Wednesday, February 12, 2003
BK has provided the financial details of Austin's playoff plans.
As for me, I was pro-Chaparral when it was just for the first round. But for the entire playoffs? Anyway, I've stumbled onto a secret, unedited version of the team letter (tongue firmly in cheek).
Dear Season Ticket Holder:
The playoffs are upon us and with the Bats' sporting the BEST RECORD IN ALL OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, isn't it a shame that we're going to stage what could be the greatest postseason in team history at a beer league venue? It is a certainty we will be making another run at the Central Hockey League Championship, though every fan, team employee and league administrator outside of Austin is probably rooting against us, since Laredo or Odessa would be better President's Cup hosts. Maybe we can win the Cup in five, on the road. That way more people can see it, and unlike our home contests, the game will be on radio.
The Bats are bigger, faster, and tougher than ever: a great team that will probably have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, something that's usually a boon for the players and a nice thing for the fans. Oh well. Anyway, we have never been more excited by our prospects entering the post-season. With limited group sales, it's hard to make much money in the playoffs, so this Chaparral thing isn't so bad as far as that goes.
As we look ahead and prepare for the post-season run, we are pleased to bring you some important information. First, we are offering our most valued customers-season ticket holders -- the benefit of seeing this year's first two home playoff games for FREE! Of course, to do that, you'll have to give us even more of an interest-free loan than usual on next year's tickets. But we'll get to that later. Second, the Bats are proud to announce that there will once again be no price increase on next year's season tickets. Hey, we may not be willing to move heaven and earth to give our players and fans a suitable postseason venue, but we're not completely off our rocker. Third, the great benefits you received this past season will continue to add great value to your 2003-2004 season ticket package. Did we already mention you have to buy that package now to get the most important benefit? Oh wait, that's next.
For the first time ever, the Bats have also combined the playoff ticket process with the season ticket renewal process. Many CHL teams do this and it is advantageous for many reasons. To begin, it allows us to offer the great discount on playoff tickets that we are offering this year (see, we said you'd be getting something for free, but it's really just a discount). Secondly, it allows us to address any issues you may have with the season ticket renewal process, our performance on the ice and/or our performance as an organization overall. Just don't bitch about Chaparral, 'cause that issue isn't open to discussion. It also allows us to focus our off-season sales on generating new accounts and growing the fan base. 'Cause, y'know, we can't use this terrific team's potentially terrific postseason an an advertisement for itself – no room at the inn. The media doesn't cover us enough already, how high will their interest be in the "President's Cup No One Can See?"
Finally, as many of you know our annual rodeo displacement has moved to playoff time this year. While not ideal it is truly beyond our control. Well, the timing of the rodeo is. But that ends April 5. We could play most of the second round and all of the third round at the Travis County Expo Center, but our relationship with the county has gone to hell. Honestly, we thought we'd be owned by Mr. Hicks and bound for Cedar Park by now. Times are tough, so we can't afford to guarantee playoff dates that might not happen. Consequently, the indoor football team, whatever the hell they're called, has locked up three Saturday dates in April and early May, while something called Lab Wrestling is at the Expo on the 12th. Can you believe this stuff gets priority over a team that's been there seven years? Now, we could maybe lay down the ice and make the best of it with a patchwork schedule, but it's an outlay of time and money that we're not willing to make, and the county certainly isn't gonna go out of its way to help us.
Fortunately, since the Austin community in general doesn't really care about us, there won't be much of an outcry at the fact that the Bats will be playing the playoff games at Chaparral Ice. Hey, at least when we don't get enough media coverage this year, it won't hurt ticket sales. A certain editor at a certain local paper has said the reason the Bats don't get more coverage is he believes there are only eight or nine hundred people in town who really care about the team enough to thirst for column inches. Coincidentally, that's about how many fans we intend to accommodate this postseason.
We have explored all the options available and this is truly our only choice that doesn't cost us money. Look, average attendance is down 1000 a game from Austin's hockey heyday. Multiply that by 32, and then, by say, 10 bucks. It's not a pretty number. You fans and journalists can bitch about the situation, but you're not the ones losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, so give us a friggin' break. We can't afford to play in our own building, we can't afford the Erwin Center (if it were even available to us), we can't afford to go to Belton or San Antonio even if it was acceptable to play the games so far from home.
We are actually very excited by the prospect of making these games a great event. Those of you who witnessed our games in New Mexico a few years back at a similar arena know how electric a small facility can be during the playoffs. Of course, only 20-50 of you were there -- the rest of you don't know that that rink had twice as much seating as Chaparral, was an hour-plus from Albuquerque and didn't sell out. But hey, at least we're not gonna charge 40 bucks a head like Plaman did. Give us a little credit. And it will certainly be better than those so-called crowds of 3000 we've had some days at the Cave. Also, remember how loud those Mudbugs and Iguanas fans could get, cheering on their team in our house? Sorry Bucks, Jacks, Rayz, Scorps or C-Kings fan. No tix for you! Talk about home ice advantage! We're also hoping Chaparral's smaller dimension will give our boys an edge, but then again, Laredo doesn't seem to have much trouble on the Corpus ice.
In this package is a detailed description of how the playoffs will work at Chaparral in regard to seating priority and pricing. Seats will be limited and we cannot guarantee a seat to anyone who does not have a playoff strip. Additionally, playoff seats will be significantly discounted for season ticket holders at Chaparral.
To take advantage of seeing the Bats in action this post-season for FREE – if we keep saying it, you might believe it -- you simply need to do one of the first two options on the following page.
Thanks for your support and GO BATS!
Someone who works for John McVaney
President and Managing Partner
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