by Patrick Hoffman on 08/18/11 at 01:43 PM ET
Good afternoon folks. Two days ago, I posted a link to a story I wrote for The Good Point on what some Rangers’ fans/bloggers thought regarding the renovations currently being done to Madison Square Garden.
I know that the piece came off as a negative one because that is the angle I decided to take with it. Anyone can write about the great things being done to MSG and how terrific the arena is going to look but I decided against that because I wanted to be different.
The bloggers who took part in this, Scotty Hockey, Kevin Baumer (Rangers Tribune) were all kind enough to share their opinions and believe me when I say that there were also many positive things to be said about the renovations.
If you have not read the piece yet, you can either click here or continue below:
The New MSG: Not a Fan Favorite
By Patrick Hoffman
While hockey fans in one area of New York are complaining about not getting a new arena, fans in another area are thinking negatively about new renovations being made to their arena. This is the case when it comes to the New York Rangers and the changes to the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.
Currently, the NYC mainstay is being gutted on the inside and transformed into something even more corporate and new age than it was before.
New York Rangers blogger Scotty of Scott Hockey is not exactly thrilled with what MSG is transforming into.
“I am less than pleased because I see a dark future in it,” he told The Good Point recently. “I see a future where hardcore fans and children will not be able to afford to go to games.”
Scotty, who has had Rangers season tickets for the last six seasons, may have a point as MSG has increased Rangers’ season ticket prices by 23 percent for 2011-12.
“I was part of a focus group the Garden held with other season ticket holders where a third-party gentleman asked several questions, all along the line of ‘what would make it alright for them to take your seat away and give you a worse one?’,” Scotty said.
“The answer, unanimously, was nothing.”
Kevin Baumer of New York Rangers’ fan publication Blueshirt Bulletin said that the price of the tickets will not make many Blueshirt fans too happy, especially with the shape of the U.S. economy.
“If the primary concern is price, as I think it is for many people, then it will be hard for fans to be satisfied,” Baumer said. “They’ve gone up pretty dramatically over the last decade and although you can still find some good deals on StubHub and the like, buying face-value tickets means digging deep into your wallet.”
On any given weeknight Rangers game, the crowd is filled with many fans in suits as most of them are coming from work in New York City or close to it. With the new renovations, Scotty believes the numbers of business professionals in the stands will actually increase.
“The Garden will be another vanilla building, albeit one even more full of tourists and businessmen who endlessly talk on their Blackberries while ignoring the action,” Scotty said. “It is just another case of eroding your long-term fan base in exchange for a short-term money grab.”
Another concern Baumer has is how the renovations will take away what the Garden used to be like in previous years — something bound to upset some of the Original Six team’s die-hard fans.
“The old guard probably won’t be too pleased to see the new arena. From what I understand it’s going to be unrecognizable,” Baumer said. “I don’t think the powers that be are overly concerned with that.”
While the two bloggers recognize there will be some cool new features to the updated MSG, they all agree that some of the true Ranger fans out there may never go to a game again due to increased ticket prices.
“When you charge $60-70 for nosebleeds, how many of the blue collar fans will bring the wife and kids to several games a season?” Scotty asked rhetorically.
“Not many. They will sit at home and watch it on television, where it becomes just another program.”
With the Rangers set to open their regular season in MSG come October, it will be interesting to see which fans come back and which fans don’t.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.