Some NHL teams have already announced various methods to try to make nice with faithful fans after the agony of the lockout. Now rumors are surfacing that the Boston Bruins are taking a three-pronged approach to the idea of fan relationship rebuilding.
First of all, rumor has it that the Bruins will put on an exhibition game against the Providence Bruins on Jan. 15 at TD Garden. Exhibition games basically went by the wayside, one of the first casualties of the lockout, and though Sidney Crosby advocated for teams to play some, it looks like it might be decided on a team-by-team basis. Here’s hoping that exhibition game is free or has tickets sold at just one or two easy price points.
Another form of fan stimulus comes from the TD Garden concession stands, something with which team owner Jeremy Jacobs is very familiar. Free hot dogs are reportedly a definite thing for at least the home opener, but could be at future games too:
Of course, Jacobs has enough money to spare that he could take every single season ticket holder out to a lobster dinner and apologize to them personally.
The third form of fan stimulus will take place inside the Bruins pro shop. This is unconfirmed, but it’s possible they could offer a discount on merchandise:
On this front, a 50 percent discount would be more appropriate, seeing as the lockout shaved the season in half. That would also make some of the really big-ticket items, like player jerseys, a little more affordable.
All in all, if this is all the Bruins plan to offer to their faithful fans, that doesn’t feel like enough to me. The fact that increased access to players, for season ticket holders and non-STHes alike, hasn’t even been really discussed at length yet is not so great. That, I feel, is going to make a huge difference in getting fans happy again. (Since free Center Ice and/or NHL GameCenter is not an option based on the fact that it is distributed by a third party, I’m aiming my sights in another direction.) Lower ticket prices in the Boston market should be considered as a possibility since the team is among the top earners in the league and won’t need to make ends meet to qualify for revenue-sharing.
The Boston Bruins Foundation has continued to do noble, charitable things throughout the lockout, but the Los Angeles Kings set the bar high when their Kings Care group promised $1 million in donations to four area charities. Every NHL team should be announcing a charitable initiative like that right away and I do hope that the Bruins Foundation and the Jacobs family are considering it. Again, that’s a great way to show fans that the teams care about their communities.
So, if these are the only three things the Bruins are planning as a mea culpa to their fans–it’s not really enough.