It is rare when a National Hockey League (NHL) team generates more local buzz than its National Football League (NFL) neighbor, but that seems to be the case in Nashville.
The Predators of the NHL — a playoff team last year with a 44-27-11 record — are reportedly experiencing brisk ticket sales for next season at Bridgestone Arena, in part because the team has embraced the city’s vibrant music scene and is even marketing to fans of the old Atlanta Thrashers (the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg several weeks ago).
Season ticket sales for the Predators are expected to rise by at least 1,500 seats to reach 10,000, team chief operating officer Sean Henry told the Nashville Post. And, the solid sales are trickling down to the secondary ticket market where brokers are also seeing improved sales league-wide. “We’re up dramatically,” he said.
The Predators have hosted several music-themed nights at their arena over the past year and plan several more this season. And, even though Atlanta is several hundred miles away, the team has targeted former Thrasher fans with special ticket deals that include a hotel stay.
“Since NHL tickets have gone on sale we’ve seen a steady increase in transactions on the secondary market,” Ben Kessler, director of communications for ticket search engine SeatGeek.com, told TicketNews. “It could be inferences that this is due to the current lack of an NBA season, but it’s hard to say if there’s a healthy spillover of NBA fans that are interested in spending on NHL games.”
SeatGeek lists the average price of a Predators’ ticket at $47 on the secondary market, with the average price for the team’s regular season home opener against the Phoenix Coyotes at $90.
As for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, 6-10 last year and out of the playoffs, ticket sales so far this season have been off a bit. In fact, for the first time in a dozen years, the team has not yet sold out all of its home games at LP Field, according to published reports.
“What typically drives NFL sales this time of year is who’s on their schedule, who they have coming in,” Jeff Greenberg, owner of ASC Ticket, told TicketNews. “For the Titans this year, it’s the [New Orleans] Saints.”
The Saints, winners of a dramatic Super Bowl a couple of years ago, visit the Titans on December 11, and according to ticket search engine FanSnap.com, there are more than 8,000 tickets available to the game on major secondary ticket sites, beginning at $45 each.
Overall, NFL sales have been solid, according to SeatGeek, but the Titans are taking a hit, and not only because of star running back Chris Johnson’s contract holdout.
“When the NFL lockout ended we saw fans rush to buy tickets – that first week we saw unprecedented searches and traffic on SeatGeek,” Kessler said. “It’s obvious to say there was a lot of excitement. Still, fans were hesitant and sales slowed down later on as people waited for single game tickets to go on sale on the primary market.
“That said, we’ve definitely seen a drop in Titans tickets – dropping from number 17 in average ticket price at home last season to number 28 this season ($123).”
In addition to the news with Johnson, Kessler said Titans fans also may be reacting to the change of their head coach and quarterback.