliers and the Blue Jackets. The Cavs without LeBron are going to draw a few hundred viewers on a good night while in Cincinnati and Cleveland, the Blue Jackets will draw about the same. FSN has a lot invested in these two teams and they are going to have a very hard time selling commercials.
As for Cleveland, it makes sense to promote the CBJ in that market because it is a large hockey market. Sorry Columbus, but the road to youth hockey success does go through Cleveland after it winds through Toledo. If I were the Jackets, I would put together a unique ticket promotion for Cleveland (and Toledo) area fans. Tie it to something local, like a Cleveland area restaurant.
Regarding the local economy, it no doubt has hurt ticket sales for Columbus. But I don’t see the Jackets doing any marketing to overcome a bad economy. Most restaurants changed their pricing to convince people to eat out. I know the Jackets will probably do something with Pepsi and Giant Eagle again, but the trouble is they wait until November before they act. If I was Mike Priest, I would make damn sure that opening night was sold out, a positive experience for the fans and the team. But I don’t have his background in accounting or lease negotiations.
Finally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to trash attendance at Reds games. The unemployment rate is nearly a full percentage point higher in Cincinnati compared to Columbus. And we know how tough things are in Cleveland. Nobody came to Clippers’ games this season, either. So be nice and remember that the Jackets are Ohio’s team.