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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:

  • moosewacker

    Dropped my shared season ticket the last year of Rexall. The Oilers organization really does nothing for fans, other than keep jacking up prices. The top bowl was fine in Rexall, but the top bowl at Rogers is cramped and washrooms are pathetic. Designed for 2nd tier fans. I can watch just fine at home thanks. Maybe I’ll pick a new team too, just like I do every Spring anyway !

  • KPUZ

    I had season tickets and left in protest when the incompetent management, under arguably the worst GM in NHL history, traded Taylor Hall. That trade was just the tip of the iceberg. I did not really care about anything other than a winning team.

    The management’s motto is trade or sell your NHL players at their lowest market value for magic beans and underwhelming returns, overpay pathetic free agents and then have the audacity to blame our city when in fact they should blame themselves. Who would want to come to constant losing organization year in and year out since the early nineties?

    I used to listen to Nielson, Gregor and Stauffer whenever I could but now could care less. I feel sorry for the fans, the media and the players for having to rely on this incompetent organization, starting with Darryl Katz.

    I dare Katz to threaten the Oiler fans with a move to Seattle or elsewhere. Please don’t let the door hit you on the arse on your way out of Edmonton. This will never happen of course as Edmonton is a gold mine and in the top 7 of revenues of the NHL.

  • Walker8Geoff

    Well they can start by not insulting their fan base at different times. We aren’t stupid. We see on a daily basis that the people in charge of this team have no clue on how to improve the team. If they did we wouldn’t have missed the playoffs 12 out of 13 years. As a Tier 2 fan all these years, being insulted by the same management group didn’t help the cause. Clean the house of management.

  • wiseguy

    Next year I’m dropping half of the tickets I have had for years. I share 2 different lower bowl pairs and the second pair will not renewed. Entertainment value is poor value for the money. Some games I have 4 tickets, plus parking, food, drinks = very expensive evening. Will spend the money saved going to a game in Vegas and Nashville next year. I hear the in game experience are great in those places.

    • Joy S. Lee

      I don’t attend many games at all. The ones that I have felt like I was on the receiving end of one giant, massive and unrelenting advertising conglomeration… as if the hockey game were secondary to THAT! Even the beautiful scoreboard they installed barely showed replays, instead opting for the more profitable advertising scheme. So, frankly, the experience itself is sub-par at best, in my estimation, and at home, I can watch the replays and try to focus on the actual game that I love. And if I’m quick on the mute button, even the Gene Principe clown-show distraction bothers me less. I’m annoyed by the garbage Katz loves to throw at us in order to make more money, all the while watering down the very product that we came to see. The whole thing is so overpriced as is, and then they use the beautiful new venue as an advertising mecca. Yeah, I’d rather just watch hockey, thanks.

  • Paddyh

    I don’t think the entire ‘Waiting List’ would purchase season tickets. It’s easy being on the waiting list but actually stepping up and buying season tickets that increase every year? pffff.

  • ellebee

    Does it help sell tickets when Connor says in his pregame that it would have been easy to just roll over & die with the negativity around the team from the fans & media?

  • Ty Guy

    i was gifted lower bowl tickets in Calgary with club access a few years back. i remember looking at the face value and what we spent to park, eat and have a few drinks and the total was well over $1,500 for 4 tickets…who can afford that 8 times a month?!?!?! thats without even factoring a jersey toss!!! NHL is not a family friendly event in Canada.

  • Vanhellian

    Not a season ticket holder but i went to see the Oil in vegas last year and it was fantastic. Truly entertaining (aside from the play of the Oilers that night). It was a party, and the tickets retailed for around $40 usd. Happened to run into a number of other Albertans there, one of whom told me he’d been to most other arenas around the NHL, and thought Rogers in Edmonton was the worst. OEG needs to step it up in a large way.

  • FutureGM

    product is bad, in game experience is meh at best and there is no reason to believe management will be even serviceable next year. Our group has 4 seats and will likely go down to two, largely for the reason that pops likes going.
    Also, stop whinging about beer/food. Pretty simple how the economy works, don’t support what you don’t like. I enjoy a good brew but decided after the lockout I would rather go on an extra holiday/yr than support dime-bag Daryl any more than I do with the tickets. I know it is not for all, but nothing would be a better message to ownership than to stop buying beer, food, hats, jerseys. None of that is needed to cheer on a team at the game!

  • 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.

  • Let’s talk style…

    The orange 3rd jerseys in the 2016/17 were good but the classic blue is preferred. The current pylon-coloured home jerseys are not. I heard Katz himself picked the colours and design.

    The team video intro is robotic, has no emotion, and makes them look like cyborgs. Compare that to the raw, down to earth video in 2016/17. That was well done and got fans pumped.

    WEM signing was a good idea.

    Fans want to connect with the players. Kids want them to be heroes.

    Tough to do when ticket prices, food, pop, and beer are insane and continually increase each year.

  • Jon123

    I made it very clear on their survey that ticket prices are the #1 factor in renewing. If they try to hike prices again, very likely I’ll be out. They seem to think they’re entitled to price increases due to inflation, of course that only makes sense if you ignore that they increased well above inflation in previous years and completely disregarding the economy.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    I’m a STH and will be renewing but the only reason why is that i am on the DRL and only that. Even if the team was closer to their excellence in 2017 in both 18 and 19 I’d probably still cancel. Horrible seats in upper bowl and way too much competition with little to discriminate one seat purchase vs the other. So people look for cheapest option.

    I have sold in 3 years a grand total of 4 games below what we paid for them. 3 were due to schedule conflicts and needed to get best price available. And the 4th was the same thing albeit preseason and we gave the discount to a volume buyer.

    The Oilers have been an embarassment to this city and fan base and better be careful what will happen with low STH commitments. See:Eskimos

  • Slapshot

    I have decided not to renew, I have had my seasons tickets since 1999 and was already going to give them up but then the Oilers won the McDavid draft lottery and I decided to stay on after watching Chiarelli single handily ruin this team the past few seasons and I also blame the rest of the management group as well, I cannot justify supporting this organization any longer. Katz is s terrible owner, Nicholson should’ve been let go same time as Chiarelli and Keith Gretzky was the assistant Gm so he was in on a lot of the terrible trades for the organization to even consider making him the GM is a complete joke.

  • 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.

  • _Bubba

    30 bucks a ticket. If I buy a dozen, does that make me T1? Last year, I was blowing $400 for one game out with the Wife. This year, for the same money, we could go half a dozen games, if we pack in our own trail mix…

  • Sammy27

    I won’t be buying the 4 or 6 game packs anymore and stopped buying my seasons last year. The pattern is the same almost every year….we go on a late season heater and look respectable, so management decides that they were right (despite the rest of the season)and the team is good enough. Rinse/repeat

  • Derzie

    40+ games. 3 or 4 hundred bucks per game. Anywhere between 10 or 15 thousand dollars. That’s 2 to 3 grand per month of the season.
    How does anyone justify this sort of expense to entertain themselves?
    How?

    Then, fold in 13 years of losing with the same group of dunderheads in charge for year 14.
    How can anyone in their right mind even consider signing up for that? Seriously, how?
    I’m at a loss to comprehend this. I really am. A lot of people have way more money than common sense. Tragic, really.

    • Derzie

      And this ‘best player in the world’ crap is getting tired. He has that potential but one has to earn that title. If I have to win one game today, for all the marbles, my starting center would come from Pennsylvania.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • CMG30

    For all you non-tier 1 fans out there, you can support the protesting season ticket holders by not buying Oiler merch. The back room boys have tried to pile all the baggage onto Chirelli before he was unceremoniously shoved overboard. Don’t let them get away with it… Only when Katz sees revenue crater will he get serious about changes in the organization!