Halifax Rainmen hoping free-ticket offer can bolster future attendance

Andre Levingston can see the day when fans arrive at the Metro Centre in droves to watch the Halifax Rainmen.

It probably won’t happen this season but as team owner he believes it’s not that far away. Averaging slightly north of 2,500 for home contests, the Rainmen lead the National Basketball League of Canada in attendance. Levingston’s aware of the building’s seating capacity of 11,000. But he has a plan.

“It’s about getting people out to see a quality product and after that things take care of themselves,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone has ever left the Metro Centre and said, ‘You know what, I didn’t enjoy that.’ It’s about getting more people seeing the product, realizing this is their organization. I own it, but it’s theirs. We want it to be around when I’m not around anymore.”

As a means to that end, the Rainmen’s major sponsor Eastlink is offering free tickets to Halifax’s Dec. 30 home matchup against the Montreal Jazz at 2 p.m. A voucher for four tickets is available through Eastlink and can be used through any Ticket Atlantic location for free seats to the game.

Just last week the team announced a new 13-member corporate advisory board focused specifically on bolstering attendance. The group includes Eastlink CEO Lee Bragg and Don Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates.

“They give us new tentacles into the business community,” said Levingston. “We’re going to be doing some unique things. We will start to see a difference in attendance at that arena.”

Levingston, who’d like to see average attendance at about 5,000, says he’s nowhere near panic mode.

“It takes time to build a business. This is definitely not a sprint. We’re trying to build this the right way," he said. “I’m sure people understand my commitment lies in excellence.”

The Rainmen are back at the Metro Centre Friday when they host the Summerside Storm at 7 p.m.

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