We knew the remaining season tickets for the Winnipeg [insert name here]‘s would be gobbled up at light-speed. But it’s still remarkable that it took only 17 minutes, with more than a few enter keys no doubt busted around the city and province after some brief pandemonium at noon CST on Saturday.
The pre-sale for Manitoba Moose season ticket holders, mini-pack holders, and corporate sponsors earlier this week already began to demonstrate that Winnipeggers were more than willing to dig into their pockets. By Friday afternoon 7,158 tickets had been sold, making the jump to the final goal of 13,000 a quick one once the remaining spaces at the MTS Centre were made available to the general public.
With the expected support arriving swiftly, Gary Bettman was clearly pleased. We’re still not sure if he’s actually allowed to set foot in Winnipeg without the presence of an armed entourage.
In an e-mail to the Winnipeg Free Press Bettman said that like the rest of us, he’s impressed with the sheer speed of ticket sales.
“While I had no doubt the ‘Drive to 13,000′ would reach its destination, the remarkable speed at which it got there certifies the fans’ hunger for NHL hockey and their commitment to True North’s initiatives.”
Jim Ludlow, the president and CEO of True North Sports and Entertainment, also issued a statement and expressed his gratitude to the city of Winnipeg. The league’s board of governors have now seen the resounding support that the NHL has in Winnipeg, and Ludlow said the “success of the campaign is a key ingredient to ensuring the sustainability and long-term viability of NHL hockey in this province”.
The only drawback to such strong season ticket sales–if it’s possible to even call it a drawback–is that single-game tickets will now become nearly impossible to grab at ticket booths, and the expected price hike on the secondary market will become a reality. After luxury boxes gobble up another chunk of seats, fewer than 1,000 will be available to the general public on a per game basis.
No matter which avenue fans choose to score a seat, attending an NHL hockey game in Winnipeg won’t be a cheap endeavour. Fans without season tickets will be faced with a similar environment to those in Toronto and Montreal, where the only realistic options to attend a game are through either popular ticket sharing websites like Stubhub, or by approaching a man with far too much facial hair and intense body odour outside of the rink.
Aiming to capitalize on the strong wave of interest, True North announced the start of a season ticket waiting list that requires an initial deposit of $50. That deposit increases to $100 next year, and those on the waiting list also get priority access to playoff tickets, and discounts at the team store.
At this pace we give it a week until the Winnipeg ticket line begins to linger dangerously close to the infamous waiting list for Green Bay Packers season tickets. Don’t worry, that list is just 86,000 names long.
Unconfirmed Interweb rumblings place the number of names already on Winnipeg’s list at 4,000. Newborn babies in Winnipeg will be signed up for tickets tomorrow, and they’ll receive them in about 40 years.
UPDATE: As a commenter pointed out below, True North actually placed a cap on the waiting list that limited the number of names to 8,000. Since that cap was reached in just a matter or hours, it’s safe to say that the Winnipeg list was blazing a Packers-esque pace.
For the record, Green Bay has a population of just over 104,000, while Winnipeg’s sits at 633,451. In a matter of days the second-smallest city out of Canada’s now seven NHL outposts was able to have 21,000 people either committed to sit in the MTS Centre next fall, or anxiously waiting for their turn.