Cougars Target Quality, Affordable Prices
Prince George, B.C. – It is opening weekend of the Prince George Cougars’ 2015-16 Western Hockey League season and the second year operating the team for ownership group EDGEPRO Sports and Entertainment.
Vice-President – Business, Andy Beesley, outlines where the organization is heading in year two. “Well, we’ve been labeling ourselves the New Ice Age and that means things are changing. We’re keeping some of our traditions but we’re also wanting things to evolve with the change.”
Beesely says “from a business point of view we set the bar very high last year and now our goal is to set the bar even higher this year and to do bigger and better things for our fans.” What kinds of things? “Well what our plans include first and foremost,” says Beesley, “is to continue to put fans in the seats. We know that support for the Cougars is at an all-time high, probably since they came here in 1994-1995, and we’re really feeling that again and we think that this year is going to be another record-breaker for the number of fans who come to see games. That would be number one.”
“And then number two is we’re continuing on with some of the traditions that we established last year and that includes things like our laser light show, we’ve got two or three brand new shows we’ll be unveiling throughout the year. We have musicians on the concourse and different entertainment between periods. And of course the Fanboni is a huge thing, and that’s going to be one of the centerpieces of what makes people smile when they come to a Cougars game. Not only that but people will also get a chance to win rides on the Fanboni, so it’s really going to be very entertaining and very fun for everybody.”
Comparing ticket prices to the rest of the league Beesley says the organization is very keen on keeping the Cougars experience affordable while generating money to do the things it wants to do. “We’re very proud to say that our ticket prices are right in the middle of the pack, and in some cases slightly under the middle of the pack. So we’re really working hard to both charge a fair price for the level of entertainment that we’re offering.”
“Keep in mind we’re not interested in running a bottom-rung team, we’re interested in running a top-rung team. And that means that we are also spending a great deal of money to keep the fans happy and to put an excellent product on the ice. So we are charging around the middle of the pack and I really think that that’s important to keep this affordable for our fans.”
Beesley says “one of the things that we’re embracing is the idea that people, for a long time, have almost given up on hockey in Prince George. Now that the Cougars are back, we recognize and embrace that not everybody can come to every single game. So, while season tickets, or season memberships as we now call them, are still the most affordable way in terms of the cost per game, we’ve developed a really comprehensive, full menu of ticket options and packages for people.”
“So whether they want to come to a game or two a month, or they want to come to a whole bunch of games, we’ve got a variety of packages and price points. We’re embracing the idea that not everybody wants to come to every game and some of our fans only want to come to a few games, but we want to make them feel that they’re still part of our membership and part of our team and still give them the best games and the best pricing and the best perks, and so on. And that’s a significant change from previous models where its all about season’s tickets and that’s it.”
Beesley says to purchase tickets call Ticketmaster “but to discuss various options or to find out more information call us directly at the Cougars office and one of our staff will be very happy to help people out.” The number is (250) 561-0783.
The on-ice goal of the organization in its first season was to make the playoffs, which was accomplished. While not prone to making predictions about this season, Beesley says “I will say that we are feeling pretty good about our on-ice product and there were great strides made last year. I guess the biggest note this year is that we have had seven kids that went to NHL camps, five of those boys are drafted by NHL teams and, the Cougars have not had that, ever, that number of kids.”
“So we think that the quality of the boys on our team is very, very high and we would be very disappointed not to make playoffs and we think if we make playoffs we have a chance of winning a couple of rounds this year and doing better than in many, many years on the ice.”