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Predz Progress

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Since the Predators have now wrapped up the home portion of their schedule, I thought it would be worth taking a look at attendance figures, since so much was made earlier this year about the possibility of them failing in Nashville and relocating sometime in the near future.

"Hurry up, Jethro, we've got lower-bowl seats!"

Tom Benjamin's blog recently posted info from a report in the Globe & Mail that dealt with ticket giveaways and overall gate receipts, and according to that information, Nashville is giving away roughly 100 fewer tickets per game compared to last year, yet overall attendance is up by 832 per game, meaning an increase of about 930 paid patrons per night (a 7% gain), with 9 sellouts in the final 18 games. That's not bad considering 16% higher ticket prices (see the bottom half of the chart) - I would think most businesses would be very happy to boost unit sales and prices at the same time. On top of that, the first two playoff home games sold out very quickly (unlike a certain Central Division competitor), a big change from last season when the team had to stoop to threatening a TV blackout of home playoff games if a sellout wasn't achieved. Mrs. Forechecker and I have our tickets for the second home game, so we're not missing out...

Have the Predators reached the promised land? Of course not, but there's no doubt they've made significant progress this season, which is really their first in which the fans had a legitimate contender to cheer for. In the past, the Preds hoped merely to reach the .500 mark, and then possibly make the playoffs. After a while, the novelty of it all wears off and the local sports market needs a competitive team to rally behind. They've finally got that now, and the fan base appears to be responding. A long playoff run could then help establish a stronger season-ticket base for next season, and continue the progress that steady hands like David Poile and Barry Trotz have made over the last eight seasons.