Tag: Ticket Sales

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

A brief note on the Ottawa Senators and ticket hoarding practices…

Toronto, ON Since outrage over ridiculous sales practices around the NHL is pretty much my thing this season, I now turn my attention away from the Winnipeg Jets and toward the Ottawa Senators. Recently, the Sens notified the fans in their email database that they were making changes to their ticket sales practices. Evidently, the Senators organization is upset that there is a visibly large presence of “visiting” fans in attendance at their games, and it appears as though they believe that unfairly puts their team at a disadvantage. Good thing NHL players aren’t being paid big bucks to perform well under adversity, eh? Oh wait…

It has been a few seasons since I have been to Scotiabank Place, but the last time I was at a Sens home game, the organization already had a graduated pricing system (as many teams do) that would see fans being charged higher prices for games versus major rivals. That would be the appropriate way to keep visiting fans “out,” as they would really need to put down the cash in order to come all the way to town to support their team – supply and demand, and all that.  The higher ticket prices significantly raises the costs of the trip since REAL visiting fans are also paying big money for hotels, gas/flights, and food. Unfortunately, the Sens believe that higher prices for rival games is not enough, and are now withholding tickets from the public by implementing a “restricted” pre-sale system. The email reads, “The only restriction with this offer is that we are asking you to ensure that the tickets are being used by Senators fans and not re-sold to the general public. Any seats being re-sold will be subject to cancellation and loss of privileges with respect to future pre-sales.”

Maybe this just irritates me as a traveling fan, who is often not making appearances at NHL arenas with the intention of actually supporting EITHER team. My life would definitely be a lot harder if all 30 NHL teams were preventing out-of-towners from taking in a game. However, is it really the traveling fans that are suffering from this kind of ticket hoarding practice, or is it the fine citizens of our Nation’s capital that are going to feel the most uneasy about these changes?

Let’s be realistic for a minute. In their current embodiment, the Ottawa Senators have been active in the NHL since 1992. Therefore, true “lifelong” Sens fans are currently in their late teens and early 20’s (at the oldest). Does that mean that hockey fans didn’t exist in Ottawa prior to 1992? Obviously not. What this does suggest, however, is that there are probably a lot of locals who are actually lifelong Leafs, Habs, Bruins, or etc fans, who support the Sens 38 games of the season, but can’t wait for the chance to switch their jersey 3 times a year.   Although, I’m sure not much will change for these people, but I for one would feel a lot less comfortable wearing an opposing jersey or bringing a friend, who is a fan of the visiting team, to a game with this new system. On the other hand, I can totally see shit disturbers being even more motivated to show up as the ultimate fan of the OTHER team. Anyway, the main question here is, are the fans they are attempting to keep away actually from out of town, or are they simply locals whose only sin is supporting the NHL in a non-Sens capacity prior to 1992 (or for whatever reason)? Team allegiances die hard, after all.

Of course, this new system is flawed. Most people are in the Sens database if they have ever bought a ticket to a Sens game, and if it is true that those people are “visiting” fans, then they are not at any less of a disadvantage than they were before. Now, if the Sens decide to systematically remove people not in that 613 area code from their database, then they will be entering a whole new level of crazy and douche baggery. At the end of the day, all NHL teams should be thankful that ANY fans fill their building night in and night out, and not be in the habit of discriminating against paying customers based on where they are from or what colour their sweater is. I know Sens season ticket holders who are located in Toronto. Do you think the Leafs are barring the gates when they try to see their favourite team take to the ice at the ACC? No. Maybe the Sens should show the same courtesy. And to think I was actually rooting for the Sens to do well this season, but I suppose my 416 ass won’t be scoring any playoff tickets if they did make the postseason anyway. Oh well…

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