Watching the fourth wave of COVID-19 emerge in Quebec since late August, the Canadian no longer believed he could accommodate 21,000 viewers at the Bell Center for the launch of the new season. On Thursday, the government’s announcement came as a surprise.
“We had a mechanism when we got used to the idea in September that the season would start with 7,500 spectators at the Bell Center. We opted to manage tickets on a month-to-month basis until the government relaxed its rules and gave permission to accommodate more viewers, ”said Vincent Lucier, senior vice president of sales and development.
Since the beginning of September, the sales army had executed a game plan that was put in place over the summer. It was to distribute the maximum of 7,500 tickets per game through its approximately 15,000 seasonal subscribers, respecting public health standards.
Being able to work with a third of capacity, he had developed this strategy in anticipation of the three preseason games and the four games on the regular schedule in October.
Thus, their subscribers had the opportunity to attend two or three matches in order to accommodate everyone. However, a disadvantage, according to current contracts, it was impossible to offer the same seats to all, because each of the 14 sections could not contain more than 500 fans. To be successful in welcoming all of them, the Canadian had to transfer most of them.
But now the Quebec government has decided to relax the rules for Thursday’s sporting and cultural events, to everyone’s satisfaction.
Militant for presenting their matches at full capacity since the last series, the CH, evidently, jumped for joy when they heard the news expected since June.
Tickets already distributed
The problem, and quite one, is that the Habs had already submitted their tickets for the October games ten days ago. Once they are sent to market, it is impossible to repatriate them.
“Upon receiving the green light, all of our subscribers would return to their usual seats,” Lucier added. But in October, that will be impossible. “
Then, at the latest, you can find them on the night of November 2 during the Detroit Red Wings visit.
Meanwhile, an email will be sent to subscribers on Monday offering them tickets to all four games presented at the Bell Center when it opens on October 16.
“You will have to fill in the sections according to the banknotes that are already in circulation. Holders may purchase individual and pre-purchase tickets if they so wish. They will not be sitting in their seats, but they can be present. Then we will dispose of the remaining OTC inventory, ”Lucier explained.
All this commotion is a major problem. The spoiled plan in July, therefore, took the direction of trash on Thursday.
Will tickets for the opening game be sold out in two weeks?
“It will be a great logistical challenge,” Lucier said positively. It is difficult to say. Through the response and our communications with our headlines, we see a huge appetite for hockey. The date comes fast. If we go back to the last 24 hours, it should be fine. We will be closer to maximum capacity than to an empty amphitheater. “
Calls will also be made to people on the waiting list. In addition, it has melted in the last six years, going from about 3,000 names to about 1,000. The opening of a variety of packages explains, among other things, this decrease.
” We are prepared “
During 18 months, the Canadian had developed a thousand and one possible scenarios for the return of the fans. Did the government catch you off guard this week?
“Yes and no, because we had several plans in place,” Lucier said. With the health situation on July 15, we were confident that we would be able to present our first game at full capacity. And in August, we implemented our 7,500-viewer plan.
“Luckily we did not send all the tickets for the season,” he congratulated himself on the challenge that he and his team will have to face. We are ready to receive 21,000 spectators. We know we have the means and the resources to get there. We have been telling the government for a long time that we are ready. “
Starting October 16, fans will be able to go through the Bell Center turnstiles through any gate, but on the condition that they present their vaccination passport.