Sundogs take ticket promotion to new heights

Sundogs take ticket promotion to new heights

Published Apr. 25, 2013 3:01 p.m. ET

When Arizona Sundogs general manager Chris Presson proposed a promotion in which he and a few others would remain atop a 33-foot scissor lift until 300 season tickets were sold, he figured the venture would take two or three days. They've now entered Day 5.

Roughly 98 hours into the "Whatever it Takes" promotion, Presson remains atop the lift on the corner of Highway 69 and Glassford Hill Road in Prescott Valley, along with Sundogs co-owner Brad Fain, team captain Jason Morgan and public relations director Lew Rees.
That's right -- four men sharing about 40 square feet for four straight days, trying to stay cool when daytime temperatures near 80 and keep warm at night, when temperatures are still dipping into the 30s. They eat up there, they sleep up there, and they only come down to use the bathroom once every four to six hours or so.

About 20 season tickets separate them from freedom.

"They're definitely getting tired, you can tell," Sundogs director of communications Ashley Stovall said. "They’re real worn down. They haven't showered or shaved recently, but they're happy and they're having a great time."

Sounds a little grim up there, but we'll take their word for it.

Actually, we can do more than that, thanks to a sequence of revealing, sometimes humorous, sometimes forlorn Twitter posts by Satish "Catfish" Athelli, the team's merchandise operations manager.

The Sundogs are a Phoenix Coyotes affiliate in the Central Hockey League and play about an hour and a half from Phoenix. The team had around 600 season ticket holders last year. Stovall said Presson hatched the idea about a week before the men climbed into the lift hoping to kick-start their efforts to reach 1,000 season-ticket holders this offseason. He had to convince the rest of the management team.

The kicker? Presson is afraid of heights.

"They wanted to show our community and our fans here that they're dedicated to this team and the success of the team to fill the building next season," Stovall said. "They're sacrificing comfort for sure."

The men have an umbrella to shade them from the sun, but that can't shield them from strong winds that are a constant at this time of year and damaged the promotional banner hanging from the lift. Many local restaurants have donated meals, which are sent up via a pulley system.

The first day on the lift saw 86 season tickets sold. The next day brought just 17. Things picked up with 76 tickets but dipped down to 22 tickets on Day 4.

You might be asking by now 'Was this really worth it?' (the men in the lift might have wondered themselves once or twice). Well, it looks like the team will reach its goal, even if it takes another day or two. And the stunt has given the team some invaluable exposure, so the ordeal could soon be over.

"We've had a handful of people that have never been to a game purchase season tickets," Stovall said. "It's amazing the support we're getting."

Numerous news outlets across the country and world picked up the story Thursday. As word spread, the team tweeted that someone from Toronto bought season tickets and donated them to the local VA hospital.
If this is what the Sundogs come up with to sell 300 season tickets, we can't wait to see what else they'll do to reach 1,000.