After the Tampa Bay Lightning made the Stanley Cup finals last year, ticket sales for this season surged.
But the team has continued its popular “student rush” program, which means financially challenged student can still get tickets starting at $20.
“After the long playoff run (last season), we sold nearly 4,000 new season tickets,” said Eric Blankenship, the Lightning’s vice president of marketing. “That combined with overall single game and group demand for tickets led to significantly less inventory per game.”
This left two options, he said. Eliminate student rush or make changes.
“We have made a commitment to this program for a variety of reasons and thus decided to keep it,” Blankenship said.
As before, student rush is offered to high school and college students who come to Amalie Arena on game day with a valid student ID and Lightning attire.
But this season student fans also must be signed up to receive text messages from the team with the code word of the day. These code words, which have ranged from “BIGBEN” to “CHARGE,” are required to get a ticket.
A half hour before game time, eligible students in Lightning gear can buy a best available seat or standing room only ticket, according to the team’s website. Fifteen minutes before game time, eligible students not in Lightning gear can get the best available seats (upper or lower level) starting at $20 per ticket.
And on days when there is a sell-out, the student rush tickets may be standing room only, according to the website.
“The text program was implemented for two primary reasons,” Blankenship said. “It allowed a very simple, user friendly way to communicate with our student rush users. It puts checks and balances into place because we had people using the program who weren’t students.”
Another student benefit was the $50 tickets the organization offered during the Lightning’s series against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals last season. Those tickets were limited, but the team could give something back to its loyal student fans, said Blankenship.
“I like it (student rush) and hope it continues to benefit local students,” said USFSP student Jordan Reyes. “Hopefully the Lightning have another playoff streak.”
Regular ticket pricing for most Lightning home games ranges from $32 to $56 for 3rd level seating, while 2nd, 1st and club level seating starts around $121.
Parking at Amalie Arena is typically $6 to $9, but depends on the day and lot.
For more information on the student rush program visit http://lightning.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=108934