by J.R. Lind
This Week In The 'Drome, We're Selling Our ZIP Code
Red vs. Green: The Predators have garnered quite a bit of attention this week — for it being August and for them being the Predators, especially (and maybe that was the point) — for their scheme to keep Chicago Blackhawks fans to a minimum:
This season, for the first time, you will not be allowed to buy single game tickets for the November 16, December 17 and April 12 home dates against the Blackhawks. In order to get tickets to those games, you’ll be required to purchase a second game as well.
“For Blackhawks games, we want to make sure that we preserve this building as much as we can for those who live in Smashville,” Henry said.
That’s a great thought and all but how do they intend to do that?
“The best way to buy a Blackhawk ticket 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.”
Of course, Blackhawks fans are angry (and concern-trolling, because apparently the only night any bars in Nashville make money and the only times are the three times a year Chicago comes here?) and the wider hockey world has expressed a bit of skepticism, even if tempered with begrudging admiration for the chutzpah.
What's baffling is the backlash from Nashville fans. The concerns about what this says about the level of organic demand in Nashville are reasonable (even though I'd proffer they wouldn't be doing this if they didn't think there was enough organic demand in the first place).
What is silly is all the hand-wringing about "What They will think of us." "They" — Original Sixers, Canadians, national hockey media, whatever — aren't ever going to see Nashville as anything but a bush league barnacle on the bottom of their ship. There is literally nothing Nashville could do to change the perception They already have. Excessive, obsessive concern about outsiders' perceptions is the Predators' fans worst affliction (edging out the obsession with former Predators) and it's infecting Nashville at-large as well.
So why worry? Who cares? Was this a bush league idea when the Arizona Cardinals do it? Or when Ottawa tries to keep out Torontans? Or when the Washington Capitals limit Penguins fans? Or when any number of major-league baseball teams do the same thing when the Red Sox or Yankees come to town?
Chicago fans will get in. They'll do it either by buying the second ticket — and please stop repeating the canard that the Predators are making them "pay double"; because of dynamic pricing, the Hawks game is the most expensive ticket of the season and if the plus-one game is, say, the Calgary Flames on January 14, the added cost will be something like $20 or $25 (and, to that end, would anybody be talking about this at all if the Predators just added $25 to the cost of the Blackhawks ticket instead?). They'll go to the scalpers. Perhaps they'll find a friendly Nashvillian who will let them use their ZIP Code (my email address can be found at the bottom of this post). Perhaps they'll buy a Maple Leafs ticket and sell it at a profit to a Torontan (my advice).
Maybe it will limit the Hawks contingent to a degree, but it won't be by much. It will boost the gate for other games and that means more revenue for the Predators. It certainly won't change the perception They have of Nashville, but, then again, nothing can do that.
The Week Behind
Why Fix The Front Porch If The Foundation Is Rotten? : Pretending that the rape charges against four Vanderbilt football players isn't a sports story is silly.
It is, very much, a story about sports and the culture of entitlement that surrounds sports and the power athletes exert in their communities. Even in places like Vanderbilt, which purport to de-emphasize — or, at least, right-size — athletics, recruits come in from places that were, perhaps, not so ostensibly high-minded and they enter Vanderbilt carrying around a sense they can do no wrong — or they can do wrong with no repercussions.
It's a story about sports and culture and, as Gail Kerr notes rightly, about a victim.
Nutmegged: The bold and courageous young men from South Nashville ran out of innings Thursday night against the insidious and suspiciously-facial-haired ne'er-do-wells from Connecticut, who "won" the opening round game in the Little League World Series 3-2.
In all truthfulness, the future gentlemen and civic leaders from the Southside did not look out-matched and could still make noise in Williamsport. They play Corpus Christi tomorrow at 2.
Johnny Comes Marching Home Again Hurrah: Sometimes things make sense. After firing him in the last round of layoffs, The Tennessean brought back John Glennon — apparently, they offered him the job Friday. A smart move from the honchos at 1100; as Cavendish noted, the powers-that-be were being short-sighted if they expected Jim Wyatt and Josh Cooper to cover the Titans and Preds single-handedly.
High-fives to The Tennessean for correcting their initial idiocy.
The Week Ahead
It's A Hard Knock Life: The Titans head up to Cincinnati tomorrow to take on the Bengals. This being the preseason, we're always grasping for storylines for the fake games, so watch the Titans play the Bengals and try to figure out which plays will get featured on HBO's Hard Knocks next week, as the show is following around the Queen City Kitties this year, for some reason.
From a pure football standpoint, expect a quarter's worth of play from the starters and expect to be further convinced the Titans are going to limit Jake Locker not just in the preseason, but in the real season, as well.
Bluff: Vandy has committed to play Western Kentucky in football between 2015 and 2017 — including once in Bowling Green.
But let's be honest — and Eric from Springfield has done so — at least one of these games (probably the one north of the border) isn't actually going to happen.
By the time Vandy buys out the contract, we'll all forget how excited (if that's the right word?) we were when this game was announced.
Vanderbilt, despite the strides they've made, still has tough-sledding to get to bowl eligibility. Eventually — and with UT having one of the nation's best recruiting classes, this could be fairly soon — the SEC East will be tough again and Vandy is going to have to truly cupcake it to get to six or seven wins. And going to play the pesky 'Toppers at their place isn't going to cut it when there are still Presbyterians and Elons to play instead.
Emails to jrlind[at]nashvillescene[dot]com. Radio Tuesdays at 6PM on 102.5 Daily sports blogging at PostSports.