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Caps Hire New VP of Ticket Sales

Selling the local NHL team to Washingtonians has been a challenge in recent seasons, but it sounds like Jim Van Stone knows a thing or two about bringing folks into the building, which can only be good news for the Caps, who ranked 27th in attendance last year.

And he's got a head start: Thanks to an offseason spending spree and the popular switch back to red, white and blue, ticket sales for the Caps are already ahead of last summer's pace.

From the club's press release:

Van Stone comes to Washington after spending the past two years as the senior vice president of ticket sales and service with the Phoenix Coyotes, the Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League and Jobing.com Arena. Van Stone led a group that increased paid Coyotes tickets by 88,000 in two seasons, a 22% increase from 2003-04.

Van Stone replaces Mike Humes, who left the organization for family reasons.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 17, 2007; 11:13 AM ET
 
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Comments

Good luck Jim!

Posted by: Hockey Amor | August 17, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, thoughts on Leonsis/Cszaban??

Posted by: Hey | August 17, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the Caps' approach to ticket sales is all wrong. They see tickets as merchandise that needs to be advertised and marketed. But in this town, people aren't going to buy (expensive) Caps' tickets like they buy tickets to a movie. The Caps need to create buzz about the team and pride in it - something that's possible, but that they haven't done, instead trying to sell tickets with 30ft posters downtown of Ovechkin, and low-budget tv commercials.

Posted by: katzistan | August 17, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Both Ted and Steve make pretty strong points. One thing neither side pointed out is that it's never a good thing to have football/basketball guys trying to talk hockey. that's worse than nothing at all, IMO.

Posted by: Tarik | August 17, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Marketing doesn't sell tickets. Winning does.

Posted by: Dave | August 17, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"Marketing doesn't sell tickets. Winning does."

Really? So how to the Redskins do it?

Posted by: Phil | August 17, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"Marketing doesn't sell tickets. Winning does."

Really? So how do the Redskins do it?

Posted by: Phil | August 17, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins have actually won at multiple points in their history. It makes a big difference when (no matter how long it's been) a team has been to the mountain-top.

Posted by: Goat | August 17, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Phil, With the prices the Redksins charge for season tickets, and with so few home games, if you miss a game there is more of an impact/feeling of waste. With the Caps, they need to find a happy medium with prices and promotions, and start winning.

The Redskins are actually starting to run into trouble with people not renewig their Club level seats. The letter that went to a friend of mine said something like "If you renew now, the price only goes up $3,000 a season. If you wait, they'll go up $8,000." My friend said he wouldn't pay for a losing team like that.

Also, take a look at telecasts. Even though Redskins games are sold out, nobody wants to go see that sorry organization. (And I'm a Redksin fan. Hate the owner)

Posted by: Lee | August 18, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

There is a much better football team just 40 miles north.

Posted by: Finn | August 18, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

no the cleveland browns moved back to cleveland again, its a bit further.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Dave, ("Marketing doesn't sell tickets. Winning does.") There is more to marketing than avertising or a good product; it includes pricing stragies, customer service and networking in key markets. In the case of a sports team, that would be the business community. Wish the man luck, his success will determine how much talent the Caps can afford, including Ovie, and ultimately whether the Caps can afford to stay in Washington.

Posted by: The Capitalist | August 18, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Both Ted and Steve make pretty strong points. One thing neither side pointed out is that it's never a good thing to have football/basketball guys trying to talk hockey. that's worse than nothing at all, IMO."

No Tarik, whats worth is when Leonsis takes over BOTH teams in the not to distant future.

That will set Caps fans in orbit....o wait,
well, further orbit than they are now.


Posted by: caphcky | August 18, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hockey will never sell like football...period. Hockey has so few games a season, which are for the most part all on Sundays (with the exception of the occassional Monday night match, and match around holidays).

Going to a football game can be an all-day event. You don't see that in other sports. You can tailgate, hang out in the parking lot, bbq, etc - part of it being the day of the week it is played.

Football is now America's pasttime. You will never not be able to find a game to watch on tv, no matter how bad your team is doing. And there are a ton of football fans out there who watch the games even when their team isn't playing, much more so than other sports.

Look at the Super Bowl and how it has become a national holiday. People who don't even watch football, watch it. Advertisers spend the whole year coming up with the perfect ad.

You just can't compare selling season tickets to the Caps vs. season tickets to the Redskins. With that few games, it makes it worthwhile to go (especially on a Sunday). Since most games are on a Sunday afternoon, and many people don't work then, you can invest the money knowing that you can make most of the games. The same can't be said of other sports with triple the games across all days of the week (like hockey or baseball).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget too, that the commitment for football season tickets is all of 8 games, plus playoffs. Hockey is a minimum of 41, plus preseason, plus playoffs...

Posted by: The Capitalist | August 18, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Anything new on Klepis, Fleischmann, or Erskine?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

hey caphcky, i'm a cap fan and i'm not "in orbit", which i assume based upon your past history is some negative feeling. so big ted spent some cash this offseason like he said he would.. you got any comment that? no? not negative enough for you? no complaints that they didnt sign drury, briere, souray and trade for brodour, crosby and the ghost of rocket richard? i guess you were just saving your powder waiting on your chance to dump on ted. think of anything more clever than ROFLMAO for the upcoming season?

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | August 18, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

No Tarik, whats worth is when Leonsis takes over BOTH teams in the not to distant future. That will set Caps fans in orbit....o wait, well, further orbit than they are now.

Better you to move to a galaxy far, far, away, troll.

Posted by: slappy | August 19, 2007 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, any update on how Fehr's injury rehab is progressing for training camp?

Posted by: Zero | August 19, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

i will check up on Fehr's condition this week.

Posted by: Tarik | August 19, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Hi Caphcky!

Posted by: Chris in SS | August 20, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Caps fan 1 wrote:
"i'm a cap fan and i'm not "in orbit", which i assume based upon your past history is some negative feeling"

I'm not in orbit either ma'em. I have negative feeling about this organization till they show a committment to winning.

"so big ted spent some cash this offseason like he said he would.. you got any comment that? no? not negative enough for you? no complaints that they didnt sign drury, briere, souray and trade for brodour, crosby and the ghost of rocket richard?

Ted has paid for a talented team on the ice for this coming year. If we can keep the puck out of our own net, we'll score a ton....should be exciting. I'm not really disappointed they didn't sign Souray, Briere or Chris because they haven't shown they'll pay the kind of money for those guys after the Jagr debacle. Another point is, will these guys want to come here. I know Drury didn't have any aspirations to come here.

"i guess you were just saving your powder waiting on your chance to dump on ted.

YOU guessed wrong, but when we win a playoff series under Ted's watch, he'll get alot less criticizm. The fact that he's a fraud IMO, that will pretty much stay the same.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

test

Posted by: capsfan | August 20, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I am a general sports fan, but like hockey and soccer better than the others. If you look solely at value, why would I want to pay the outrageous prices the Redskins want for 8 games, which average 11 minutes of actual action per game? I get to watch 88 minutes of actual play for the entire season. Are you kidding? When I go to a DC United game, I get 90 minutes of non-stop action and the Caps give me 60 minutes per game. If you go to sports events for the tail-gating, then by all means, go watch football. If you go to watch action, then go to hockey or soccer.

Posted by: Viggen | August 20, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Both Ted and Steve make pretty strong points. One thing neither side pointed out is that it's never a good thing to have football/basketball guys trying to talk hockey. that's worse than nothing at all, IMO."
--I could never understand why I would go to a Potomac Nationals game and buy tickets from someone who had a desk full of NFL helmets. Or why I'd go to a game in Richmond only to hear a couple of Renegades staffers comparing Stephon Marbury to some other overpriced thug. Or when I'm on travel and stop in to see another pro baseball team only to have Oakland Raiders jerseys sprawled on the walls and no this wasn't even in California.

It seems that a sport will hire anyone and everyone who DON'T like that particular sport. Baseball front office staff who worry more about the center on their basketball team needing 23 points tonight rather than me the customer needing to purchase something. If you work in baseball, enjoy baseball, that should be your primary sport. If you work in hockey, the same thing. Unfortunately, very few organizations believe that no-a-days.

However, nice little anecdote told to me by a kid working for an NBA team. He told me how he interviewed with Mike Veeck, the marketing genius. Mike asked him if baseball was his passion and the kid said no, basketball was. So Mike helped him get a job with an NBA team. Seems like there's still one smart marketing genius left.

Posted by: Sports Wreckers | August 20, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hockey is dying. I'm surprised the Post still devotes a reporter to it.

Posted by: netsrak <3 caphcky | August 21, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Why is this news? More fluff from Leonsis - ohh , this guy knows how to fill a building - there's going to be exciting promotions and giveaways, more Slapshot Sundaes and other treats.

Ohh - win some more games?? Make the play-offs?? Ohhh, is that how you fill a building??? DUHHHHHH.

Posted by: Running Man | August 21, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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