Sure it’s early, but it is concerning that the fans haven’t come out as much as they did as opposed to last year. There are several issues and the usual baggage that comes along for the ride as they do in every year for Islanders fans. However, I thought we could take a look at some things that might be affecting the ticket sales bottom line…
Sure he looked a bit like the geek version of Jeff Spicoli, or to me he was doppledanger to Ted in How I Met Your Mother. One thing he had going two summers ago when he ran the business was open houses to generate constant interest and communication to Joe and Jane fan. It was integral to keep in touch with the core fan, something they only do now on a selective basis by a bunch of guys who look like they just fell out of a bad sequel to the Boilerroom. With him and others, there was an openness and willing to invite fans, bloggers and others in. I’ve definitely noticed a difference post-Dey, and wouldn’t some open houses this past summer have created a bit more interest and excitement? It would have made bringing home the training camp a one-two punch to get fans back in the fold.
2. No real post-draft BUZZ.
Last draft was a bit less on the WowMeter despite that most think the pick of Nino Niederreiter was a good move. Last draft had only very few dynamic forwards, and Nino was considered one of those. The Isles destroyed many a armchair draft QB assumption of defense or too many who read other bloggers for draft guidance. Obviously other teams drafts also agreed as players like Gormley and Fowler well past the Isles.
Isles consider El Nino a sure fire NHLer and that’s why they targeted him as their pick….however, there was not the same hype machine or anything else of the sort, thus no real ticket buzz.
3. The Lighthouse still stands on the precipice.
Not much to add here as the Lighthouse went dark almost a year ago as their “masterminds” got folded into the organization last spring. Reported here over 6 months ago by myself and Nick Giglia and then in the LI Herald more recently, Rechler and Wang have purportedly separated financials. It is a shame there has not been any mea culpa by the Isles or Wang on what really is going on.
Wang is now completely at the mercy of Mangano who is trying to tie it to a contentious issue of the casino. The ToH have not answered any request for “secret” or not so secret meetings. Fans know when they are hearing a broken record, and Wangs comments about staying to 2015 were reported by myself and Nick Giglia over a year and a half ago. Isles were never going anywhere before lease was up (remember when some tried to say they’d be packing buses?).
Problem is there is no resolution and fans know it. Hard to cheer for a team that has pulled fans into the battle and then essentially left them in a lurch. Leaves a bad taste and many haven’t bought into the mouthwash that doesn’t quite smell so minty this year.
Lighthouse Project is now a complete drag and many to blame for a complex almost asinine situation but tough now to rally around. There is no doubt that it has effected some of the morale of the fanbase.
Think the higher tickets and parking prices have an effect? You bet. Isles now get a cut thanks to the rework of the lease, but as they raised prices, there might be a backfire here by turning off fans who know this team is not exactly worth the going prices.
The food is not quite what it was two years ago as SMG tried some things. The hallways still choking with people to try to navigate. The facilities are a league wide embarassment that’s not getting better anytime soon. It is as cold there as it is when you mention BD or HockeyIndependent to the Isles media
Isles didn’t do a 3 year rebuild. You’d need a farm system and talent pool to do that. Thank Mke Milbury for leaving that a crap pile as he left. Instead it is a 5 year plan to build a talent pool with skill and potential. This initial step is now in place. Now comes the hard work….getting wins to get fans to come back. The team is scrappy, but between injuries and lacking of top flight skill, somewhere along the line, it will run out of air.
He had the better stats in the short preseason, but it seems quite clear already who the better goalie is. Play the hot hand instead of the contract. Fans aren’t blind. The organizational decision to run DP as #1 seems more about business…but about a 15 year mistake. It might not equate into ticket sales as he has not looked anything like a #1.
Hey, with some more scrappy plays and solid wins, this might be a season where fans didn’t quite come out at first, but soon get onboard. You never do know. But here’s a tip to the Isles….if you really want to make the playoffs….Roloson needs to be your #1. You can see the difference. Let DP earn his return, not handed to him due to the owner having made a cardinal sin by signing the guy to a ridiculously long deal. Eat the mistake and let the true #1 be based on play.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.