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FlamesNation 2023 off-season fan survey results – big picture edition

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Photo credit:Saltwire.com
Robert Munnich
8 months ago
First off, I just want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my latest survey looking at some big picture topics of the Calgary Flames.
We had 545 total responses and hundreds of written answers for each question.
There was a lot of interesting feedback that the Flames and their fans will find interesting. With that being said, let’s dive into the results!

Question 1: Is it fun being a Flames fan?

Yikes. Not a great result if you’re Calgary Sports and Entertainment. Only 51% of respondents said it is fun to be a Flames fan.
Can you really blame the fans for feeling this way? The Flames have been wildly inconsistent since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. Calgary has made the playoffs nine times and missed the playoffs nine times in their last 18 seasons.
They’ve only made it past the first round of the playoffs twice; 2015 and 2022.
And quite honestly, the team has not played the most entertaining brand of hockey over the years. The 2014-15, 2018-19, and 2021-22 in particular were very exciting. Outside of those seasons, the Flames have not been a flashy team.
The Flames need to do a better job building a team that provides an entertaining style of play and is also a serious competitor in the playoffs. How they go about doing that is up for interpretation.

Question 2: If you answered yes, why is it fun?

Here are some of the best answers:
“The other fans, the excitement and hope from the players, the hitting, the fights when things need shaken up. The skill from the really good players. The enthusiasm from the new, young players.”
“I enjoy following the Flames. I realize that it is just a game but the distraction from the everyday grind is nice and lets me bond with people that I don’t necessarily have alot else in common with.”
“I enjoy watching hockey, I enjoy having a home team to cheer on. I try not to take it too seriously – it is a game, after all! :-)”
“There’s so much potential! A younger, fresher mindset and excited to see a bunch of rookies push for a spot.”
“Every year is a new challenge and a new (or newish) team to watch. I love seeing how the team, players and sport changes.”

Question 3: If you answered no, what can the team do to make it more fun to be a Flames fan?

“Tear it down and build a proper team based on speed, skill & youth”
“Make it accessible to people who can’t afford to play or watch live. Also find a way to make it so it doesn’t hurt to think about how much the team lost in two summers. Also have the organization want to be apart of the city, not just the cities business community.”
“More consistency from season to season. More of a long term plan for the team, not season-to-season plan. Simple goal of just making playoffs not a plan.”
“Have a clear vision for the future and how to build a contending team”
“The Flames are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get.”
“It’s frustrating at times because of how inconsistent this team is. One year they will be good while others will be bad but not bad enough to pick a franchise altering talent. Another frustrating aspect is the lack of long-term direction and planning from ownership its as if they only look one season at a time.”
“Quit making same mistakes. Get guys to sign / extend well in advance or trade them. Bring back in person signing events, more fan ticket experiences. New arena, change the tnt song, get rid of Edwards somewhere holds the whole franchise back”
We received over 400 written responses for this question. A lot of people talked about how they are tired of the Flames being mediocre. There was also a lot of fans clamouring for a rebuild.

Question 4: Do the Flames do a good job communicating with the fan base?

Two thirds of the fans are happy with the amount of communication between the team and themselves which is good news for the Flames. But there is still room for improvement based off the answers to the next question.
If you answered no, explain what you would like to see the Flames do a better job of from a communications standpoint.
“Would love to hear more about the long-term approach/plan of the team.”
“Clear articulation of overall direction and long-term plan from ownership.”
“It is hard to say yes or no. We hear from the GM, we hear from coaches, but after seasons like the one we had, I want to hear from the owners. I want them to tell us they are as frustrated as we are and want a cup contender.”
“Fans are hungry for more stories about the players and also the direction of the team. When Conroy came out and said we want to give the young talent that was exciting. We need to hear more from them otherwise a vacuum exists, and it gets filled with fluff.”
“Make the Team more Media Friendly. Let fans learn more about the Team, History and the Players Past and Present.”
“Better quality videos on their YouTube channel which give us a behind the scenes look at various aspects like the locker room, draft and free agency (see what Chicago and Pittsburgh do)”
“We need to hear from ownership and the leadership team as CSEC. I’ve been a Flames fan my whole life and I don’t think I’ve ever heard from Murray Edwards. It’s time for him to step up and start taking some accountability or this organization and also give the fans more of an insight into the long-term vision and goals of this team.”
A common theme in the written response of this question was fans wanting to hear from Murray Edwards and they want to know what the long-term vision for the franchise is. The Flames and Murray Edwards should absolutely be doing those kinds of things. We’ll see if that ever changes.

Question 5: Would you like to see more behind the scenes access to the players and the day to day operations of the team? 

One thing the Flames could work on is giving the fans more behind the scenes footage. A lot of NHL teams have their own documentary series that take fans behind the scenes footage during the games, on road trips and in the boardroom. The Flames do a little bit of this type of content, but they could do more to help keep their fans happy and engaged.

Question 6: Do you want the Flames to keep the “Forever a Flame” program? 

The Forever a Flame program is a contentious topic. There are a lot of fans who want to see the program abolished. And there are a lot of fans who want to keep it. I think there is a happy medium here. Keep the program but start to take it more seriously and give it legitimacy by inducting more members and having lots of content on the website and social media to give it that prestige that it originally had when the program was announced.

Question 7: Do you want to hear from Flames majority owner Murray Edwards about his thoughts on the organization and the direction he is guiding it? 

One thing has become clear from the results of this survey. The fans want to hear from Murray Edwards. It’s time for Edwards to step to the microphone and address the fan base at least once a year to discuss his direction for the franchise. The team has been too mediocre for too long. It’s time for the majority owner to take some responsibility and speak to the fan base.

Question 8: Are you happy with the direction of the Flames? That being the simple goal of make the playoffs every year.

The Flames need to articulate a plan to the fan base on how they are going to build a Stanley Cup winning team. Craig Conroy touched on some aspects of his team building philosophy during his introductory press conference. But I think the fans deserve to have more of an explanation for the direction of the team and how they plan on executing their strategy.

Question 9: Some people think Flames fans won’t support a rebuild. Would you be willing to buy tickets, merchandise, food/drink and support the Flames during a rebuild?

It looks like the fan base would be willing to support the Flames through a rebuild if the team decided to go in that direction. Flames fans are smart and would understand why the Flames would go through that process. The key would be communication from the team. As long as they let the fans know why they are rebuilding, people will accept it and embrace it as it will lead to future success down the road.

Question 10: What is the best part about being a Flames fan?

“The connections I have made with other flames fans, something to love and care about and look forward to during the winter.”
“Feeling connected to a community and a shared dream.”
“The fans. When everybody has their red jerseys on, and it’s a total sea of red, with fans chanting for certain players, or even booing former players. It’s a great atmosphere.”
“I just love the team and the city going to games is great and obviously even better when that goal horn goes off and when we win.”
“The dome beers.”
“Listening to Boomer, Rhett & Pinder”
There were a lot of positive answers which was great to see. A lot of people talked about the community aspect of being a Flames fan which is really cool. That is what sports is all about. Bringing people together and having fun!

Question 11: What is the worst part about being a Flames fan?

“Culture of mediocrity.”
“Perpetual mediocrity.”
“Unwavering commitment to perpetual mediocrity; short-sightedness and not having any clear plan more than one season at a time.”
“The decades of mediocrity combined with no desire from ownership to build a team that can compete for a cup every year.”
“What is going on right now. No direction, no idea. The only thing Flames Organization is interested in is how to get more money out of the fans and the taxpayer to support and justify the absolute mess this organization has needlessly created for itself.”
“Lack of playoff success.”
We had 429 written responses to this question and over 70% of them were about the Flames being in a constant state of mediocrity. You can tell fans are starting to get fed up with the team not having a true direction and plan to build a Stanley Cup winner. They’re too bad to get good draft picks, and they aren’t good enough to win a Stanley Cup.
This was an interesting process to go through. There was a lot of positive feedback for the team. But there was a lot of feedback that would suggest that the majority of fan base is not happy with the direction of the organization.
The Flames have to be cognizant of this. Their fan base is starting to lose patience with this team because of their inconsistent nature and their inability to get out of this state of perpetual mediocrity.
Thanks again to everyone who participated. Let us know in the comments section if you enjoyed this content and if you want to see more of it in the future!

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