Editor's note: The above video is from Oct. 2020.
The Dallas Stars reached the Stanley Cup Finals last year for the first time in two decades. The deep postseason run — the Stars ultimately lost in the Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning — represents every sports executive's dream.
However, North Texans were unable to attend home games during the playoffs because of COVID-19. Like the NBA, the NHL playoffs were held in a bubble to limit travel and therefore decrease the risk of players and staff contracting the coronavirus.
The unprecedented scenario forced the Stars front office to adapt and adapt quickly.
"Once we understood that we were going to play in the bubble in Edmonton, we really started to get back to the business of promoting the team in a very unusual way, and one that we had never planned for or even dreamt of — the team playing in front of no fans in a foreign country while we were in the playoffs," said Brad Alberts, president and CEO of the Dallas Stars.
WATCH: In an exclusive interview, Alberts talks COVID, sponsorships and the lost the chance to capitalize on lucrative home playoff games during its deep run.
Alberts became president in 2018 and added the CEO title in 2020. He's charged with growing the business side of the Stars, which have grown in popularity since moving to North Texas nearly 30 years ago.
In the 2019-20 season, before COVID-19 brought a premature end to the season, the Stars were averaging over 20,300 fans per home game at American Airlines Center, according to ESPN, good for No. 3 in the league behind only Chicago and Montreal, two of the most storied hockey markets on the continent. That meant the Stars averaged 113 percent capacity for home games during the season — No. 1 in the league.
"The hockey world is now paying attention to Dallas, Texas as a home of the sport," Alberts said.
To read more about how the Stars’ organization dealt with COVID, click here.