Stars On Ice Ticket Sales Increase

New tour is off to a strong start, thanks in part to digital advertising strategy

  • by Lisa White
  • Published: April 11, 2018

Stars on Ice on a previous trip to Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., where it will return in May. (Courtesy Honda Center)

With a notable lineup of medalists and skating personalities following the 2018 Winter Olympics as well as a preview of the show scheduled for broadcast Saturday on NBC Sports Network, the 2018 Stars on Ice tour is off to a stronger start than the last comparable tour.

“We spent a lot more time and effort advertising digitally, and that has paid off,” said Byron Allen, producer with New York City-based IMG, who produces the event. “We’re running about 20 percent ahead in ticket sales compared to the last post-Olympics Stars on Ice tour.”

Because competing athletes are prohibited from promoting brands during the Olympic games, there is typically an advertising blackout for Stars on Ice. However, with digital advertising, the 2014 Olympic skaters who are a part of this year’s tour were able to be involved in campaigns before the 2018 tour.

“We could continue digital promotions, rather than going dark, which was new this year,” said Allen. “Previously we were just selling television ads.”

This year's tour, which is traveling to 22 cities, began April 6 at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla., and is scheduled to wind up May 20 at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

New to this year’s show are Olympic bronze medalists in ice dancing Maia and Alex Shibutani; bronze medal team member and two-time national champion Nathan Chen; 2018 U.S. women's champion Bradie Tennell; national champion Mirai Nagasu, who made history as the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics; and Adam Rippon, a media star on this year’s team. Also featured on this year’s tour are three other members of the 2018 U.S. team: 2017 women's champion Karen Chen and 2018 national ice dance champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

The tour also will feature ice dance gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, three-time national champion and 2016 world silver medalist Ashley Wagner and national champion Jason Brown.

Among the arenas on the tour this year is Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. “Orange County has always been a good market for Stars on Ice, and Honda Center is thrilled to be hosting our friends again for the 24th time this May,” said Tim Ryan, president and CEO of the arena. “Ticket sales have been extremely swift this year, even compared to past Olympic years, and our lower bowl has been sold out for some time."

Ryan noted a shift to demographics for the show, with twice the percentage of ticket buyers belonging to the 18-34 demographic compared to a year ago. 

This year’s show has been updated with contemporary music and a greater emphasis on video and audience interaction and participation.

“We’ve incorporated more video as part of the promotion leading up to the show and during the show itself,” Allen said. “We have a Go Pro cam that’s part of the show on a couple of occasions, and both recorded and live video elements. We’ve always had a video component, but stepped up the quality and time and effort we put into it this year.”

Founded in 1986 by decorated skater Scott Hamilton, the Stars on Ice tour has performed more than 1,500 shows over the last three decades. The tour has won three Emmy Awards and an ACE Cable Award.

“I can tell you I’ve experienced a lot of shows and almost as many casts," Hamilton said. "This year’s tour is truly special ... and incredible." He credited the 2018 cast with having "not only a mountain of talent, but also a ton of chemistry."

“In the Olympic season, we’re reaching more people, and this is one of the only sports strong enough to tour every year,” Allen said. “We felt like this was a year to refresh, renew and take a leap by incorporating new elements into the show. We viewed it as an investment, so we did not raise ticket prices significantly.” Tickets for the tour start at $25.

 

  • by Lisa White
  • Published: April 11, 2018