FROM THE DESK OF THE GENERAL MANAGER
From the Desk of Bruce Landon - March 19, 2009 - 1:00 pm
I have been asked several times why we do not have good home dates at the end of the season. There is no question the lack of weekend dates in late March and into early April hurt attendance and can be a factor from a competitive standpoint. The building is the busiest at this time of the year. We are the prime tenant and we have a certain amount of protection in our lease as to the number of weekend dates we receive. However, the building has the first choice on filling some key weekends before they provide me with my dates to send to the League.
The scheduling process is not an easy one. We must submit 22 Prime dates and 30 secondary dates to the League. We also must submit a minimum of 12 mid-week dates. Also, we are mandated to submit 3 prime dates and 3 secondary dates for the months of October, November and December. The League office will then prepare the first draft of the schedule after all dates have been submitted. Once we receive the first draft we are then able to try and make changes with our partners in the League. Normally our first effort is to move out of mid-week dates and secure a better date. However, much of this depends on available dates we have where the building is not occupied with another event.
We also have to avoid playing too many 3 games in 3 nights or 4 games in 5 nights. This is at times difficult in our Division because so many of the teams like to play Sunday games. We are more fortunate than some teams with our 3 games in 3 nights because the travel is usually very easy on the Sunday date. In working through the schedule we also try and minimize the travel, which is why if we play Norfolk we go down there for two games rather than single trips and then try and hit a Philadelphia or Hershey on the return trip. We also try and make a trip which geographically makes sense. That is why this year we went to Albany, then to Syracuse and on to Toronto. Every year we usually get stuck with a trip or two that does not make sense, but they are impossible to avoid.
Starting times are also discussed at length every year. We have stayed consistent the last several years with our Fridays at 7:30 and Saturdays at 7 and then Sundays at 4. Some people have asked us why we don’t go to 7 pm on Fridays as well so that kids can get home a little earlier. We ran a survey a few years ago and the results showed that the majority of people prefer the 7:30 start on Fridays so they have more time to go home after work before coming to the game. We also notice that we have a later arriving crowd on Fridays than we do Saturdays. It may be time for another survey before we have to submit our starting times for next season.
I appreciate the support of our fans during what has been a most difficult season.