Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:16 AM
I like how this "NEW" News. The Devils have always had trouble with attendance and marketing.
The key factor for the Devils has always been hard-work and a frugal GM who would say, "this is what you are going to make... take it or leave it." While at times it was not what I agreed with, it worked and worked for years. No one can deny from 1987-88 when they first got to the playoffs until the 2009-10 they were a team based upon on drafting, goaltending, and defense first. That was a business model that had not changed until now.
Kovalchuk while being a tremendous talent has made quite the stir since coming to the Devils. He has has also made quite a bit of noise with his contract (both the length and controversy with it). This was the first deal in which the Devils organiation said, "hey we want you, what will it cost?" While many Devils fans were elated to land Kovalchuk some (such as yours truly) saw it differently. No one will deny that Kovalchuk has immense talent, but the lack of a true two-way player has hurt the team on many occassions. His defensive lapses have hurt the team when they occur and there are times when he has turned the puck over that he coasts back on defense when he plays the point. The ultimate impact won't be fully realized for years although next year might be the start with Parise. What will happen? I've speculated, but no one knows until it happens.
As for hiring a consulting firm to help like Gabe has stated... They can't even pay rent and nothing says, "we don't know what the hell we are doing" like hiring a consulting firm. It is the preverbial 'last straw' before just plain selling and the Devils are not there yet.
The Devils need to put people in their seats. Unused seats are like lost rented rooms at a hotel; you cannot recoup that loss as it is gone forever. The team should take a hard-look at things and really be more proactive. Look to other clubs like the Maple Leafs and Blackhawks who pack the stands. True they are both original six teams, but the Blackhawks once alienated their fans and their former stars for years under the dictatorship of William Wirtz. Once he died, and Rocky took over... things changed and boy did they ever. A revamped team and renewed passion of going to the Hawks games was born. To date the Blackhawks have close to 185 consecutive sell-out crowds. Do that math, CONSECUTIVE sell-out crowds. They have cool give-aways and they make going to a Hawks game the "thing to do". From shoot the puck, to bobblehead give-aways, to just great food, to former player on ice-celebartions, to their very own convention, to you name it. It is a happening place to be as I saw first hand when the Devils were in town to play the Hawks in November of 2010. The city has a 10% sales tax that is outragious along with expensive parking and yet they still fill that building. Unfortunately for the Devils to make money, they are going to need to spend it and I don't see it happening. If they did 1/2 of what the Hawks did right, they'd fill those seats and start their way there.
Before I get jumped on, please take a look at attendance for Hawks games in 2004-06 and then on the turn-around when Rocky Wirtz took over... There business model works, the Devils current one doesn't.
Game Worn Devils Collector! Please contact me concerning all things: Tom Chorske, Patrik Elias, David Hale, Bobby Holik, Jamie Langenbrunner, Grant Marshall, Kirk Muller, & Brian Rolston.