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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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? 

  • rnj

    -OBC fired, including Bob stepping down

    -Acknowledgement that they made mistakes in the direction of the team, including specific examples

    -Validate how frustrating it must’ve been for the fans to know what should’ve happened to make the team successful, why they didn’t see what we saw, and why nothing was done to course correct before it was too late

    -Apology to the city for thus far squandering the investment we all collectively made in the team and arena

    -Apology to the fans for asking us for patience through multiple rebuilds, while repeating the same mistakes through each one. Explanation of how it will be different

    -Apology for the single run of playoff hockey over the last 13 years

    -Detailed plan outlining how they will prevent future trade blunders, citing specific examples like the Reinhart deal. Additionally, how they will utilize damage control measures so that someone making poor decisions is removed before they’re able to cause Chiarelli like damages

    -Acknowledge the magnitude of their failure, that they understand why fans may not support them anymore, but that they commit to doing better in the future

    -Significant concession discounts and freebies for season ticket holders

    -Opt out clause if they miss the playoffs next season

    -Significant reduction in season ticket cost

    Basically, a recalibration to attitudes reflective of reality: you have done the worst job in your industry while charging some of the highest prices and denying the scale of the problem.

    The vibe her should be like someone who got busted cheating and is begging for the opportunity to make meaningful character changes, then following through on them… With an easy out if they dont.

    I know the above will never happen, but that’s what it would take for me.

      • @AJ88, Tax amount would be impossible to peg to an individual for numerous reasons, including people like Katz who gets tax exemptions, changes to population etc. Point being NO public dollars should have been involved period and when Katz reneged on his obligations , funding should have been pulled. All profits should belong to the taxpayers as they supplied the seed money to start with. And if you think the OBC is not pulling the strings, you are incredibly naive.

    • TKB2677

      Why stop where you did?
      – Why not ask for Daryl Katz to come to your house with a card and flowers and personally apologize to you. Maybe he will break down in front of you to make you feel better.
      – Why not ask to get whoever you want from the Oilers organization, put them in medieval stocks in the City center and then you can throw food at them like they did long ago.
      – Why not ask Katz to lend you his beach house in California for a week, hell go for a month. You deserve it.

        • TKB2677

          No disrespect to you intended but anyone who has the attitude you just displayed about the “taxpayer donating” money to Katz when it comes to the arena is soooo shortsighted and so uninformed about how things work, it’s not even funny. Yes Katz owns the Oilers and his team is technically the anchor tenant for Rogers Place but the amount of times the Oilers actually use that building pales compared to other events. I work in land development and the development that has happened around that rink and the BOOM of the downtown does not happen without that rink. For the amount of major development that has happened around the rink to occur, there has to be a draw, a reason why. Stuff doesn’t happen just because. IF it did, then all of what has happened would have happened a long, long time ago, before a rink ever got built. That’s the truth man.

          Without that building, all the construction jobs that were created because of the new building plus all the development around it wouldn’t have happened.
          The new community arena would not be there.

          I completely understand the frustration that fans have with the hockey team and the decisions the owner has made to put the people in place who have screwed it up. I share that frustration big time. But the building is completely separate. That thing was a god sent to Edmonton and every tax dollar that the citizens had to pay to build it, will be paid back 10 times over because of it. I do not know where they are at in their repayment for the rink but every time I hear them talk about it, the City keeps knocking off more and more time off their repayment timeline because the money keeps going up.

          • hagar

            Don’t forget that Katz bought all the land around the proposed rink, then threatened to move the team if city council wouldn’t let him put the rink there because it would have sunk his investment. You for sure work for the Oilers with all your fanboy comments.

          • If you work in land development, your tale is very interesting and wildly inaccurate. Sure taxpayers will get their money back. LOL. That’s what they said about the Grande Prix. Buffalo Bagels to appease the taxpayers. There is no repayment on the rink, taxpayer funded period along with the cost of maintenance, and it is a matter of public record. Also he weaseled out from his commitments to build a practice rink at the U of A , and some other attachments to Rogers that do not exist and never will. Vast majority of the funding is from the CRL. Community Revitalization Levy (TAXES). Again a matter of public record and easy info to find.Big part of why I left Edmonton, I still own a residence there , but my tenants pay for the taxes , I moved myself and my business specifically to make sure that MY MONEY is not wasted on this BS. They can easily afford to build their own facility , and would have if City Council would have had anyone with a backbone. City council is still cow towing to this nonsense by changing the rules just for him re liquor store locations. The guy who put up the money with the guarantee of location distance, is now also being hose bagged by City Council and Katz.

          • corky

            Katz has control of Rogers fifty weeks of the year does he not? Defintely more than forty two nights. Rogers hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. Many businesses in the core have suffered since it opened.

          • TKB2677

            Trainwreck, when I said the taxpayers will get their money back, I never meant the City would go around cutting cheques. They will get their money back in the way of the massive increase in tax revenue that the arena and the resulting surrounding development generates that wasn’t there when all there was a bunch of vacant lots and old buildings. So even if person X never sets foot in the Rogers rink, the money generated by that arena and the surrounding new development thanks to it can be used to fix or build roads as an example.

            A City is only as good as the amenities it provides its citizens. The arena is not just a place to play pro hockey, it allows for other events to come to the City. SO even if a person doesn’t watch a single hockey game, chances are they will go to something else in that rink. All you have to do is look at how many events and concerts that do not go to Calgary because of their lousy arena and come to Edmonton because Rogers is there. So like it or not, even if the Oilers weren’t in Edmonton, in order for Edmonton to continue to get all these big concerts and events that their citizens WANT, a new rink was going to have to be built. So complain all you want, at some point the City of Edmonton was going to have to build a new rink.

            What I find baffling is how for some citizens, no one bats an eye if the City decides to build a new Rec Center in whatever corner of the City that only services a small percentage of the population and is a money spender, not a money generator. But falls into the “City Amenities” category that every City needs. Yet god forbid the City if they dare to help fund a new rink, which is also an important City Amenity and will also generate new income for the City just because someone might get a little bit of profit because of it. OH the HORROR that both public and private can work together and both come out ahead.

        • AJ88

          Tell me, how much of your own taxes goes toward the arena. Before you spout off make sure you have your facts in line. If you don’t think the arena is a major positive factor in downtown Edmonton that has reaped benefits to the city then you do not have a basic understanding of economics, for that matter I do not see a basic understanding of running a hockey org.(I am not a tier 1 fan). As far as I can see you like the Oilers to lose as the only thing you like to do is spout off negativity, Oilers lose, we hear from trainreck, Oilers win, crickets.

          • Before you spout off you should check what you are calling facts. I have a degree in economics, and no one even needs that to figure out the taxpayers got taken to the cleaners. The more they lose, the more likely they will finally ditch the clown show management team.
            And Kudos to Cam for stating that the OBC still calls the shots. You would have to blind and or stupid to not see this.

          • AJ88

            Trainreck, answer the question, should be easy for a guy who has an economics degree, what amount of your tax dollars has gone to fund the arena? And cudos to Cam? Cam makes his comments the OBC based on his intimate knowledge on how the team is run? He must be basing his knowledge on your inside information…

      • Goaltender Interference

        Actually I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all to have Katz go door to door in ththe city to make personal apologies. It might help to clue him in a little.

  • Burnward

    I’m simply amazed at the lack of fan experience aside from the product on the ice.

    No replays for fans, crap music, concession prices from hell.

    They have no clue about anything from top to bottom. It’s amazing.

    • Burnward

      Hockey experience 101:
      Uplifting montage into team entering ice. Make it personal: Edmonton by the RAA or something.

      Rocking song to get the fans going: Fuel by Metallica should be brought back.

      Replays of every big moment on the jumbo.

      Classic rock and country songs to keep the fans going.

      Fun interactive things during commercial breaks.

      It ain’t rocket science but these guys just have nothing but rocks in their heads.

    • Towers-of-dub

      obviously you can’t be showing replays of all the horror show moments that the oilers produce on a nightly basis. I’m sure if the oilers actually produced better hockey, we’d see more replays, but do we really need to see RNH getting schooled on the faceoff dot or a defenseman’s hopeless attempt at clearing a puck on the PK? Let’s face it, most of the replay-worthy moments at an oilers game are plays made by the visiting team.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • TKB2677

      I agree that for a long time, Oilers games haven’t been affordable for a very long time. But isn’t that pro sports in general?

      My youngest bro turned 30 a few years ago so we went on a brothers trip to Chicago. We went to an Hawks – Oilers game and a Bulls game. Tickets for the hockey game way up top where over $90 American per ticket. The dollar was a bit better so it was a little more $100 per ticket. To get a beer was min $10 American. Food was anywhere from $9-15 American. So at the end of the day, I was paying what I pay at an Oilers game. The BUlls game wasn’t any different. I have been to several NHL games in different stadiums. Seattle, Arizona, New England. Costs me a few $100 just to get in the door then food and drink were expensive.

      I just looked up what it would cost to go to a game in Vegas. I looked at what it would cost to see the Oilers this weekend. Everything was $150 and up American for the top deck.I went to the next home game, the Wings. The cheapest ticket I could find was $105 American. So when you convert it, you are paying what you would pay if you went to the ticket booth at an Oilers game.

      So while I would love for it to be cheaper for Oiles games. It’s not realistic and compared to what it costs for other teams in other Cities, it’s in the range. Even to go to an Esks game which I like the football but the CFL is a step below the big leagues. For a family of 4 to walk up to the ticket booth, buy 4 tickets, eat and drink. It’s easily $300. To take my wife and 2 boys to see a movie is $60-80 depending on how much junk food we buy. Nothing is cheap.

          • Google NHL/Golf/Hotel packages for either Vegas or Phoenix. Also the Hurricanes have great deals to as that owner has a golf course as well that is also included in the packages. Buy 2 NHL tickets, you also get two rounds of golf c/w cart. Buy two rounds of golf, get 2 free tix to the Hurricanes, Burgers are not even close to approaching $25.00 and beers are not close to the $15 either. They want to encourage people to come out. Oilers will probably still lose, but at least you can go golfing in shorts.

        • The future never comes

          Sorry but I think Vegas is actually one of the more expensive tickets in the NHL, also to fly to Vegas stay on the strip at a descent hotel for at least three days is going to cost you over a $1,000 without buying the tickets. Maybe not a good example.

        • TKB2677

          Well since you are apparently all knowing Trainwreck, where should I apparently be looking? I went to the Golden Knights website, pressed tickets and picked a game when I gave my prices.

          I bought a set of tickets for myself and my oldest son for an Oilers game this past December just after Christmas. It cost me $95 per ticket plus whatever fees so I think it was about $110 per ticket. Not a chance in hell I am flying to Vegas, getting a hotel and hockey tickets for $220. NEVER. Keep dreaming dude.

  • A big arena, big screen, and big McDavid talent can’t and won’t save this organization. It’s as if the OEG hides behind these big things.

    Where’s the creativity?

    Why can’t the OEG tour other arenas and see the fun off-ice entertainment that goes on before, during and after the game, say in Nashville and Vegas?

    Sorry, but a fake rayban-wearing drum core ain’t doing it. We want local live rock or country bands (and there are zillions of good ones) because we finally can. Maybe they play covers of upcoming touring artists.

    We want personal and fun videos of the players, not big loud graphics that have no emotional connection.

    The OEG’s lack of that emotional connection with the whole in-house “entertainment” just shows how out of touch they are.

    They are not listening to fans, even Tier 2, 3, 4!

  • Dave2

    More replays on the Jumbotron. Take away that dam drum from the mascot. 10% reduction in season tickets. Smooch cam is passé. More food choices on the main level. Ryan does not have to yell. Personally, I would go with the Blue at home jerseys.

  • Schmidt Head

    I hope the Oilers miss the playoffs……. because they don’t deserve to be within a country mile of them!

    They are a total joke! From the boardroom to the ice. They are everything the Maple Leafs used to be and an embarrassment to this city…… this so-called “City of Champions.” Hah! What a laugh!

    I hope they lose their final home game and the fans boo them off the ice and throw their jerseys in disgust. I want everyone from the players to the owner to see it, experience it and know what it feels like. I want them all to go into the off-season remembering it and knowing what a disgusted fan base really looks like! I want them all to be afraid of the fans instead of openly contemptuous of them!

    I want everyone who has season tickets up for renewal to send in instead, two pennies as indication of what they think the organization is worth.

    I want this so-called “owner” to experience real financial pain and see real, tangible damage to his brand. I want him to know real fear!

    Most of all, I want fans to stop acting like lemmings and believing that they owe this organization, this owner, this management, anything! I want them, for once, to act like customers and vote with their wallets.

    We’re all told constantly that hockey is a “business”. Fine!! Let’s start having the paying public treating it as just that and withholding their money because of a crap product! Let’s see how long their so-called “business” lasts without us!

  • 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.

  • OilCan2

    I have bought exactly one (1) seat for one (1) game in the new rink. That’s even too many. My money is spent on equipment and ice time for me playing hockey. Just in case the Oilers catch on next season and bring in talent that graduated from the Condors, do a comprehensive pro search for a REAL GM, and start making legit hockey trades I might spring for a jersey.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.