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Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ticket Crisis

Do you want to go to an Oilers game for $30.00? Now you can.

Even though the Oilers already have their money secured this has to be a major embarrassment for the organization. 

I understand that the Devils, without Taylor Hall, and the Blue Jackets aren’t great draws, but that’s no excuse for the product to be valued this low. The best player in the world is taking to the ice in Edmonton and you can get in the building for less than what it costs to go watch the new Captain Marvel movie with a pop and popcorn. (Side Note: Captain Marvel started slow but finished strong)

One of the biggest reasons they finally decided to pull the trigger on the Chiarelli firing was because of negative feedback from season ticket holders. The organization knows its reputation is in need of improvement within the community, and the Chiarelli firing was the first step in that plan.

I do believe Bob Nicholson and VP of Communications Tim Shipton are gathering as much information as they can, as far as developing a plan, to help the Oilers connect better with their fans. One of the first steps in doing that was the team signing at West Edmonton Mall.

The easiest way to connect with your fan base is by winning, but until that begins to happen I believe the team needs to do as much as it can to be visible in the community. The most important thing moving forward would be to continue doing events like the West Edmonton Mall signing when the team becomes a winner.

Wednesday morning on the smash hit Nielson Show I was asked by a listener if the Oilers need to get a GM in place to help with season ticket renewals. Not being a season tickets holder myself I asked all of my Tier One listeners how they are approaching their ticket renewals this season.

THE RESPONSES

Mar 27, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) tries to make a pass by Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones (3) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

“We have had season tickets in our family since the very beginning of the Oilers. We still love our team and have a lot of faith in them but we are considering getting rid of our tickets for next year based on the overall cost and the inconsistency with the team. We have spent many years going and watching terrible hockey and frustrating hockey and we’re starting to wonder is it just better to watch it on TV.”

“I’m a season ticket holder and will renew either way, but unfortunately the renewal thing isn’t a problem yet as they still have a 3 or 4 year wait list.”

“It definitely matters? As we want to start to see a winning team. But we can enjoy and cheer for the team sitting at home in the comfort of our man cave. I love the new building but having three kids and the cost of tickets and the cost of food is just far too expensive.”

“After 22 years I cancelled my season tickets. People now saying “they’re only five points out, regret that decision yet?” NO! In reality the Oilers are 14 points behind the pace when the west corrects itself next year. Plug them in the reality East and that’s what next year will look like. This winning streak is the worst thing that could happen. It will be “we’re good enough” next year and nothing will change… Much like the last 30 years! Only difference is my money will be in my pockets and not the Oilers!”

“Guys. Oilers season ticket renewals are just about to happen. I live in Calgary and have to sell the majority of my tickets. It’s too late for me on the GM question or even the playoffs for that matter. It’s irrelevant. It was a lifelong dream to be an Oiler season ticket holder. Tonight’s NJ game is for sale and listed for $28 ea. They have so far gone unsold! I paid nearly $200 for the pair. I’m out regardless of what happens.”

“Let me put it this way the cost of my seats are $300 for the pair, then if we go and buy some food we’re looking at least a bill of $400 for the evening. Yes it’s a form of entertainment ,and we love it, but it’s a lot of money to shell out when the team is so unpredictable. Will it change if we’re a winning team? Maybe but I’m starting to really enjoy watching the games at home and may be attending the occasional game. Oil Kings tickets look pretty good”

“Season ticket holder Jeff – season tickets holders have changed from fans to businesses. Oilers games are now used more as a marketing and customer appreciation tool instead of people who love hockey going to see the game. I can guarantee you for that reason getting the GM before the renewals are up won’t make a difference. ”

THE FIRST STEP

The first step in trying to get things back on track is admitting you have an issue and I’m pretty confident the Oilers are well aware that something needs to be done. I know there is a waiting list for tickets and because of that, some fans will refuse to believe the organization doesn’t feel the need to improve their community relations but that’s not the case.

I guess I’ll wrap up with a couple of questions. Are you renewing your season tickets, why or why not? If the Oilers are serious about improving their relationships with the fans, business community and media in this market what would you like to see them do?

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • Clayton

    Ill be renewing all four of my season tickets for sure. With the hype and excitement at the start of each season I can sell off enough games to poor unsuspecting fans to almost pay for the games I actually want to go to! Face value on the tickets is way higher than the season ticket price making for a nice tidy profit each time you sell!

    • Goaltender Interference

      You’re either a Russian troll, related in some way to Darryl Katz or are a pathological liar.

      Last year I couldn’t sell my season seats for half of what I paid for them. This year is even worse for season tix holders.

      Ever since they moved to the new barn, the Oilers entertainment group have been pissing all over their fans with yearly price increases. I don’t know who they’re pricing these for but it sure isn’t your average fan.

  • Alberta Ice

    Now that was depressing to read. For a cheap price tonight you can go watch McDavid and Drai bedevil the lowly devils with the same kind of goal scoring barrage that the Flames offered the bedevilled devils last night. This game is Taylored for the Oilers without Hall.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    People will charge what they can get for the tickets. Others will pay what they want. Those are market forces and you don’t generally need to parse them any more than that.

    But, testimonials from Tier 1 fans aside, I’d suggest to you that there’s more to it than dissatisfaction among the fan base. In fact, I’d hope it’s more than that because if the fan base can’t buy into a team that’s five points out of a playoff spot with 12 or 13 games left, then I think that says more about the fans than the team. But I digress.

    No, I think simple economics are at play here. Edmonton’s got the second- or third-highest unemployment rate in the country right now (Calgary’s No. 1). There aren’t as many people out there with the disposable income to buy tickets, second-hand.

    Plus, there’s a provincial election coming up – probably in a week or two. Edmonton’s a government town. If the UCP comes to power, there’s a decent shot that a lot of public service workers will either face pay cuts or pink slips. I know of lots of public service workers who are putting off major purchases for the next couple of years to see how the dust settles after the election. I reckon that includes things like season tickets or, as covered in this article, re-sell tickets on the second-hand market.

    Add it all up and that means less demand … and less demand that means the sellers have to lower their prices to spur demand. And I don’t think the Oilers front office needs to bear all of the blame for that.

    • BobbyCanuck

      Your Public Service worker pals must all be in management, as a Union public staffer, none of my colleagues can afford to go to a game, let alone season tickets

  • Frank Rizza

    I gave up my seats a few years ago mostly because of cost and the fact that with my young family, I’d rather be at home anyway. It’s more comfortable and my TV (that I paid for with basically 20 games worth of tickets) is unreal. I do however absolutely love the building. I love being there for any event, hell I love driving by and staring at the damn thing. I applaud Mr Katz for what he’s done for downtown and the city. I hope he makes another Billion off the real estate so that he keeps building more sick buildings. That being said, the man has completely destroyed this franchise. We are a laughingstock! A complete joke in the league. I am going tonight (the company I work for has a box), so everything is free for me about 5 times per year. So that and watching the best player on earth is still a reason for me to be in the building but I won’t be buying tickets from the Oilers for a while.

  • Old Boys Club

    I will be giving up my tickets next year. It would be easy to say it is because of the team’s performance, having only 2 post seasons in my time as a season seat holder but the biggest reasons are all off ice issues.
    As much as they brag about Roger Place, it has been a major disappointment. Poor overall design, congested concourses, underwhelming concession options.
    The game day experience is terrible. Long lines, too many advertisements, same old promotions during stoppages.
    Upper Management is out of touch with its base of fans. I feel I’m in the prime demographic of who they should be targeting as a customer and holding onto (late 30s, money to spend, plenty of years ahead of me). I was 9 the last time they won a cup, I barley remember it. Sorry to say, all they people are trying to impress with the glory days BS are starting to die off. A whole generation of new fans has been lost from the decade of darkness, but they are to short sighted to see it. Management had been so bad….. I honestly feel bad for the players & former players having their careers affected by this clown show.

    Next year I’ll enjoy a brand new TV in the man cave and cheer just as hard without handing Katz my hard earned money.

  • toprightcorner

    This is the very reason why the Oilers will not hire Keith Gretzky. An internal hire will not create optimism within the fanbase, something they cannot afford to do.

  • Hockeytalkguy

    My nephew has had season seats for the last 8 years, he’s not renewing for next year. 2 guys I work with are not renewing either, they just simply said they have had enough, to costly for the entertainment that you DON’T get. I gave up my seats in 2012, have only gone to 2 games since then, 1 of those games was still at Rexall. I love hockey & the Oilers but I don’t miss the experience one bit. I will NEVER FORGIVE Kevin Lowe for classifying Oiler fans as Tier 1 & 2. The comment of ” I think I know a little about winning, in case there ever was a concern” was the last straw for me. Daryl Katz & Kevin Lowe can both pound sand. Katz will see a very limited amount of my entertainment dollars, because I still go to 1 or 2 concerts a year.