Pens offering concession vouchers, discounts to fans
The Penguins — both on the management and players sides — were more active than any team while attempting to end the NHL lockout.
They also are being active in the pursuit of winning back fans.
Among the first teams to issue an apology regarding the lockout, the Penguins went a step further Thursday. The team announced that a number of price rollbacks on food and merchandise, along with free admission to fans during training camp, soon will be available.
“When the lockout ended,” Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams said, “we immediately said, ‘How are we going to say “thank you” to the fans?' We know how loyal our fans are here, and we wanted to do something to let them know how much we appreciate them.”
Here is what the team has planned:
• All fans are welcome to attend training camp, free of charge, at Consol Energy Center next week. Camp is expected to begin this weekend. Fans ordinarily are only welcome to attend the practices at Southpointe.
• All merchandise at Consol Energy Center and South Side Works PensGear locations will be sold at 50 percent off during the team's first four home games. The NHL schedule will be released this weekend after the players vote.
• Fans attending the first four games will receive a voucher and may enjoy three free items from a list that includes hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, salads and soft drinks.
• The team will host contests on its website during the next week. Prizes will include a pair of tickets to every home game during the 2013 regular season; a trip for two to see the Penguins play the Rangers in New York; autographed sweaters from Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury; four front-row seats for the home opener, which includes dinner in the Lexus Club and a limo ride to and from the game; two five-game mini-plans; six lower-bowl tickets to any regular-season games and a gift certificate for $700 at PensGear.
“This is our way of saying ‘thank you' and of saying that we're sorry,” Williams said. “We know there is no promotion and no apology that would really make up for what we've lost. But we do have a tradition and history here of doing right by our fans. That will never stop.”
Penguins players Sidney Crosby and Craig Adams were among the most active at NHL labor meetings in New York during the past four months. Also, owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux attempted to end the lockoutwith Crosby.
The organization clearly is on the same page in terms of public relations.
“Without the fans,” Crosby said, “there is no league.”