Attendance at University of Maine hockey games is on a steady decline. Shocker, right?
So, Athletic Director Ken Ralph announced this week that they are lowering ticket prices at the Alfond Arena next year. Season tickets will be decreasing an average of $75; single-game tickets will have an an average savings of $8 according to a news release from Black Bear Athletics.
Mr. Ralph says “It’s clear a $50 single-game ticket is unreasonable in this market.”
I would say it is also clear that UMaine is desperate to help the men’s hockey program remain moderately relevant in this state.
So the deck chairs on the Titanic are being hastily rearranged.
This year Maine drew just under 3800 pregame to Orono. Thats 74% capacity in a building that years ago was sold out every single game.
This years attendance is down almost 600 per game from two years ago.
The Black Bears are middle of the pack in hockey east attendance, just like they are middle off the pack in the standings. Coincidence? I think not.
Heres another quote from Ken Ralph “UMaine Athletics is focused on providing the greatest atmosphere in college hockey.”
How about focusing on winning games by making the changes we all know are necessary but nobody will bite the bullet and make?
Look, I get it. Lowering ticket costs is also necessary. Not only does the awful on ice results hinder the program, but today there are so many more ways for you and me to spend our entertainment dollars.
The Cross Center. Hollywood casino. Waterfront Concerts. None of these existed twenty years ago when UMaine was selling out the Alfond.
But still, win and you can raise prices. Think the Sox or Pats lower their prices? Nope.
In business you can compete with quality or you can compete on price.
The former is preferred. But the latter is what many are reduced to including Black Bear hockey.
I wish I could say it was a good temporary fix but unfortunately this us where UMaine hockey is right now. Shuffling those darn deck chairs.