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? 

  • Gary Chalmers

    Keep your season tickets, if you don’t you will regret it. The whole reason they are not making the playoffs is the Klefbom injury, he is good for at least 6-8 points in the standings in the games he missed. The injury caused an overreaction by Chiarelli to make some bad trades, and now with Sekera back and playing well, the whole team has played well. If you sell your tickets you can go put on a Leafs jersey like the losers in the media that think McDavid will ask for a trade if the Oilers miss the playoffs.

    • Gary Chalmers

      Trash me all you want you all know its true, they finally have a defense close to the last time they made the playoffs, they are healthy and outside of the Jersey game, they had played better. Klefbom got hurt the Oilers were 17-12-4 and in a playoff spot, Klefbom missed 18 games, the defence struggled, could break the cycle, couldn’t move the puck, and the goalie struggled. Klefbom plays a whole year, no trades are made and the Oilers are a playoff spot right now, at least a wild card spot.

  • The Immortal

    Can we please end the boohoo Ryan Smyth stories…he drew the line in the sand over a few 100K…most of us if offered 2.3 or 2.5 million (whatever it was) wouldn’t give a crap and signed it…or take the chance of getting traded and crying at the airport..

    Frankly if everything at the rink was priced reasonably they’d probably not have an issue regardless of the product, but Daryl wants his $..

  • JSR

    Unfortunately, it won’t matter who turns their suites, or seats, in this year. There is a lengthy waiting list for them, so the building will be full next year.
    We have two seats, got them before the ‘06 run, considered giving them up the Spring they won the Golden Ticket, and now are crossing our fingers the ship will be righted…
    We, as fans, have to remember that’s all we are. We don’t own the team, we don’t make decisions regarding the team, so all you can do is hope things improve.

  • 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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…

          • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

      • @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.

  • toprightcorner

    The single most important thing is hire a GM and PoHO that instills confidence. Giving up season tickets will be though if that new GM is someone to believe in to turn it around knowing that you can watch McDavud and Draisaitl on successful team. Give up your tickets in that scenario and you might not get them back.

    Hire Gretzky and they will lose season ticket holders by the 100’s. Add a McCrimmon and Holland type of leaders and then it would be a good bet to keep your season tickets

  • KootenayDan

    Like everything else it seems watching professional sports is only for the elite. Just like golf the sport is so expensive kids are doing other things. Wish my dad could have built a rink in my backyard but I did it the old fashioned way playing in the street with my buds. The poorest player in the NHL makes 10 times what I do how can anyone afford to buy tickets on a regular basis. This team has earned it’s bad karma tanking for high picks sure has worked out hasn’t it. Keith Gretzky has paid his dues apprenticing as an assistant gm just like Mcrimmon , hunter etc. but because of his connection to the OBC he wont be considered another mistake in years of making mistakes.

        • FISTO Siltanen

          You won’t get a DRL that way. STH get first choice and many want those. Then they go to the wait list. Be shocked if any DRL filter to wait list people. And those who have them aren’t giving them up.

      • There are reports of getting them within a couple of months. They are proven liars, would not believe anything on their website or anything they say for that matter. The believable parts on the website ? Mac-T VP Hockey Operations (While we are told he is not involved in hockey ops). Scott Howson VP Player Development . I had forgotten that player development was their strong suit (NOT)

        • WHH

          Trainwreck, to your point. I remember several years ago at Rexhall you could buy a game day ticket for half price if you bought a single seat. When I went to the game to pick them up there were other seats available still for sale. Yet, during that time they said they were setting a record for the number of sell outs in a row. There were tickets available at the box office. How is that a sell out.

          • Propaganda. There was also a time when Katz just bought the unsold tickets for promotional freebies to friends plus could add those ticket sales to give a false number. He should have given some of those to the three stooges, they should be in the stands, not in charge while they pretend they are not, contrary to a mountain of evidence. I really hope Katz gets a well deserved kick to the financial groin next year. Nothing personal against the guy, cant say I know him, but public perception is he is a weasel that could not get out of Edmonton quick enough, after Mandel helped him rip off the taxpayers.

          • FISTO Siltanen

            I believe those tickets were sponsored by Molson. My hunch is Molson said sell them for half price and any unsold merch we buy. That will be our sponsorship. So if seasons end you had 1/2 million dollars unsold tickets – we’ll pay that. $50? We’ll pay that too.

  • 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.

  • The duck hunter

    Went to my first game of the season against NYR, as far as in game experience goes it was slightly better than previous years. I was glad to see they’ve gone away from showing fans drinking beer on the jumbotron every break in play. But the live brass band..wow what a fail. Nothing gets me pumped up for hockey like some jazz! *barf* I know not everyone likes what I like but man play some more Metallica or rob zombie. And also I caught in the last game vs devils the beloved gene principe compared the Stanley cup to the productive cup the boys wear. What a tool, dont know why any of you guys love him. I understand hes a nice genuine human being but man he makes our team even more of a joke than it already is!

  • 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!