Demand cools for Hawks outdoor tix

Updated: February 28, 2014, 5:18 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Ticket demand on the secondary market for the NHL Stadium Series outdoor game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field has slowed this week because of the potential of a minus-8 wind chill Saturday, according to local ticket brokers.

Being the first NHL game held at Soldier Field, and with the Blackhawks' success of two Stanley Cups in the past four seasons, public tickets sold out within 24 hours in December. Chicago ticket brokers said the secondary market remained highly active for the game until about two weeks ago, when 10-day forecasts became available and included the possibility of sub-zero temperatures and snow for the 7 p.m. game.

The nighttime temperature for Saturday is expected to be 8 degrees with the wind chill making it feel like minus-8, according to ABC7 in Chicago. There is also a chance of snow in the late afternoon. The average temperature for March 1 in Chicago is a high of 42 degrees and a low of 28, according to weather.com.

"[Demand] was strong for a long time leading up to the last month or so," said Dan Murphy, who works in the purchasing department at Gold Coast Tickets in Chicago. "I would say the last two weeks, just when people were able to access the 10-day forecasts, they've kind of maybe thought I don't want to go out there. We probably have as many sellers as buyers."

Dmitry Murokh, who owns StubStop in Chicago, has had a similar experience.

"It's just a lot slower," Murokh said. "Prices have fallen. Tickets have dropped 30 or 40 percent. A lot of tickets are selling for less than face value. It's an outdoor event. There's a lot of snow. It's cold out. I can tell you I was going to go, but being 20 degrees and maybe four inches of snow, I'm not going to go."

All three ticket brokers contacted said they have stopped purchasing tickets from the public. One Blackhawks season ticket holder, who asked to remain anonymous, said he looked into selling his tickets but decided against it after seeing how many were already on the market.

Tickets at face value range from $99 for the 100 level to $325 for club seating. Brokers said the price and interest in club seats have remained constant because spectators can find refuge indoors from the weather.

Unlike the other ticket brokers, Anthony Manning, a manager at Ticket Chest in Chicago, said ticket demand has been solid in recent days.

"I think sales have been pretty strong all along," he said." The only thing is this week there have been a few more people selling. I think [the weather's] affected it a bit. It's not like no one is going. I'm sure there are other people who want to brave the elements. We had some sales today."

All three ticket brokers agreed that the market for this game is nothing like when the Blackhawks played the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009.

"That was a way larger event, way more exciting," Murphy said. "I think part of it is you're combining Wrigley and you're bringing in all the bars and being a national holiday on Jan. 1. That was more of a holiday atmosphere. There was a bigger lure to it. It was a way bigger buzz. It was the Red Wings. That one was a way bigger scale and bigger retail."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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