OK, so it’s not Winnipeg. No one ever thought it would be Winnipeg, or like any hockey-starved Canadian city that would likely already have a waiting list for season tickets had they gone on sale for 36 hours.
But 5,000 season-ticket deposits for NHL franchise in Las Vegas, after the selling began on Tuesday, isn't bad. Halfway home to the 10,000 commitment goal established by Bill Foley and the NHL isn’t bad. When Gary Bettman’s fielding questions at the All-Star Game about worst-case scenarios – what if Vegas needs a year to sell 10,000 tickets?! – this is a strong, impressive start for the effort
Bettman stopped short of saying that Las Vegas will definitely get an NHL club, but wished Foley and Las Vegas good luck in the ticket deposit drive. He said the NHL is intrigued by the “unique” nature of the Las Vegas market, which includes 2.1 million residents and 40 million annual visitors.
Fans can spend as little as $150 — or about 10 percent of the cheapest season ticket plan — to make a deposit. They can also spend as much as $900 for a deposit for the best seats while checking out an arena seat chart at www.vegaswantshockey.com. The web site is performing well without any glitches, according to the Foley-Maloof group.
If the NHL does not award Las Vegas a team, fans will receive a full refund. If Las Vegas does get a team, then payments will be kept toward season ticket deals.
Not to put undue pressure on the Vegas hockey fans, but given those price points there is zero reason why they can’t nail this thing down before next Tuesday. Especially since this goes beyond random fans using the franchise’s website -- it's community activism.
From the Journal-Review:
Foley-Maloof has created a core group of 75 local Las Vegas business owners, lawyers and leaders to help recruit fans to buy ticket deposits. Each is working on drawing at least 60 ticket deposits, with at least four of the 75 already selling more than 100 deposits each.
As we’ve said before, there’s a “show me” challenge that Foley and the Maloofs have to answer from the NHL Board of Governors. They like the market, but they’re skeptical that it’s going to become the Coyotes or the Panthers – relying much too heavily on visiting fans to fill seats, and not having a large enough local fan base to fill revenue streams.
Then again, neither of those markets have a strip of casinos gobbling up tickets for every home game…