Now this is a way to sell tickets! In an effort to boost attendance, close to half of the Washington Capitals' roster has been making calls to fans who might be interested in either buying or renewing their season tickets. It's easy to hang up on a telemarketer, but it's not as easy to do when an athlete calls you. Especially one asking you to come watch him play.
"Most of them were happy to hear from me," said left wing Donald Brashear, who spent Wednesday afternoon making calls. "When you hear from someone who's been inside the dressing room, it's a lot more convincing than a normal [sales] call."Donald Brashear is an enforcer on the ice, and he must be on the phone as well. A team spokesman said that Wednesday's calling session led to more than a dozen season ticket holders renewing their packages on the spot.
It's a great move by the team, whose attendance last year ranked 27th out of 30 teams. But it's the kind of move that more NHL teams need to be making as well. No longer the sports giant they once were, they can't rely on osmosis to fill the stands and coffers. Hockey is built on loyalty, and having the players call fans directly is the best way to forge the idea of community. Getting a call from Donald Brashear or Chris Clark makes you want to root for the Caps, and it makes you want to buy tickets. It's no longer a foregone conclusion for the NHL that people will just come to games anymore, and this is the way to start fixing that.