In a fluorescent-lit hotel meeting room in Trenton this summer, the owner of the New Jersey Devils sat on a low, slightly stained stage and smiled out at a crowded room of fans. A Devils backdrop was taped up between two metal poles behind him, while a few trays of modest hors d’oeuvres warmed along one wall.
“Thanks everybody for coming out tonight,” the owner, Jeff Vanderbeek, said. “What we’re trying to do here is listen.”
Teams across the country are grappling with how to sell tickets in a difficult economy and increasingly crowded market—even as fans turn to other sources for sales, such as Internet sites that offer discounts as game-time approaches.
The nine professional sports teams in the New York region (not including the Red Bulls or the Liberty) face a unique challenge; in addition to playing in one of the country’s most competitive markets, nearly every team has—or will have—a new stadium by 2012, putting increased pressure on ticket revenues.
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