For starters let me write Mr Dey and the folks at the Islanders work very hard in the business department to reach out to the fans and have come up with some very creative concepts this season (and last season) to bring the fans back to games.
I don't know what Mr Dey specifically does beyond the job title, nor Mike Bossy/other alumni or the folks behind the scenes on the business end.
What I do know is they have worked very hard to get their message out with very limited, skeptical media who only seem to surface to be critical.
Mr Wang has been very generous to release ticket plans to get folks to the building and deserves better for his efforts. The hockey staff and the players have gone all out to meet the fans and talk to them directly for several seasons.
Of course, despite discounts the prices are a problem along with a small corporate fan base they have a tough job to bring in.
What I also know is past ownerships even in the late nineties were giving free tickets to anyone who used to be on a season ticket list if they could still be found, companies in Queens got literature to attend games for discounts in groups so the outreach has been there before. A friend even got seats in a suite for free one year so it's not the first time the organization has reached out to it's fans in a big way.
Folks in the media business will talk about the team being last in attendance but that's also a reflection of being last in media who have done a terrible job promoting our team to the public or giving the fans any chance to make a connection with these players thought their work unless you own a computer now. Anyone who follows the attendance knows early season games in such a huge baseball market have been a problem now for a good five years which was evident early in the 2002-03 season.
If the Islanders had three articles a day in Newsday and backpages for every game, home or road with two full time writers and bloggers, they would have more fans reading about them and wanting to attend games. Same goes for all five newspapers.
The newspapers, the television media create the buzz which gets folks talking which gets people to want to watch and see what happens. We all know Msg will never give the Isles appropriate television coverage because they pay to control and limit their competition.
The Islanders used to get the backpage for regular season games in the city papers against any team on a given night. That was a long time ago but critical in bringing fans to the games along with road games on free television. For the old time fans home games on television were virtually unheard of before cable television, finals games were on radio when the Islanders won some of those championships.
Still, every seat for a decade was sold out.
The media sold the product with coverage, today that's gone. The Islanders spend the money for advertising space as we have seen the ads in Newsday, a year ago the Post had backpage Islander ads for ticket and never replaced the full-time beatwriter for the money the team spent.
Today the sports editor gives hockey token coverage so unless you own a computer you lose touch with the club and do not attend games or follow the players and some papers barely give the team any coverage and no blogs.
As for Mr Dey's plan no matter what he is fighting an uphill battle before the words are out of his mouth between skeptical media influences skeptical fans. Many feel it's the same old thing after the writer makes his point and do not even take the time to read further before they tune it out.
I may not agree with everything the Islanders have done but they are going above and beyond for the public and that's what counts and a message worth your time to listen to and give a fair chance.
It should be noted Greg Logan edited his article with Mr Dey on the attendance increase which went from an exact number to something that now reads as a little more than a thousand fans per game so I'm not sure what else Newsday re-edited from the original article here.
What I can tell you is reading the interview with Mr Dey he concentrates on the business side of things and keeps things general about the hockey side unless it's to tell us Kyle Okposo will be involved with helping market. Only Mr Logan tells us the club will keep the kids and try and add a free agent, not Mr Dey.
In the end I like what Mr Dey said the Islanders are trying to do on the business front. The hockey decisions will come down to the hockey people.
Either way I like the plan and want to hear more, a lot more. I hope the fans will give them a chance.