SUN Hockey Pool

Fans seem willing to pay for NHL hockey

ROSS ROMANIUK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 PM ET

Other than the “hard-core” hockey crowd, says business and marketing expert Rob Warren, a lot of fans in Winnipeg might swallow hard before shelling out more than $50 for an NHL game ticket.

But the Winnipeg Sun has found plenty of people here willing to eat up that price and much more, and often, to see the world’s best players.

“I don’t think it’s realistic to think we can pay less than $50 a ticket to have an NHL franchise,” railway engineer Clayton Finchfield said at the new Pro Hockey Life store on St. James Street, adding he’d spend an average of $80 for each of about 20 games per season.

“I would look for a mini-pack for sure, of let’s say 20 to 30 games.”

Chantal Lischynski, a 17-year-old goalie with the Balmoral Hall Blazers, said she’s willing to pay more than $50 a seat — especially to watch Vancouver Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had NHL hockey in Manitoba, and I think a lot of people would pay that amount,” she said.

“So I would consider paying a bit more to watch a game.”

Bantam AAA hockey coach Greg Meikle would easily pay up to $100 a ticket, though the games he goes to would depend largely on who Winnipeg’s opponent is.

“If you brought Sidney Crosby, I’m sure people would be willing to pay more to watch Sidney or Jonathan Toews — people of that nature,” Meikle said.

“For teams ranked at the high end of the standings, I think you’d be paying more. For teams at the low end, you’re probably looking at a cheaper price.”

Luke Keilback, son of former Jets play-by-play commentator Curt Keilback, also said he’d pay up to $100 for 10 or maybe more games per season, or would perhaps share season tickets with friends.

“Jets fans are the greatest fans in the world. We deserve a team more than any other city. The NHL is pretty rich, but I look at the (NFL’s) Green Bay Packers, and sort of make a comparison there. They do a good job of marketing, and people outside of Green Bay love Green Bay. That could happen here,” Keilback said.

“We have the passion here for the game. I’m tired of going to games in the U.S., where 4,000 people are there, and they’ve all paid five bucks to get a seat. And nobody is even really into the game, and all of the 4,000 people are Canadian, anyway. It’s ridiculous.”


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