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Blog Entry

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 3:21 pm
 
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By: Adam Gretz

It appears as if getting tickets to the Jan. 2 Winter Classic is going to be a problem if you're not a Philadelphia Flyers or New York Rangers season ticket holder, or if you don't have a bank vault full of disposable income stashed away somewhere. And that shouldn't be a surprise. It also shouldn't be a surprise that casual fans are the ones that are likely to be left on the outside looking in for one of the biggest events of the season, seeing as how that's pretty much always the case when you're talking about one of the biggest games on the sports calendar.

Since its debut on New Years Day, 2008, the Winter Classic has become the signature event of the NHL season. When it first started with a game in Buffalo, nobody was quite sure what to expect for that game or future games, and the ticket demand, while large, wasn't anywhere near the monster it has become today. It's the one regular season game most fans want to watch and see in person, whether or not their favorite team is actually playing. Getting a ticket is darn near impossible, and gets harder every season.

This year's game, which will take place in Philadelphia and feature the Flyers hosting the Rangers at Citizens Bank Park, normally the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is no exception.

Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer has an article on Monday talking about the problems fans-- particularly those of the hometown Flyers -- are facing when it comes to trying to score tickets to an event that has a limited supply and an overwhelming demand. According to Carchidi, the NHL gave the Flyers an allotment of 19,000 tickets, which should be just enough to cover their season ticket base as well as some partial season ticket holders.

One of the gripes Flyers fans seem to have at this point, and it is a legitimate gripe, is that along with the tickets to the Jan. 2 game, which cost anywhere between $79 and $349, they also have to purchase tickets to an alumni game, as well as a minor league game involving the Flyers' AHL team, the Adirondack Phantoms. He spoke to one season ticket holder that spent over $500 on tickets -- including service fees -- for a pair of tickets to each of three games ... two of which he didn't even want to attend (the alumni game and the minor league game). Why is the NHL doing this? Because it can. Because there is enough demand, and enough people willing to buy tickets to two games they don't want to see.
More Winter Classic News
As a result of the incredible demand for seats and the limited supply at their disposal, the Flyers aren't expected to hold a public sale for tickets. That means the 45,000 seats will be mostly filled by Flyers season ticket holders, whatever allotment of seats the Rangers get, and a third group that consists of people that paid what will surely be absurd prices on the second-hand market.

Pleasing everybody for a game like this is impossible, and there's always going to be somebody that's left fuming because the process was unfair, which it no doubt is. And as is the case with any marquee event in sports, the casual fan, the one with the family of four that just wants to take the kids to an outdoor hockey game, or the die-hard that sits in the nosebleeds for regular games and knows the name and number of every player that's dressed for the team over the past two decades, is going to be the one that gets left out. And if you're surprised by that you must be new to sports. It's not fair and it's not right, but that's not how it works for these types of games.

The NHL -- or any league -- isn't in the business of making sure the right fans get tickets to the right games. It's in the business of making money, and the Winter Classic is the biggest money-maker it has during the regular season.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Dec 4, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 1:10 am
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

I believe that the reason they didn't sell the tickets separately was because they know that they would not be able to generate the interest (and subsequently) the ticket sales to the other two games. We can only assume that the Flyers organization figured that if the demand was not there, they would at least have the 17,000 sold to season ticket holders, whether they showed up or not. Within 24 hours of season ticket holders buying their "package", there were about 2000 tickets for the Alumni Game listed on the secondary market and it has stayed at that number since then.

It has been quite an adventure just listening to the spin that the Flyers organization has put their decision to make it a total experience. First, there was that "there's a great demand for these tickets and there should be no problem selling them on the secondary market".  The demand didn't materialize. Then there is the "great demand because of the alumni that have agreed to play".  Then there was the "great demand by people that want the experience" but can't get tickets to the classic itself. None of this enthusiasm has created a demand for the 2000 tickets that are languishing on the secondary market at or close to face value.

I may be mistaken, but I am pretty sure that NY Rangers fans did not have to purchase the "package", nor did the hockey VIP's, or the others who are able to get a ticket to the Classic. Only the Flyers season ticket holders had this foisted on them.

Yes, they could have declined the offer and just not gone. That would have been my preference. As long as there are those willing to drop a grand on an "experience", this type of price gouging will continue. Fans have no one to blame but themselves.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:58 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

Boston also has five sports teams to Buffalo's two. And yes, there is a reason that the First Niagara Center holds more fans than TD Garden: Buffalo doesn't have an NBA team to share the building with. I'm sure the Celtics had a good amount of say in how the Garden was designed. That wasn't an issue for the Sabres.



Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:12 am
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

It's the one regular season game most fans want to watch and see in person, whether or not their favorite team is actually playing.

I disagree with this statement. My interest in this game wanes every year. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have each been selected twice to play in the first five years. I wish the NHL would give us some other teams. I'm not suggesting Tampa at Florida on South Beach, but mix it up a little better.

My guess is next year we'll see Pittsburgh and Vancouver. And I won't watch.



Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: October 24, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

How about the fact that the Boston-metro area has about 4.5 million people, while the Buffalo-metro has about 1.1 million? Those Buffalo fans came out in droves to see the 7th seeded team that barely made the playoffs, while the Boston fans were showing up to see the eventual Cup champs. There's a reason the First Niagara Center holds more fans than TD Garden.



Since: Aug 21, 2007
Posted on: October 24, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

When you run a sport that struggles to maintain a fan base, it's never a good idea to piss off that fan base. 



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: October 24, 2011 8:24 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

Just the fact that one of the games was held in Boston, a city where they struggle to fill a stadium of ice hockey size, shows how ignorant this post is.  When Boston gets in the top 15 in attendance there might be a debate about so called "ticket demand"
Boston doesn't struggle to fill its arena, the Garden only holds 17,565 for hockey. Boston played to full capacity last season and finished 16th in numbers because its arena isn't as big as say, Buffalo's. This is why the better number to look at is the percentage of the arena occupied.

When looked at that way, Boston ranks seventh in the NHL...and comes in 10 spots ahead of your Sabres.



Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: October 24, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

I went to Fenway for the B's/Flyers and the most expensive seats sucked. The first 20 rows could only see the top half of players and forget about trying to see the puck. I had friends who sat in cheap seats in the sky and could see great.  Be careful what you pay for.



Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: October 24, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

When it first started with a game in Buffalo, nobody was quite sure what to expect for that game or future games, and the ticket demand, while large, wasn't anywhere near the monster it has become today


Do these guys do any research?  I'm reading from that line that the Buffalo game didn't generate a lot of ticket demand????  If you check the attendance records of all the games from 08, 09, 10 and 11, I think perhaps only 1....MIGHT have out done the Buffalo game.  Just the fact that one of the games was held in Boston, a city where they struggle to fill a stadium of ice hockey size, shows how ignorant this post is.  When Boston gets in the top 15 in attendance there might be a debate about so called "ticket demand"



Since: Jun 22, 2008
Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:39 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

I dont understand why they just dont hold these games in football stadiums.  Buffalo did it right holding it at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Most baseball staduims hold around 45k while most football stadiums hold around 70k.  It gives more people a chance to see the game and the NHL can make more money.  The Winter Classic should be for the true fans.



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:28 pm
 

Flyers fans upset with Winter Classic tickets

when this was held in Pitt last year, the season ticket holders got first chance at tickets, but didn't automatically get one.  this game was not counted as part of the package, and i'm sure it's the same out east too.


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