When it was first announced that the NHL had agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement there were three obvious questions asked by a lot of people:
- When will training camps open?
- When will the season start?
- What will the league do for the fans?
Well the answers to the first two questions came rather quickly. What hasn’t been fully answered yet is just what exactly are the teams and the league going to do for the fans.
While the league itself hasn’t announced what they’re doing as a whole *cough*Free Center Ice*Cough*, individual teams are starting to announce plans for fan appreciations. The Buffalo Sabres have announced what they are doing to “give back” to the fans.
The team announced that they are selling all merchandise at the Sabres store, during the duration of training camp, for 50% off. While it’s better than getting absolutely nothing from the team, this promotion is downright brutal. The only team they outshine right now is Montreal who is only offering 25% of merchandise until Monday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have made a limited number of season ticket packages available for $200. That’s $200 to see the likes of Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Victor Hedman, and Vinny Lecavalier 24 times. That’s what I call a pretty awesome package.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are offering vouchers for free concessions and 50% off merchandise for the team’s first four home games. They are even having numerous fan giveaways throughout the week which could include free admission to games. Again, it’s another stellar “give back” to the fans.
Then it gets to the Nashville Predators. Instead of offering extreme discounts on merchandise, they are giving fans a chance to attend a game for free. The deal was announced as follows:
- Buy a ticket to Nashville’s opening-night game
- You get a free ticket to the Predators second home game
- Fans will receive 50% off all soda and certain draft beers for both games
- Hotdogs will be $1 for the second game
The simple fact that they are giving fans a chance to attend a game for free makes this head and shoulders above any other “We’re Sorry” promotion going on by the league right now.
The fact that all the Sabres are doing, so far at least, is giving a 50% discount on merchandise does not indicate to many that they are giving back to the fans. In fact, many people feel that it’s just an easy cop out without giving up too much profit.
This may come off as greedy, but they need to take a page out of the Penguins and Predators’ books and give things away and have contests. Give cheaper concessions, have contests for fans, and give things away.
Here are a few things the team should do for the people who pay for their meals:
- Offer a free ticket promotion where fans can choose from 3 games to attend for free if a ticket is purchased to a different game. All tickets in the arena are available for this promotion
- Give vouchers away for concessions, but not just for hotdogs. Everyone gets 1 slice of pizza, or a hot dog, or hamburger; a bag of peanuts or candy; a drink.
- Keep the 50% of merchandise going for the first week of the regular season
- Mini-packs of four games for a reduced price. Say, starting $150 for four 100 level center ice seats
It’s going to take a bit to earn your fans’ respect and trust back, start that rebuild off on the right foot.
What would you guys like to see the Sabres do to show their appreciation for the fans?
REMINDER: We are giving away a pair of Sabres tickets and a $25 SabreBux giftcard. For rules click the following link: Queen City Sports Ticket Giveaway