As we near a new season of Carolina Hurricanes hockey, the Caniacs are ready for one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, the Caniac Carnival.
Coming off their first trip to the playoffs in 10 years and an eventful offseason of trades, drafts, and free agents acquisitions, the Caniacs are ready to start the 2019-2020 season.
However before we get to the regular season, the Carolina hurricanes have one more big event before the start of the regular season.
The Caniac Carnival has been an annual event held for the Hurricanes fan base for the past 20 years. This event, usually held sometime during the preseason, gives fans a fun and friendly environment for some family fun, similar to the state fair but on a far smaller scale, before the walk inside the gates of PNC Arena to watch some preseason hockey.
The Caniac Carnival was this way for years. A nice, simple, small celebration and fans turned out for it. But one change turned this small event into one of the biggest must do yearly events for every Hurricanes fan far and wide.
During his first summer and preseason as the new owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tom Dundon decided to make admission the preseason game attached to the 2018 Caniac Carnival FREE.
That’s right, Free!
This one change immediately changed the game not only for the Caniac Carnival, but also for the front office for the Carolina Hurricanes as the Carnival almost overnight became one of the most important days of the year for tickets sales.
Now that may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, a free game that makes money on ticket sales, but it actually is a bit of marketing genius.
Dundon realized that the way to make new fans and new season ticket members was to allow fans who don’t usually have the opportunity to come to a game or are on the fence on buying season tickets a chance to see the Carolina Hurricanes play, experience the in-arena environment, and even have a family friendly event outside to create an all day event.
Last year in 2018 was the first year where the Caniac Carnival game had free admission. The tickets sold out online in minutes, 18,000+ came to PNC arena for the Caniac Carnival game, which is a massive step up from a regular preseason game attendance wise, and created arguably one of the greatest preseason game environments in not only Carolina Hurricanes history but also possibly the entire NHL.
This one preseason game possibly earned the Carolina Hurricanes thousands of dollars in tickets throughout all of last season just from having a few new fans buying tickets to one or two games let alone all the new season tickets members that it drew in.
The free game idea also revitalized the Caniac Carnival from being a forgettable preseason event into a must attend extravaganza. Tickets for the 2019 Caniac Carnival were a hot buy for May Hurricanes fans, including myself, and I look forward to attending this new Caniac Carnival for a long time.
Question for the CC readers: Are you attending the Caniac Carnival this year?