NHL Lockout: 5 Teams Whose Season Ticket Holders Won't Come Back
One group of fans that NHL teams are worried about losing in this lockout are season ticket holders.
These people make up a lot of the ticket revenue that teams earn each season, and are among the most loyal hockey fans you will find.
Let's look at five NHL teams whose season ticket holders probably won't come back following the work stoppage.
Columbus Blue Jackets
After seeing their only superstar Rick Nash traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for no first-line caliber players during the summer, it's hard to imagine that Columbus Blue Jackets fans and season ticket holders will come back after the lockout.
If the 2013 NHL All-Star Game also has to be cancelled because of the work stoppage, there will be even fewer reasons for hockey fans to invest money in this team.
Without any star players worth the price of admission, Blue Jackets fans can find better things to spend their money on this winter than watching an awful hockey team that continues to make poor trades and free agent signings.
The Florida Panthers saw an increase of 5.1 percent in their attendance percentage last season, which can be mostly attributed to the team's first playoff appearance since 2000.
A lot of the hard work that the team has done to gain new fans following many years of disappointing on-ice performances could be erased because of this lockout.
Last year, the Panthers finally gave people reasons to attend games at the BB&T Center, but without any marquee stars, there's no guarantee that the casual fans who started to follow this team last year will remain interested in hockey following the work stoppage.
There aren't too many die-hard hockey fans in Southern Florida, so season ticket-holders are very crucial to the Panthers. Florida will need a strong start to the 2012-13 season to become relevant again in the Miami sports market.
Despite making their most successful playoff run last year, the Pacific Division champion Phoenix Coyotes improved their average attendance by just 1.3 percent.
Shane Doan is a very good player, but the Coyotes lack a superstar talent who can not only help the team gain new fans, but convince them to make a long-term investment by purchasing season tickets.
The Coyotes' momentum from last year's exciting run to the Western Conference Finals has been ruined by the lockout, and with the NBA season underway, it wouldn't be surprising if the Coyotes' attendance improvements from last year are lost.
After losing leading scorer Ray Whitney, who opted to sign with the Dallas Stars as a free agent on July 1, the Coyotes could have a worse on-ice product next year, which certainly won't give fans any incentive to buy season tickets.
The Dallas Stars made an effort to convince fans to buy/renew season ticket packages by signing two top-six forwards in free agency, Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr.
These two new additions, along with star forwards Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder will make the Stars one of the most exciting teams when the lockout ends, but how many Stars fans will continue to support the team as the work stoppage continues?
The Dallas Mavericks season has started, and they will once again be a top team in the NBA's Western Conference. The Dallas Cowboys are also playing well, and are the talk of the town after entering the playoff race in the NFL.
Sports fans in Dallas don't have many reasons to buy Stars season tickets when they are other teams to support that are actually playing right now.
The lockout is really hurting the Stars, who finally spent money to contend in the Pacific Division, but cannot showcase their new additions to the fan base.
The Anaheim Ducks finished 26th in average attendance and 24th in attendance percentage last year, and with the team unlikely to contend in the Pacific division, the franchise could lose quite a few fans and season ticket-holders during this lockout.
The start of the NBA season is also going to hurt the Ducks, because a lot of sports fans in Southern California will be focusing on the Los Angeles Clippers and L.A. Lakers since both are legitimate title contenders.
With the futures of star forwards Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf uncertain at the moment (all three are UFAs in July), the team could be headed for a full rebuild soon.
Ducks fans don't have many reasons to invest a lot of money in season tickets, but if the team re-signs Perry and/or Getzlaf soon after the lockout ends, that would help convince fans that ownership is committed to winning.