There’s Always Next Year

Empty Seats
With just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Kingston Frontenacs will be dusting off their golf clubs sooner than later. These days, the only thing worse than their 3rd from last position in the standings, is game attendance. I don’t think anyone was surprised by the fact that the Fronts sold out the opening game in the K-Rock Centre, which reportedly brought in 5,700 attendees. However, the club’s follow-up performance last Sunday was anything but stellar, as the crowd totaled a dismal 2,283 fans. This is far below the 3,500 attendance threshold that has been established as the minimum figure needed to turn a profit at the Krock. So what will it take for the residents of the birthplace of hockey to line up around the corner and support the local OHL franchise?

First and foremost, unless you’re the Toronto Maple Leafs, you aren’t going to draw a crowd, let alone sell out if your on ice product is sub-par. The bottom line is that Kingstonian’s aren’t going to waste their time or hard earned money on a losing team. The Frontenac’s abysmal position in the standings points to the fact that the club desperately needs to recruit new talent to rejuvenate the franchise. In past years, prospective players have balked at the opportunity to come and play in Kingston, which has been attributed in part to the poor state of the Memorial Centre. If you subscribe to this theory alone, then the K-Rock Centre should be enough to attract more talent to the team. Thankfully, the Fronts subterranean position in the standings has a silver lining in that they have an excellent opportunity to draft the best players for next year. Ultimately better players will contribute to the team’s value in the standings, which will in turn attract more fans. How much better can they get in a single season remains to be seen.

If you’ve wanted to sneak a peak at the new facility by attending a game, chances are you discovered how expensive tickets are. For example, the price for two adults to attend tonight’s game against Barrie is $47.25, and that’s before you take into consideration the cost of parking, and concessions. If the Fronts want to attract more fans next season, a $10 reduction per ticket would be a good place to start. Further, I am sure that whatever loss they incur at the box office could be recovered somewhat by gouging fans for $5 bags of popcorn, and $7 thimbles of beer.

Lastly and most importantly, the Frontenac’s need to improve their marketing attitude. Mayor Rosen recently commented on “…the amateurish nature of the promotion being attempted. If you want to sell tickets, you promote your events.” This is no doubt in response to the team’s boasting that their second home game last Sunday was sold out, but as indicated they were well under break-even capacity. For the rest of the season it seems as though they are heavily banking on walk-up purchases at the box office on the day of the game, which was how clubs did business 10 years ago. Next season, the Front’s need to do more than simply tell me that they’ve got tickets for their upcoming game on K-Rock. The franchise needs to convince me that I’m truly missing out on an entertaining and affordable event, or else they run the risk of yet another fan calling for resignations and boycotts.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

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