For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

20 August 2007

Cheapskate Owners Fleece Fans on Both Ends

While I was away in Maine last week, the Buffalo Sabres announced an ingenious new ticket pricing plan. The Sabres call it the "Variable Pricing System." Here is how the team describes this new system:

Individual game tickets are based upon the Sabres innovative, Variable Pricing system, which is a newly created program where each game is designated by one of four different classifications (Gold, Silver, Bronze and Value). Each classification is determined by the opponent, time of the year, day of the week, rivalries and games against all-star players.
GOLD GAMES
Gold games will be those games that typically have the highest demand with regard to the opponent or the date of the game.
SILVER GAMES
Silver games will typically be weekend games (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) or games versus high demand opponents.
BRONZE GAMES
Bronze games will typically be mid-week games or against up-and-coming opponents.
VALUE GAMES
Values Games will be "family friendly" priced games that are offered at a deeply discounted rate for the season.
For the cheapest seats in the house, here is the price breakdown:
Gold: $68
Silver: $41
Bronze: $29
Value: $20
The Sabres host the Rangers and Flyers twice each. One game against each team is slotted as a "Gold" game and one game against each team is slotted as a "Silver" game.
So, what does this all mean? Well, it means that the Billionaire Owner of the Buffalo Sabres, Tom Golisano, didn't think it was worth his money to re-sign either Chris Drury or Daniel Briere, but he certainly thinks it's worth his fans' hard-earned money to watch them come back to Buffalo and play against their team. For the four games against the former Sabres stars, fans have to pay $218 as opposed to the regular price of $80 for games Golisano and his errand boys in the marketing department didn't deem worthy of extortion. It must feel great to pay so much extra for the right to watch these guys play for another team. Talk about pouring salt in the open wound.
This is what makes the small-market NHL owners so lovable. They whined and screamed for a lockout, and took over the wheel of the league and drove it straight into the iceberg. Now, they finally get the system they held the players and fans hostage to get, and they are complaining about the big-market teams spending too much money. But, that won't stop them from charging their own small-market fans an arm and a leg to see those big-spenders when they come to town. The best part of this is that other owners will catch onto this idea, and it will drive up revenues, which, in turn, will raise the salary cap. But, if you think owners like Golisano will take your money and use it to put a better product on the ice, don't hold your breath. They will be the ones trying to shut the league down again to lower salaries, and blaming the Rangers and Flyers for destroying the small markets, while they laugh all the way to the bank to deposit the extra money they made off those very same evil teams.

3 fanatics have replied:

The Ghost said...

Your points are definately relevenat but I believe you are a bit off base. The Gold games are the the "return games" of Drury and Briere. Traditionally the Rangers have been a poor draw and the Flyers a middling draw in Buffalo, some years good, some bad. The Flyers have actually been "value games" before. The Rangers are traditionally silver or Bronze.

toddper said...

You are so far from the truth...The Sabres started this pricing plan, I believe, two seasons ago. This has actually been a benefit to fans. If the Sabres had raised prices on ALL games across ALL seats, most would never be able to go. Because of the varying prices, most of us hardcore fans that are not millionaires can go see a few games. This pricing plan is a big reason that we still even have a team. There isn't any "cheapskate" activity going on here!
I admit that on July 1st I was as angry at a sports team as I have ever been (that's a lot...4 Super Bowl Bills ring a bell?). I look at the situation now as Drury is the only player that left that I am really concerned about. Don't misunderstand, Briere is a phenominal player, but not the best in the NHL. He has a lot of talent and he learned how to lead a team here. Philly is a better team for having him. However, the Sabres have depth and that depth will be tested this year. We won't know how these young players will perform until late December. My point is we would not be discussing a team in this city if it were not for Mr. Golisano. Now, because of him, I still get to go see my Sabres!

Topham said...

Anything but innovative. I have been to loads of football matches in Europe and all the teams do this.

Besides, you can look at the system in two ways:

1) They are overpricing the Gold games; or

2) They are discounting the Bronze games

I think it's a little of both, but if it helps the team and the fans keepcoming, then it's fair and a good idea for the long-term future of the franchise.

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