from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
We apparently have Weeknight Flu in this town. I just watched the Sabres play last week on a Monday night in Dallas in front of a roaring crowd of more than 18,000. And that's a city that's far pricier, has much worse traffic and was charging $35 for its garage parking. ...
Folks here just want Friday nights or weekend afternoons. As someone who travels, I can tell you that's a Buffalo thing. The buildings are full in most cities on most nights.
The Sabres are 29th out of 32 teams in total attendance and dead last in attendance percentage. They went into Wednesday's game playing in front of just 76.4% of capacity. There are 17 teams at 96% and up, and 22 teams at 93% or higher.
The Sabres aren't revealing their season ticket base but judging by their lowest numbers of the season, you can interpolate it's grown from about 6,500 last year to somewhere around 9,000 this year. Obviously, they have to work to get that higher, whether it's through new purchasers of the full package of lots of folks combing from packs of various sizes.
Winning helps that. Entertaining hockey helps that. You'll have to wait for next season, based largely on the result of this one, to see what kind of bump they get.
You do wish people would be more interested in seeing the Sabres now, and not so focused on the opponent. But people have been burned so much the last 11 years, and even some nights this season, that a big buy-in is simply not going to be automatic.
There is a lot of crabbing about individual game pricing and it's justified. The dynamic pricing model, which makes the price of a hockey ticket play hopscotch over the course of a day, is becoming an industry standard in sports and it's a scourge.
The Sabres should be above it. It comes off as a scam. If I want to see Carolina on Feb. 1, the price of a ticket should be the same on Nov 1, Dec. 1 or Jan. 1. It's not. There shouldn't be upwards of 30 prices for tickets for a game based on location, row number. That's too many.
Dallas has a stronger business community than does Buffalo. I would think corporate season ticket sales value weeknight games more than weekends. It has (likely) a wealthier community with lower taxes and better weather.
Long Island is similar to Buffalo = in the fact that the fan base is a 'retail' fan base - much more in the old Coli than UBS....which is closer to Manhattan and has attracted more business advertisers and sponsors than in Uniondale.
Buffalo has not played a playoff game in a decade. Season seat subscriptions go up when fans want to lock in playoff seats.
People in Buffalo want the weekend games and that just makes sense. In their history, the Isles have had mostly Saturday Night home games (as the Ranger$ played on Sundays - subordinated to Saturday Night Basketball in NY via the Knicks) Buffalo and Boston both seem to play a lot of afternoon games. For fans like me - nothing like Saturday Night hockey on Long Island. The crowd is more boisterous. I don't mind an afternoon game on MLK and Wash Birthday for example and a few Saturday or Sunday matinees. Each market is different.
But I seem to recall that the attendance is quoted in "tickets distributed" and not "tickets sold" or a turnstile count
Been to many a game at the Coli 10 years or so ago with no more than 4k fans in the seats and they announced 10k attendance. I bet the Florida Panthers for example has a similar issue. WINNING solves these problems - look at how Tampa has come around attendance wise.
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