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WWYDW: Season Tickets

There’s been a storm cloud looming over the Oilers organization this season. With the climb looking insurmountable and the clock ticking quickly, it appears the Oilers are going to be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in yet again. With each passing loss, poor performance, and sleepy game in front of a frustrated crowd, that storm cloud gets bigger and bigger. 

Fan angst is at an all-time high. Oilers fans have been to hell and back, so let’s not pretend that frustration isn’t valid. They sat and watched the heart-and-soul of the organization, Ryan Smyth, get traded under a year after the team reached the Stanley Cup Final. They patiently watched the team finally give up on retooling with a full-on rebuild that featured some of the most miserable hockey ever seen before. They watched the team’s owner threaten to move the team to Seattle over the city balking at publicly funding his arena project. Now Oilers fans are watching the organization do the impossible. They’re squandering the generational talent of Connor McDavid.

Making the playoffs this spring was imperative. Every NHL team, save for a few who are actively rebuilding, obviously endeavours to make the playoffs, but the Oilers needed it badly. The organization needed to give its fans some reason to have faith in the direction they were heading.

At the end of the season, season tickets on a three-year term will be up for renewal. This includes the luxury boxes and lower loge level seats, which are the ones that people and companies shell out tens of thousands of dollars to acquire.

Without a shiny, exciting, new attraction, why would anybody be inclined to make this kind of investment? The novelty of the new arena has worn off, the organization has proved that McDavid’s incredible talent can’t compensate for their inadequate decision making, and there isn’t any sign from the top that things are going to change.

Kevin Lowe said years ago that the only fans the Oilers care about are the Tier 1 fans, the ones who shell out dollars on the team. Well, it looks like something’s going to have to change, because the Tier 1 fans are ready to talk with their wallets.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. What would it take for you to purchase or renew season tickets? I bring this up today because the Oilers are hosting season ticket receptions between March 18 and 22 in which Bob Nicholson will be providing updates on a variety of topics regarding the direction of the organization.

What would it take for you to make a financial investment in this organization after everything you’ve seen over the past few years? Would a high-quality General Manager or President of Hockey Operations hire to the trick? Or is the issue, to you, more systemic? Would you continue to reward the organization with cash while the Old Boys Club continues to make decisions behind the scenes?

Another thing I’m interested in hearing from commenters is the entertainment value of purchasing season tickets. Obviously, everyone buys them because they want to watch the team win and they want to be first in line for the playoffs. I imagine that when everyone made their three-year investments back prior to the 2016-17 season, you all assumed you’d be getting, at the very least, two playoff runs.

But, beyond that, how do you feel about the quality of the product the Oilers put on? The in-game entertainment, the food, the beverages, all of that. Do you feel that Rogers Place has lived up to its billing of creating a world-class centre for entertainment?

What say you, Nation? What do the Oilers have to do in order to get your financial investment? 



  • Goaltender Interference

    First the obvious. Fire Nicholson, Lowe, MacT, Howson and anyone involved in the OBC. Bring in an experienced GM who is independent of any Katz influence.

    Ice a team that is more than four key players and a squad of AHLers

    Lower ticket prices by 50%. Across the board.

    Remodel the upper bowl to remove at least one seat per row and one or two rows to provide leg / arm room.

    Sponsor a monthly contest in the Edmonton art and design colleges for new and fresh animations or graphics to display on the jumbotron during the games.

    Hire people to research and develop new cheers or chants and initiate them during the games. ‘Let’s Go Oilers’ is classic but gets a little old.

    If not a personal apology, issue one in the newspapers and online.

    Fire the first person when puts a crowd scene into the jumbotron, unless the people shown are genuinely interesting.

  • 2centz

    As for the arena debate, I dunno man, Edmonton sure looks better when this tier 2 fan sees it on tv since the arena opened, compared to when they would show the old bomb shelter and 118ave. Some of these games are shown across Canada and the U.S. and we look a helluva lot better now than when we used to. I actually have some pride in our city now when it’s shown on television and it’s because of that rink and the development around it. Man, I’m always going to get F’ed out of my tax dollars, and some dude is always going to get paid and somebody is always going to be mad, but at least this fat kat(z) is from our city. I’d rather see our city grow and look way better with a local guy making the money over any number of the other scum bag developers out there who have never and never will step foot in the city.

    • You seriously think he will ever live in Edmonton again? He could not get out of Edmonton quick enough after he hosed the taxpayers. I agree we will always be screwed on our taxes, but tax dollars should definitely not be used to make a profit for someone else.

    • Frank Rizza

      I completely agree! The building is beautiful and the other buildings in the ice district are great too. I hate what he’s done to the Oilers but I love what he’s done for the perception of the city. I mean Edmonton’s always been a great city that never looked like a great city but now it’s getting sexy. Politicians are always going to find a way to waste our money but in this case, it was money well spent. I was/am happy to have my tax money go into this amazing project.
      As for seasons tickets, I probably won’t ever be a season ticket holder again. It’s not that hard in my job to get tickets so I can get to 5 or 10 games a year if I want too and I usually eat at one of the great restaurants nearby before the game. I don’t drink anymore so I don’t have to pay $13 for a beer. I just pop one of my edibles and I’m good.

  • Mr. PopnFresh

    We are not season ticket holders but I would like to comment about our experience at a game recently. We watch every game on TV when possible but being able to attend, in person at the new arena, is obviously a big draw especially when you have young kids. Recently we made our way up for a game from Calgary and bought our tickets on the secondary market for around $65/seat (all-in) for the upper bowl. I thought it was an affordable price for my wife & 2 young boys. We brought the uncle and aunt along as none of us had ever been to an Oilers game since they moved to the new arena. Beautiful building. This was one of those ‘bad’ home games but we knew it was a possibility going in. Yes, the Oilers lost but you know what really burnt all of us? The quality & price of the food & beverages. If you want to leave an absolute rotten taste in someone’s mouth, after everything else that has gone on this year, then look no further to the absolute gouging for this crap. I understand money has to be made BUT you can have high prices without going to the extreme. Big, greasy slice of pizza for what? $7? Bottle of pop for $6?? Glass of beer for $12? Let me tell you that this ‘food experience’ is enough to keep me away from another game forever. The other embarrassing part of the game was some of the vulgar and ignorant ‘fans’ around us. I just can’t understand, for the life of me, how any adult can speak that way with kids everywhere around?? F-bombs being dropped left and right. There was a father and his young son (maybe 5 or 6) and this young boy started out with a few light-hearted comments but as the game wore on became rude & disrespectful. His father sat there and played with his phone & never said one word to him to behave. 2 other guys behind us (probably in their 30’s) were laughing and egging the young boy on. Absolutely ridiculous, embarrassing & unacceptable. This, along with the concession prices, ruined it for me. I had a long talk with my boys about acceptable behavior as they had never experienced anything like that either. That is our one experience at an Oilers game this year & I would rate the overall experience as nothing short of embarrassing.

  • El Hombre

    Season ticket holder from 2001/02 to 2017/18. Fan since 1974. We got fed up with the increasing prices and the mediocre fan experience. Still watch some games, no longer get pissed off at losses or the ongoing incompetence because I don’t have any skin in the game. Best thing about dropping Oil tickets was using the money for:
    Golden Bears hockey season tickets
    Went to Canadian Grand Prix
    Went to US Grand Prix
    Improved Esks seats
    Went to Phoenix Open
    All for less than the last renewal price they wanted to charge us for seasons tickets! Wished we had done this years ago.

  • Sammy D

    I gave up my seats for 3 reasons. 1 – The organization is poorly run and has limited talent to make a serious playoff run. 2 – NHL Officiating is so completely inconsistent you never know what the product on the ice is going to look like and if it is the teams or the officials who will determine the game. 3 – Rogers Place is not fan friendly in the upper level, which is where my seats were. Seats are narrower than the old building, 3 escalators only to get up there, or down? concessions lines are too long, prices are insane. The only thing I can see changing in the near future. 2 & 3 aren’t changing soon, if ever. So I voted with my wallet. Not regretting it at all.

  • DodgerBlue

    The outrageous prices for food and beverages are well documented. A $3 hotdog, $2 popcorn, and $8 beer would be a good start. However, the poor staff training and the way that they operate the concessions result in long, slow moving line-ups. I’m amazed that when I get into a beer lineup that they wait until you get to the front of the line and ask – What would you like? DUH, how about a beer? Then they look for a cup and start to fill the cup? For the food lines, there are many different models to make this go more smoothly. How about cafeteria style? Pick up your food and Beverage and pay experienced cashiers at the end. Much better than have some teenager waving trying to get your attention!

  • DodgerBlue

    The in-game experience. Yes, this not Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, they know how to have fun and enhance the in-game experience. That statement is about as stupid as Len Rhodes saying “Winning isn’t everything”. The only positive thing the Oilers have done is to bring in the brass/drum band to wander the concourse. The “cheer loud” to see which beer mug will fill faster or skidoo will go win, etc. is ridiculous. With the huge video scoreboard, they still refuse to show replays. If they do, they cover them with a big 630 CHED sign, just when the hit, goal, etc. is about to happen. The “highlights” are ONLY Oiler goals/chances. I want to see how that goal went in over Koskinen’s shoulder too. This censorship is appalling.

      • hagar

        It is a perfect example of why everyone needs to go. They are out of touch and take years to fix obvious problems. Doesn’t matter if its coaching, players, entertainment, they take years to fix problems. They ran that stupid de de de da da da scoring song for like 6 years after the ears were bleeding.

  • DodgerBlue

    This organization is so dysfunctional it is laughable. Look at the center page of the progamme where they list the Oilers braintrust. Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations – Craig McTavish, Assistant GM – Kieth Gretzky (Chirielli’s right-hand man), Vice President Player Personnel – Duane Sutter (think Brodziak, Rieder, Rattie, Spooner, Manning, Petrovic), Vice President Player Development – Scott Howson (Puljujarvi), Director of Salary Cap Management – Bill Scott (21st place team in cap hell), Director of Player Personnel – Bob Green (Griffin Reinhart). And this is all led by Bob Nicholson who doesn’t even know that these people are not the ones that should be running this organization.

  • DodgerBlue

    The Oilers need to hire a competent POHO (think Yzerman type) who should be hiring a competent GM. These new-hires should clean house and bring in the people that can create a proper organization to lead this team out of this mess. Nicholson focusing on hiring a new GM (however qualified), will NOT solve these problems.

  • slats-west

    It is expected that the Oilers will make close to $140-$150 million in 2018-19 season without playoffs. That equates to about $3.5MM per game. Given the disappointments which are so numerous I would say that OBC and Owner should give 50% back. That’s roughly $100/seat per game in the way of a price ticket decrease or discounted jerseys, gear, food and beverage per game.

    That’s what would be fair. But cannot see this owner who doesn’t even show up to attend a game in person would really acknowledge the people who pay the freight – the fans – and who have supported this team for a long, long time.

    • hagar

      3.5 million per game. Imagine if one single income day a season, could pay your old buddy 3.5 million a year… and we can all see why Katz doesn’t care.
      Its next level not caring… but still about as important to him, as us throwing a beer can in the garbage to save a walk.. you kiiiinda briefly think about it… then nothing..

  • SRELIOFAN

    I think all of you season ticket holders reading this need to stop paying to watch crap hockey and buy Esks season tickets instead. Let’s sell out every home game and support a team that is actually doing some good things to become a winner. Enough is enough. Edmontonians are a hard working people and we deserve more than what we get for the amount of money we spend on the Oilers. It’s time to send a message and leave Rogers place empty.

    • camdog

      I’ll wait until the Eskimos hire their new team President before I jump on that ship. Food and entertainment value of Eskimo games has been just as bad as Oilers the past few years.

  • Oilers70

    I am out. Gold tickets for 15 years.

    This team’s management (Lowe, Howson, Mact etc.) is so badly imbred with incompetence and lacking in knowledge to run an organization.

    They are 14% worse than the worse team in the NHL since Katz brought the team. That means they are really really bad. By chance, and chance alone without any skill, over time the odds say you should end up 50/50. There are those that are good over time and consistently win. Then there are Lowe, Katz, MacT, and Howson who are on the other end… the continual losers. There is no chance they can fix this.

    The only way to fix this is to fire them all and start with fresh ideas to end this culture of losing is to fire them all (management, scouting, etc.) Firing Nicholson should also be done, because he has missed these points in his review since he has been here. However, Let’s not fire the trainer and equipment manager that Lowe did when he wanted a change.

    Now the media is already pumping up Gretzky, which means the Oilers have told them to do it, and he will be the next GM. The inbreeding continues, and thus the culture of losing.

    To our media: you are a bunch of spineless journalist who could do something about this team for the fans in Edmonton, but you won’t speak out because you all are too afraid to lose your meal ticket the Oilers have created for you.

    Finally, and I hate to say this, is that if this ship can’t be turned around in two years; If I was McDavid’s Dad, I would tell him to ask for a trade. I don’t want the best player in years to be destroyed by these clowns.