Nashville Predators to use creative tactics to keep Blackhawks fans out

There is nothing more annoying than when opposition fans invade your arena. As a fan of the Atlanta Thrashers, I can speak from first hand experience – every time the Penguins, Sabres, Flyers, Red Wings, or Blackhawks came to town, being a Thrashers fan was like being the needle in the haystack. It was painful. 

I also recognized though that these invasions of opposition fans probably kept the team in Atlanta a few extra years.

There's income to be made from these annoying out-of-towners (or local bandwagon fans, depending on the person), and the Nashville Predators are hoping to make some coin off of the backs of Blackhawks fans. Are we talking the typical premium game upsell? Nope – in an interview with Section 303, Preds COO Sean Henry lays out a very different plan:

“The best way to buy a Blackhawk ticket [for a game in Nashville] is to have a season ticket, a half season ticket or a 15-game plan,” Henry said. “But we also realize that we’re still going to have to sell 3,000-4,000 single tickets for that game. What it’s going to do by forcing another game is we’ll almost direct it toward people that live in the general area, for the most part. And (for the pre-sale) only those in the zip codes that we unlock can buy the Blackhawk game and a second game. So we’re breaking down every barrier we can to Keep the Red Out.”
That helps keep Chicago fans at bay, for sure. But what if Blackhawks fans really want to jump through hoops to see their team play in Music City?
“They’re going to have to earn it,” Henry said. “And they’re going to help us continue to grow our roster by building our (revenue at the) gate. It’s that simple. In the end, we’re building something pretty special. If we have to do it off the backs of their fans a little bit, I’m not apologizing for it.
“We don’t want to build those ticket grosses off of our core — our lifeblood — the season ticket holders. We want to build it off the single game buyers who only want to buy those games.”
Wow. That seems a little drastic. While I can understand the Predators' desire to keep Hawks fans like the two in the featured image out of Bridgestone Arena, this is a little much. First off, it's punishing some Preds fans who only buy single game tickets far more than if this were just one of those featured premiere game things that most teams do. Second off, what if you just want to go see your team, who happen to be the Blackhawks?
I know invading fans are annoying – I hate seeing Hawks fans in Scottrade Center every season. However, it's a quick drive to get to St. Louis and it's only a few hours more to get to Nashville. You can still make money for the good of your franchise off of out of town fans without making things a holy nightmare for them. You're never going to get rid of opposing fans. The best way to minimize the number of them is to ice a good hockey team. 
If you have people wanting to get into your arena and are willing to give you money to do so, don't be an ass about it. Smile, take their money, and then watch them leave the arena in silence after the home team wins.

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.