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Tampa Bay Offers Free Tickets

February 10, 2000

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The Tampa Bay Lightning has dispensed thousands of free game tickets to boost fan interest in the hockey team.

In the first three months of the season, team officials gave away 103,834 complimentary tickets. During the same period, only 210,594 fans went through the turnstiles as the Ice Palace.

``Our plan is to try to expose as many people as we can to hockey,″ Lightning President Ronald J. Campbell said. ``If you get exposed to it, you’re going to get hooked on it.″

There have been nights when the number of free tickets given out practically equaled total attendance.

The club handed out 13,828 tickets for an Oct. 19 game against the Vancouver Canucks. Altogether, 19,840 tickets _ free and paid _ were distributed, but only 14,159 people went to the game.

Campbell thinks most of the no-shows are complimentary ticket holders and that the majority of those in attendance at most games are paying customers.

Lightning attendance remains near the bottom of the league with a 13,634 per-game average.

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