@torontomike Wins Stajan Autograph from @TorontoMarlies

MarliesI just won an autographed Matt Stajan card from the Toronto Marlies. I won via Twitter, where I suspect my odds were pretty awesome. @torontomarlies currently has 208 followers and I'm fairly certain only a handful played along with their RT contest yesterday.

I'm glad I won, because it gives me an excuse to respond to something I just read on the Toronto Sports Media Blog.

I know, I am fixated on this right now. The Bellville vs. Brampton game last night outdrew the Marlie gameā€¦..The Marlies announced a crowd of over 2200, the OHL game???? 3221!

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I have a blast at Marlies games. I'm going tonight to watch game five from the front row. My son and I know all the players by name, know their strengths, their weaknesses and have remarkable access to them. I'm not blowing smoke up your ass when I tell you we sincerely love watching the Marlies live.

Having said that, I can vouch for the fact that weeknight games are poorly attended. Even playoff games, and that doesn't make sense to me. I've dealt with the Marlies PR folks and they seem to be doing a lot of things right. They reached out to me, they do great things with kids hockey leagues, including my son's Timbits hockey at Swansea, they're now on Twitter and Facebook and they're open to creative marketing solutions.

I think the OHL is outdrawing the Marlies because the Marlies are part of the MLSE empire, and it's hard to paint yourself as a low-cost family alternative when you're printing money with the Leafs, Raptors and TFC. Even though the product is excellent and most of the players have already suited up or will suit up for the Maple Leafs, those looking for a low-cost family alternative sway toward the OHL, the more grass-roots, organic flavour of minor league hockey in the GTA.

There's nothing the Marlies can do about this, but I have one suggestion. Lower ticket prices because you're already gouging us on the NHL level and we know it. My preferred Marlies seats cost $38 each... Decent side seats are $33 on game day. Even the end zone seats are $21 on game day. IMHO, that's too high to be a true low-cost family alternative, especially when we pay $12 to park.

The product is good but the competition is fierce. Aggressive pricing and continued good grass-roots work on the marketing front is the best bet for future Marlies success.

I can't wait for puck droppage tonight @ 7pm at Ricoh. I'll tweet from the game... and hopefully pick up my Matt Stajan autograph.


Share this entry

Comments (8 - click here to join in!)


My dad used to takes us to marlie games during the 70's...it was fun going to maple leaf gardens even though I never did get to a leaf game with him...we had fun. I can't believe the prices now...i can't afford to bring my kids...let alone a leaf game

April 23, 2009 @ 12:45 PM


Would you go to the games if you had to buy the tickets?

April 23, 2009 @ 1:25 PM

Toronto Mike

If I could get a good seat for $15, I would take the kids to a few games throughout the season, for sure.

For $10 seats, I'd attend even more.

$38 seats? Unlikely.

April 23, 2009 @ 1:34 PM


That's fair. My TFC season tickets are in and around that range for the south end seats. Affordable and fun. I love the game itself but the atmosphere is half the fun. If the Marlies could get more people out, it would be the same story.

April 23, 2009 @ 3:16 PM

Toronto Mike

Elvis, as you know, I've been to a TFC game, and I loved the atmosphere. The fans have these fun rituals complete with chants and it makes for fantastic sporting ambiance.

Maybe MLSE should let us bring some of that TFC magic to Marlies games, without the throwing of streamers on the ice.

The Marlies need more TFC spirit.

April 23, 2009 @ 3:30 PM


So you're getting freebie or very cheap ducets?
Regular price for Marlie tickets ain't worth it.

April 23, 2009 @ 9:52 PM


I was at the game tonight. My Marlies rep gave me 4 seats at $30 a piece for my role in the local hockey league. They have been working at developing a relationship with our community for a couple of years now.

They're a great bunch. They can, and have helped minor hockey leagues raise funds. They also do minor hockey events like send skating coaches out to run power skate courses, and an afternoon with Duke is never a disappointment.

As I sat there tonight and looked at the empty seats, I also wondered why the turnout is so low. Aside from people, what is missing? Actually, nothing is missing.

Ticket price. That is exactly what I thought too. That's a big part of it.

I was in good seats and surrounded by folk that were not there with their kids or, worse yet, empty seats. Would I pay $120 to take the boys to a game? Maybe once, but not all the time.

Drop the price and sell more tickets. Same financial outcome but more people in the stands.

It was a good game (yes, I know that it fell apart there at the end). But for the right price, it's still closer than you will get at the ACC.

I'm glad we went. I also would recommend it to anyone that likes hockey.

April 23, 2009 @ 10:37 PM

Toronto Mike

Gail, you should have told me you were there and I'd have said hi.

There were an alarming number of empty seats last night for a game #5 of the playoffs.

More people will attract more people, and we'll get more people with aggressive pricing. Because you're right, until the wheels fell off in the 3rd period, that was one exciting and close game.

Interesting Fact: I sat beside the goal judge and all 7 goals were scored at the opposite end. He did give my son a game puck, though...

April 24, 2009 @ 7:50 AM

Leave a comment

Only 8 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!

« Jesus Price, What a Series! GeoCities to Close, A Part of My Web History Evaporates »