Tuesday night’s Vancouver Canucks preseason game against the San Jose Sharks drew a crowd of just 13,000, meaning nearly 6,000 at Rogers Arena were empty.
It is a far cry from last year’s preseason opener when nearly 18,000 filled the seats at the stadium, but that was of course before fans became disillusioned with the team after one of the worst seasons in memory – both on and off the ice.
Demand for tickets has plummeted, with one major local ticket broker saying it has hit a 15-year low.
Scott Ayre, president of AllStar Tickets, told Vancity Buzz sales have been slowest since the late-1990s. His company is selling preseason tickets starting at $20, but sales are still a struggle.
“We are currently selling preseason tickets in all seating categories at approximately 33 per cent the of season ticket holder cost for the weekday games and about half price for the Friday and Saturday games,” said Ayre.
“Last season we were finding we could sell some of those weekday games at cost or slightly above but the interest this year just doesn’t seem to be there.”
Ayre adds season ticket sales have not faired any better. The wait list to become a season ticket holder went from a five or six year wait list to being able to get almost whatever you want.
“This season was the biggest year we have seen long-term season ticket holders give up their tickets and return them back to the Canucks.”
The first two months of the season will likely determine whether fans will want to be in the seats for the remaining months, when the results of the much-anticipated transition become more apparent. Further price drops are possible if performance on the ice fails to improve.
The regular season begins October 8 in Calgary while the regular season home opener is scheduled for October 11 against Edmonton. Major expansions to the Rogers Arena concourse and improvements in food and drink options are expected to open in time for the home opener.
Feature Image: @adubdubb via Instagram