Bandits' ticket campaign called a rousing success

September 16, 1995|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Their season opener is nearly a month away and their roster is yet to be filled, but the Bandits are exceeding the expectations of those responsible for bringing the American Hockey League back to Baltimore.

a,4 "The phones have been ringing like crazy and there was a line here yesterday for tickets, so we have great reason to be optimistic," said Robert Teck, co-owner of the Bandits.

"Our season-ticket sales so far have exceeded any ticket sales in the history of Baltimore hockey and group sales are well ahead of our projections."

The team has sold more than 1,500 season-ticket plans and Teck appears extremely pleased with the opening stages of his club's $1 million advertising campaign.

"There's a real effort being made to get the message out and we know that you can't be successful if people don't know you exist," said Teck, whose team is spreading the word via newspaper ads, billboards, radio spots and soon-to-come television commercials.

"We want to be as visible as possible. The key to the success of any athletic franchise is visibility -- getting in people's faces, if you will, and letting them know you exist."

Sherrie Petti, formerly a regional sales manager for the Washington Capitals and now director of ticket sales for the Bandits, attributes the team's early success on tickets to an underrated demand for the sport and a wide range of ticket prices.

"We're doing far better than the Skipjacks ever did," said Petti, referring to Baltimore's former AHL team, which moved to Portland, Maine, in 1993. "The phones have been ringing constantly and we're especially encouraged by our group ticket sales."

Petti said the team already is close to selling out the Baltimore Arena for its Oct. 6 season opener against the Carolina Monarchs, and the club also expects a substantial crowd when it plays host to Hershey in a preseason game Sept. 30.

While the Bandits' business office is busy trying to sell hockey, the team's coaching staff has been evaluating players and trying to figure out who will be representing Baltimore on the ice and who may be playing for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the team's NHL affiliate.

Baltimore assistant coach Mike Gibbons, who recently returned from Europe, where he took a team of 14 "potential Mighty Ducks or Bandits," said Bandits coach Walt Kyle, and his staff have been surprised by some players and disappointed by others.

"Overall, the staff is excited about the talent, but there are still a few players who aren't ready to be Bandits," said Gibbons. "There's a lot of nervous optimism around here."

For information on group or season tickets, call the Bandits' hot line at (410) 528-0200. Tickets to individual games are available through Ticketmaster at (410) 481-SEAT.

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