Minor-league hockey promotion fails

BY Sam Gardner • April 25, 2013

In keeping with the team’s official slogan, the Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League vowed to do “whatever it takes” to sell 300 season tickets for the upcoming season.

But when the Phoenix Coyotes affiliate, located in Prescott Valley, decided to hoist its team captain and three members of the front office staff into the air on a scissor lift on Sunday as part of the latest idiosyncratic minor league promotion to hopefully go viral, it’s unlikely anyone suspected that they’d still be up there — four days later.

That’s exactly what happened, however, and now Sundogs co-owner Brad Fain, GM Chris Presson, captain Jason Morgan and PR director Lew Rees are wondering when, exactly, they’ll be getting down.

The gimmick kicked off on Sunday at noon, when Fain, Presson, Morgan and Rees were lifted into the sky after agreeing to camp out near the intersection of Glassford Hill Road and Highway 69 and not come down until the team had reached its goal of selling 300 season tickets. A press release on the team's website described the foursome’s commitment as “demonstrating their dedication to this campaign by eating, sleeping and working from the lift, while withstanding whatever mother nature throws at them, in an effort to gain the commitment of the town."

But the sales were slow-going at first, and by sunset Sunday, the team had only sold 17 tickets, according to Sundogs merchandise operations manager Satish Athelli, who has documented the process on his Twitter account.

By Monday night, as word of the promotion began to spread, the team had reached 100 season tickets sold, and when the sun set on Tuesday, the total number of ticket commitments had grown to more than 200. On Thursday morning, the Sundogs had inched within 44 sales of their 300-ticket goal — but the fellas on the lift have been airborne for more than three days by that point, and the cool Arizona nights (the low in Prescott Valley was 36 Wednesday) were starting to take their toll.

As of 3 p.m. ET Thursday, the team had sold 269 season tickets. So they’re getting there. And hopefully they reach their goal and get down soon. In the meantime, however, the four dedicated employees will continue to brave the elements, dream of a shower and maybe consider coming up with a new team slogan. We’ll keep you updated on their status.

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