The Buffalo Sabres struggling to regain the affection of the folks in Western New York and Southern Ontario have decided to give back to the fans. In this instance the giveback will be in the season ticket prices charged for the upcoming season (should it actually take place)?
Hoping to increase the season ticket base upwards from the current level of 7,000 seat holders, the Sabres are also offering the opportunity to provide deposit of 50 dollars to hold your seats, a deposit that will be fully refundable should the season not be launched. With that plan in place the Sabres are hoping for an increase to 12,000 season ticket holders by the time the first puck drops.
The Sabres will reduce the price of some seats anywhere from 12-28% which could mean that some seats in the HSBC Centre will cost less than when the rink opened 8 years ago. But with every good intention must come a caveat and in this case it would seem that Leaf fans will be helping make up the difference.
The Sabres announced that in addition to the across the board price cutting will also come the suddenly fashionable Marquee pricing structure. Where the appearance of popular divisional rivals will result in higher ticket prices to those match ups. In the case of Buffalo there is no more popular divisional rival than the Toronto Maple Leafs. And those games falling on a weekend evening will cost higher than the lesser teams arriving in the middle of the week. It’s a strategy that many NHL teams are starting to use to take advantage of those instant sell out games and helping to lure customers into the rink when the lesser lights arrive.
In fact many Sabre fans get a bit upset when the legion of Maple Leaf fans make the crossing at the Falls to come cheer on the Leafs in their large numbers, turning a Buffalo home date into a Leaf home game at worst case to a neutral site contest at its most optimistic.
Perhaps by charging a higher rate for Leaf visits the Sabre fans will be able to recapture their own home rink. But if those Leaf Nation fans still come, its best to take as much of their money as fast as possible. After all they’re used to it in Toronto, at least they’ll get a feast of chicken wings for their troubles on the road!