Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lake Erie Monsters Off To Fishy Start

The new Cleveland AHL team has a name, and no, it's not the Fighting Walleye, but the Lake Erie Monsters.

The new team's web site was just recently launched, along with the announcement of the final choice of the team's name earlier today.

As for the etymological origins of the name "Lake Erie Monsters", not to worry; unlike "Fighting Walleye", which left most people confused, the team's web site has a section that explains the legend of the Lake Erie Monster, and includes a number of helpful descriptions and reports of sightings, in case you ever get the urge to actually hunt the sucker down yourself:

There have been many explanations to the sightings; most notable is the prehistoric sturgeon, which can easily grow up to 300 pounds and have been known to reach 20 feet, 200 pounds and 100 years old. But, to date, no one has captured, or solved, the mystery of the Lake Erie Monster.

Described as a passive creature, the legend of the Lake Erie Monster was heightened when the creature is blamed for an attack in 1992 that killed three people in Port Dover, Ontario. The survivors of the attack say the creature's head was as large as a car. This prompted a group of local businessman to offer a $150,000 reward for the beast's live capture.

Ooohh, scary stuff, eh, kids?

Of course, despite having some cool stuff going for them marketing-wise (nice-looking logo, interesting name, blah blah blah), the Lake Erie Monsters face an uphill climb when it comes to drumming up support for the team, if Cleveland's recent string of minor league hockey failures is any indication.

The Monsters will be attempting to fill an arena with an NBA seating capacity of 20,562, while playing in a league (the AHL) where the average game attendance is only a little more than 5,000. Even worse, as some naysayers have been pointing out (while spamming blogs and message boards everywhere, it seems), the Monsters' ticket prices appear to be well above the AHL standard.

Now, to be fair, if you overlook the ridiculously pricey $40-$61 seats (of which there are only a few anyway), the Monsters' ticket prices of $26 and $20 for the sides and the ends are pretty much in line with what the Wolf Pack charge, for instance ($19 to $27 for similar locations).

Of course, the Wolf Pack have suffered with sluggish attendance for a while now, so maybe they're not the best example; not only that, but comparable tickets for the previous Cleveland AHL team (the Barons) were only $9 and $16.

Not only that, but as the Monsters will eventually find out, it's counter-productive to entice people with dirt-cheap ticket prices for the upper nosebleed sections when the arena will be 75% empty most of the time and fans will be able to sit wherever they want once they're through the doors, anyway.

Also on the ridiculous side is the message board on the Monsters web site, which for now looks suspiciously populated by street-teamer types, and what I can only guess are team employees posing as average fans:

Who likes the new team name and logo? I really like it. When are they gonna have some Merch available for sale? Will the AHL be switching to the new Reebok EDGE jerseys? I really hope the team succeeds and is supported well. I used to go to 'Jacks games all the time and they were a blast. I just wish I still lived near Cleveland so I could catch a game or two!

I like the new name and logo!! As for the ticket prices.. yes some went up.. but I think the overall experience is going to be much more fun.

I watched some of the press conference and I must say... I NEVER saw that kind of enthusiasm when the Barons were here!


At least if the team ends up floundering at the bottom of the league or eventually sinks for good, there'll be plenty of opportunities for some related fish/lake-type puns, if you're into that sort of thing. (Not that I would ever stoop that low, of course.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I noticed those rah-rah types on their board. Kinda sad when you have to get your employees to talk up your team when so many people are down on it. The prices are a laugh too, but I think that's been covered. Too bad Gilbert and Co. didn't read more newspapers:

Lots of people are making a lot more sense than these dudes.

1/25/07, 10:59 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

The link to the Plain Dealer article might get cut off on some people's screens, so I'll re-print it here:


The real thing that thousands of hockey fans in the city of Cleveland want Dan Gilbert to reconsider in terms of his new American Hockey League franchise is ridiculously inflated ticket prices.

The name isn't going to mean anything if you take this into consideration. Glass seats are going for $60. The entire lower bowl - save for one small section - is priced between $20 and $60. This is minor-league hockey, isn't it? The only seats that aren't way outside the AHL average are priced $10 to $16, but they are all the way up in the sides of the upper bowl!

Again, what is the justification for these prices? This isn't like the Barons or most other teams, where they have to split profits with the arena or pay rent. One-hundred percent of the ticket price (regardless of what it is), all the merchandising, the concessions, parking, etc., all go into the same pockets. Maybe if a billionaire didn't buy the team and put in a new ice surface, make a new scoreboard and update facilities, then maybe these outrageous prices would make sense. They still wouldn't work, but at least they would make sense. Unfortunately though, that isn't the case.

1/25/07, 11:11 PM

Anonymous caldercup0 said...

Which is more frightening: the Lake Erie Monster, or the Admirals mascot disappearing for an unseasonably long time only to emerge as an undead skeleton captain?

1/26/07, 9:55 AM

Blogger Brushback said...

Hey, the Lake Erie Monster actually kills people.

That's pretty frightening.

1/26/07, 3:00 PM

Anonymous caldercup0 said...

Personally, I think it's more frightening that people actually thought of the Skeleton Admiral returning from the depths of the Great Lakes to play with a hockey stick made from his own bones.

That's just me though.

1/26/07, 10:45 PM

Anonymous quint said...

Well, I was on the Indianapolis on June 29th, 1945. We'd just finished deliverin' the bomb they used on Hiroshima. We were making our way back across the pacific from Tinian to Leyte. Damn near eleven hundred men went over the side as 3 Japanese torpedos slammed into the Indy. She sunk in 12 minutes. Some were already dead and others were hangin' limp in the lifejackets. Others were already lying dead on the bottom. You'd think that our biggest problem was that no one had sent a distress signal. Nor was it sharks. It was livin' skeletons riding on the back of sea-monsters swinging the bones of dead sailors over their heads and beating us in the water. Until that fat PBY spotted us and we were picked up we were mighty scared. Eleven hundred went into that ocean. Three hundred and sixteen got out. Nineteen hundred and forty-five; June 29th. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

1/27/07, 12:32 AM

Anonymous Scott said...

OK, so I know I'm coming to this party about five years too late, but I think time has shown that the Monsters' ticket-pricing strategy was spot on. Lake Erie is currently second in the AHL in attendance and regularly draws five-digit weekend crowds. As many of us suspected, hockey will definitely work in Cleveland at all levels if properly structured and marketed.

3/26/12, 1:22 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Yeah, I've been surprised at how well they've been doing, as far as attendance.

Hartford, in the meantime, has fallen off the map.

3/26/12, 1:33 PM


Post a Comment

<< Go To Main Page