There’s one advantage to the minor leagues.
“I thought it was a good showing,” said Darren Ruud of Des Moines.
You can have thousands of happy fans…
“I think it went real well,” said Tom Stevens of Johnston.
…even when you finish dead last.
“I would have liked to have seen them win more game than they did,” said Julie Hale of Des Moines, “but I think they had a good turnout.”
And that seems to be the consensus at the close of the Iowa Wild’s first season at Wells Fargo Arena where they averaged 59-hundred fans per game—that’s tenth out of 30 AHL teams.
“The only nights when it probably lacked a little bit more atmosphere than we would hope would be some of our mid-week games,” admitted Wild president, Todd Frederickson, “and those are always going to prove to be a challenge.”
Also consider the fact that new franchises typically want 12-18 months to prepare their launch. The Wild’s sales and marketing teams got less than five.
“Our expectations were set (because we started so late) to be very realistic,” said general manager, Jim Mill, “and I think we exceeded them in every possible way.”
And here’s the best news, “I bought season tickets,” said Allen Althaus, a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Around 85% of the Wild’s season ticket holders have already renewed for next season.
“Across the industry, the industry standard for first-year renewal rate is 67%,” said Frederickson, speaking of professional sports.
And the Wild have another six months to convince fans on the fence to buy.
“We were looking at buying one of the flex packages because you can buy so many games and then choose which ones you want to go to,” said Ruud.
With marketing and sales pulling their weight, all that’s left is on the ice…
“I’d like to see them win more games,” said Rick Hale of Des Moines, “that’d be a big improvement.”
It be nice, but in the minors not necessarily necessary.
In their final game, the Wild scored three goals but lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Chicago Wolves.