NHL Seattle has postponed the release of season-ticket prices and its seat selection process for this week and possibly next week, saying it’s out of respect for concerns the teams fans may have over COVID-19, the illness caused by a new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.
The team had planned to release the prices this week and begin setting appointments for thousands of fans on a ticket priority list to come tour its preview center ahead of purchasing tickets for the team, which will begin NHL play in the 2021-22 season. But amid recent local deaths from COVID-19 and area companies telling employees to work remotely, the team has decided for now to see how the short-term situation evolves before moving ahead.
“We’re watching how the situation develops before we start the general seat selection process,” NHL Seattle vice-president Katie Townsend said Thursday. “We want this to be the best possible experience for our fans where they have the chance to come to our Preview Center and select their seats in person. We view this as a milestone moment for the organization and we’re appreciative of our fans’ patience.”
NHL Seattle has a quarterly board meeting of team owners scheduled for Tuesday at its Queen Anne headquarters and could hold off through that period in order to consult further with them on how to proceed. The team has closely monitored what’s gone on with the Sounders and their weighing of whether to play Saturday’s match against Columbus at CenturyLink Field as planned.
Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer is also a key minority partner with NHL Seattle and a close friend of the hockey team’s CEO, Tod Leiweke.
NHL Seattle had been eager to release the ticket information this month ahead of the expected April naming of the team. That ticket process will still likely begin this month, with the team keeping the option open of handling most of the selection online rather than the more individualized preview center tours.
Among the concerns the team has is that fans might feel forced to visit the preview center – out of fear they’d lose their ticket priority if they postpone their appointments – and that’s not something they want people worried about.
NHL Seattle first collected deposits of $500 and $1,000 for season tickets two years ago this week. More than 32,000 deposits were made in 31 hours before the process was closed and spillover fans put on a waiting list.
As of Thursday, the team said the waiting list alone had grown to 37,000.
NHL Seattle rolled out the initial phase of seat selection last October for about 2,000 of its most expensive club level seats. Those sold out within a few months and the team hopes to move the remainder of its season ticket inventory by this summer.