While I was reporting my recent feature on the Caps’ booming popularity in Baltimore, I had a brief conversation with Joe Dupriest, the team’s vice president and chief marketing officer. Dupriest confirmed that he had targeted the Baltimore area as a potential growth market for the franchise.
“It’s a great hockey market; it’s one that we want to claim as much as we can,” he told me. “I got here in ‘07, and that was one of the first things we started talking about once the team started getting good and selling out games. It was like, which fans haven’t we reached as well as we could have over the last five or 10 years, and that was one [market] that really stood out. I think they’re hungry for the Caps up there.”
How do you reach that market? The team has held youth clinics and player appearances in Baltimore, and estimates that around 10 percent of its full-plan season-ticket holders hail from the Baltimore market, but there’s nothing like a real game in the actual city. And so next week, the Caps are expected to announce a preseason game at 1st Mariner Arena, where Baltimore’s minor-league Skipjacks and Bandits used to play. I’m hearing that the game will be against the Nashville Predators on Sept. 20, and it will be branded the Baltimore Hockey Classic.
The team has announced a Monday press conference at 1st Mariner Arena that will feature, among others, Baltimore City Council President Jack Young and Caps GM George McPhee.
Credit to the Baltimore Sun for speculating about this possibility first.