Lightning have high hopes on and off the ice

Playoffs mean better ticket sales for next year

TAMPA - As the Tampa Bay Lightning go to work on the ice to try and move past the Washington Capitals and into the next round of the playoff, the Tampa Bay Lightning sales team is trying to achieve their goals as well.

All season, management and new owner Jeff Vinik have been targeting potential fans by announcing huge changes at the St. Pete Times Forum.  Those changes include $40 million in renovations as well as new luxury suites, new seating, and added benefits, like discounts on concessions and merchandise for season ticket holders.

They are pulling out all the stops, according to Lightning Chief Operating Officer Steve Griggs, who says, "We want to make sure we are sold out every single game next year."

That's because the NHL is gate-driven.  It doesn't have a huge television contract like football or baseball, so hometown fans showing up at the gate are vital.

To that end, according to VP of Sales Brad Lott, while the Lightning are working on the ice, the Lightning sales team will be working the crowd.

And it seems to be working. In the last 2 weeks alone they have sold an additional 1,500 season tickets.  A very good push as they try to reach 10,000 season ticket holders for next year -- 4,000 more than last year.

A lofty goal, but then again so is lifting the Stanley Cup.  And that's been done.

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