Re: "Are we the next
Cranbrook?" editorial, Feb. 6
I agree with Neil Godbout that the Cougars are on thin ice when it comes to staying in Prince George. Once a popular entertainment choice for P.G. folks, it no longer seems so. Many factors have contributed to the failing support of WHL hockey in P.G., such as a mediocre team, general lack of interest from millennials and other entertainment options. The fans are staying away, and, in the end, this will kill the team and if the Cougars "are not hitting the panic button yet," perhaps they should be.
Having been a season ticket holder from Day 1, I was encouraged and delighted when a local ownership group came on the scene a few years ago. There was new energy and excitement in the building and within the team. The product on the ice improved and the fan base increased. The Cougars had a great run and were one of best junior hockey teams in the CHL. Unfortunately, they had a poor playoff run that year to the disappointment of fans and ownership I'm sure. Nevertheless, it was a great season with excellent entertainment at a reasonable price.
Then the marketing kerfuffle!
We were told that the team was still not in a profitable situation. Fair enough but the strategy to raise ticket prices so dramatically and go to the new seat pricing format was not a good one in my opinion. I think most season ticket holders would have accepted a gradual raise in ticket prices (say 10 per cent per year) over a three-to five-year period to assist the team becoming profitable. Also, a significant number of season ticket holders were grey-hairs and this increase directly impacted them the most. Many season ticket holders, including myself, did not renew their season tickets the following season and now we see the reduction of 1,000 fans per game. I think the team has to accept some responsibility for their current predicament.
Perhaps a new marketing strategy would help. Get rid of the "pay where you sit" theme. Just because it works in other WHL markets doesn't mean it will work here. Go back to having reduced ticket rates for seniors and students. I wish the Cougars good luck and hope that they can stay in Prince George but feel marketing changes need to be made. If the Cougars revisit their seating protocol and make some changes, I would consider renewing my season tickets. I agree that fans have to step up to show their commitment but so do the Cougars.