Florida Panthers see a new growth area for ticket sales: Finland

Florida Panthers see a new growth area for ticket sales: Finland

By Ian Thomas, Staff Writer


First Florida, now Finland.

The Florida Panthers are working with Miami-based internet marketing agency Corey Consulting on a new ticketing campaign that aims to capitalize on the team’s popularity in that country, in part because of the success of Finnish-born players on the team.

“Anecdotally, we’ve always noticed Finnish groups showing up in the arena, or Finnish fans talking about the team on social media,” said Sean McCaffrey, Panthers chief of staff. He cited Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, the second overall pick in the 2013 draft, as a reason.

“With a number of fairly cheap and reliable flights from Finland into Fort Lauderdale also popping up, we wanted to see if we could help grow that fan base in Finland, as well as encourage them to travel here.”

Christopher Corey, co-founder of Corey Consulting, said through analyzing search engine trends among Finland’s 5.5 million residents, he found that the volume of searches for information about Barkov was roughly the same as for the 320 million people in the U.S.

Finns like Aleksander Barkov are drawing fan interest from home.
That led to the team and Corey Consulting buying digital advertising in Finland that put an ad promoting Panthers tickets in front of anyone looking at information about Barkov or hockey online. While campaign costs were not disclosed, Corey said that it cost much less than other forms of advertising and that its conversion rates are well above initial expectations.

McCaffrey said the team’s website has seen a steady increase in the amount of Finnish web traffic, and has had more than 200 inbound leads from Finnish-based ticket buyers, leading to 50 sales averaging about three to four tickets per purchase. McCaffrey said no one on the Panthers sales team speaks Finnish, so the group has been leaning on Google Translate to help bridge any language barrier.

The NHL has a Finnish-language website and has played games in the country as recently as 2011.

Susan Cohig, NHL senior vice president of business affairs and integrated marketing, said that while the league does not restrict teams from marketing tickets outside of their immediate territories, she did not recall any team actively marketing its tickets outside of North America.

“It’s a little bit off the wall,” Corey said, “marketing to people 5,000 miles away across an ocean to come to a hockey game in Sunrise.”

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