WWYDW(FE): Season Tickets

This is an important time for the Edmonton Oilers. The fanbase’s angst is at an all-time high with the team failing to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons despite great play from Connor McDavid. As a result, many fans have shown skepticism to renew their season tickets.

The Oilers operate their premium season tickets on three-year contracts. The first-ever round of these contracts began back in 2016-17, which was the inaugural season at Rogers Place. Season ticket holders got bang for their buck in the first year, but, in the next two years, obviously didn’t.

I’ve heard stories about companies with seats in the loge level who couldn’t even find employees who were interested in going to games for free towards the end of the year. Now the Oilers are trying to get people to renew these seats for the next three seasons.

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That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. If you’re a skeptical season ticket holder, what would get you to renew your tickets? If you aren’t one, what would the team have to do in order for you to consider shelling out thousands of dollars on season seats?

The big thing, of course, will be the hiring of a new general manager to steer the ship. I think, ultimately, that’s what people care about here. At the end of the day, Oilers fans don’t care about random perks, they want to be in the building watching a winning team and they want first access to playoff tickets. In other smaller, non-traditional markets, you’ll see things like a luncheon with players, free jerseys, the ability to skate on the ice surface at designated times, vacation packages, and concert tickets.

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This year, the Oilers are rolling out a few new features to their season tickets:

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New things season ticket holders will see starting next season are discounts on food and apparel, arena tours, monthly open practices, and access to extra tickets at discounted prices. None of these things, to be honest, are very major upgrades and most are already standard things for most other organizations.

The big thing here is the fact there wasn’t a rise in ticket prices. (I’m seeing conflicting reports on Twitter that there was a slight raise, likely for inflation, but it was much smaller than the standard raise we’ve seen each year.) Obviously, it’s incredibly hard to justify spending even more on tickets when there was so little value in investing in them over the oast couple of years.

Personally, if I’m the Oilers, I would offer people a discount on renewing season tickets. So many people lost so much value with the team being out of contention the last two seasons and this would be a positive gesture to compensate for that. I see from a business standpoint why that wouldn’t be very feasible, but I think, beyond the team doing a complete 180, it’s the best thing the organization can offer to show fan loyalty at this point.

What say you, Nation? What would it take from the Oilers to get you to invest in season seats? 

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Last year, the fifth edition of Hockey Helps the Homeless in Edmonton had a record year by raising $200,000 to assist the Mustard Seed and Jasper Place Wellness Centre in helping the homeless and those living in poverty.

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With the event fast approaching May 10 at the Terwillegar Rec Centre, we’re hoping citizens of Oilersnation step up to help, as they always do, to make HHTH the biggest success yet. Last year’s response was fantastic, thanks in large part to the 10th anniversary Oilersnation party that raised $5,000 for HHTH, with every penny staying right here in Edmonton.

In these final days leading up to the tournament, we’re hoping to sell as many $1,000 pennant sponsorships, and $100 Mega-Raffle tickets as we can. If you own a small business or want a keepsake for the games room at home, pennant sponsorships are perfect – you get a pennant with your company logo signed by our pros. With the Mega-Raffle, just 100 tickets are printed. The winner gets a Theatre Suite for 10 guests, food and a bar tab at an Oilers game next season hosted by Ron and Linda Low. Good times.

You can check out the website, purchase pennant sponsorships and Mega-Raffle tickets or donate here.

  • Rick Stroppel

    What about the food? Before the new arena opened, Pat Laforge was bragging about this stupendous new food experience. All I see is the same old cheap hot dogs and hamburgers cooked three days before and left in a steam table wrapped in tin foil, and the same old greasy pizza. The rare “new” food choices cost literally double or triple what you would pay in the real world. Maybe the people in the executive boxes get better food. The poor schmucks who are paying $200-$300 for individual seats have to make do with food I would not feed to my dog (if I had a dog).

    • Serious Gord

      A few months back a commenter with seasons tickets in the loge level said that the food quality was quite good the first season but had plummeted after that. (And his company wasn’t renewing)

      Me experience- admittedly anecdotal and limited – is that all Aramark run facilities have terrible food

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Aramark food can be horrible but it can be great (or reasonable) too. They’ve got tiers for ingredients and prep. I’ve been in a number of corporate spaces that have high-end Aramark food that’s been quite good–but I’ve also seen the prisoner of war versions of their grub. It all depends on what they pay for.

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers organization cannot even build an arena with adequate bathroom facilities. If you give them your hard earned money you are only enabling the debacle know as the Katz era. Talk with your dollars folks.

    • Gorf27

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Our group is not renewing our season tickets, and we’re happy not to…sort of liberated. This organization is such an embarrassment to the city. They tour the other 30 arenas in the league, and then build a brand new one, in large part subsidized by taxpayers, with a badly undersized concourse on the upper level and a ridiculous shortage of washrooms. Then they provide a cringeworthy and very annoying in-game ‘experience’, that NEVER changes, while serving grossly overpriced food and beverages
      They succeeded in one thing: providing the worst value for money of any pro sports franchise in North America. The folks who continue to buy tickets, jerseys, beer, etc, are unfortunately enabling these clowns and ensuring that nothing substantial will change

  • Serious Gord

    How about a 30% refund if they don’t make the playoffs – 15% if they don’t get past the first round?

    That noted – people are fools to buy season tickets up at the peasant level those seats are much worse than they were at rexall

    And it is encouraging that they are offering more perks and discounts. All the years of league – leading failure and a soft economy are softening demand. Maybe – just maybe – this is getting Katz’ attention.

  • Axe

    I received the season ticket renewal package along with an email and a phone call from OEG. Like Cam mentioned they had a few perks: 15 percent off food if u show but season tickets (so not all fans which I think is not right), priority access to buying junior hockey championship tickets next year ,supposedly zero percent increase in ticket prices and the rest article mentioned…I am not renewing barring a miracle because it was a horrible experience last year …ppl literally wouldn’t take tickets for free…and I think burger Bob missed an opportunity by not cleaning house before finding a new GM…if rumours are true and they hire ken Holland then I may boycott the team all together for the foreseeable future (I was planning on buying about ten to twleve tickets otherwise)

  • Viperx

    Sounds like they are putting in a minimum value at cost for tickets that can be bought on ticketexchange. If this is true, then the sellers market will be better as the price will be higher to buy, unlike the $20 you could get on some game nights. Either way, after 13 years of owning seats I will not be renewing

  • Oil4Lyfe

    I think Stroppel hit on a major point. And it underscores something bigger. We’ve been lied to. The arrogance of this organization, the resting on laurels, it’s absolutely ridiculous. They are so out of touch.

    The ingame experience is terrible. Here are a few points.

    1. The food. I’ve been to other arenas, such as the one in Toronto (whatever it’s called now) and they allow multiple franchises to offer food, not the prison garbage that Aramark serves. As Stroppel said, I wouldn’t feed that crap to my dog. The beer selection is embarrassing. And it’s such a stupid business model. How about cutting prices in half – people will then buy twice as much and actually be happy. How stupid.
    2. The experience is more about the music, and the videos, and the shopping mall atmosphere. It’s like a market in some third world country where hawkers are yelling at you the whole time. How about making it about .. . hockey? Maybe show highlights or a replay promptly? Not the Ryan Jespersen show or a constant pile of sh!t on the video screen.
    3. Speaking of Jespersen, if we’re not bombarded with commercials, we have that @ssclown screaming at us about . . . nothing. I feel like I’m in court in front of Roland Friesler. Youtube it if you want – I’m sure you’ll agree.
    4. The incentives this year – I’m a multi decade season ticket holder by the way – are pretty lame. Renewals should get a discount, a significant one. New ticket holders should get a discount. In other words, discounts all around.
    5. How about a recognition that this organization has royally f_cked up everything they’ve touched? From the Owner. From Nicholson. Someone. I know honesty isn’t a value anymore in our world, but maybe, just maybe, the Oilers could be ahead of the curve on that one by bringing back a once-valued human trait.

    I could go on and on . . . but I have to get to work so I can afford an 11 dollar discounted can of Pilsner and . . . BAAAAAAAAAAAAAA . . . renew my tickets for the 30th time.


    • reidgm

      Best beer in the place is on the upper level, behind section 215 or so. Couple of offerings from Granville Island Brewery so not just usual garbage they offer elsewhere.

      • Ass Eatn Szn 69

        Six pints is the best place for beer, however Grandville island has been garbage ever since molson bought them. Cant wait for a few more years of dirty pipes, instead of heroine Canadians, we can get heroine IPA’s have a feeling these are going to come in around the 10% mark. Lol

    • puckdrops

      This. I’ve been going to games for close to 30 years and this is as bleak an offseason i can remember, and we have the best player in the world.
      They need to change everything about the in-game experience. Get the crowd pumped up FFS. Forget the T-shirt toss crap, Change the music, show highlights, replays, hits. It’s the same thing every game. I find i would rather watch the game at home on TV more and more. What’s the incentive to buy anymore?
      I for one, will not spend another dime on tickets or merchandise until the team/ownership decides to give something back to the fans for putting up with the same BS for the last 20 years. It’s embarrassing.

    • Rick Stroppel

      In the last ten year I have been to games at MSG, The Bell Centre in Monteal, and the arenas in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. And Rogers Place of course. The food at Rogers place was easily the worst. ZERO healthy choices.

  • WeekendatBernieMacs

    The entire experience at “No Frills Place” is embarrassing. The on ice product has nothing to do with my reason for not renewing. From the bland concession stands to the lack of washrooms to the tiny concourse on the second level is awful compared to every other stadium I have been to in pro sports. I expect to pay the big prices for food, drink, souvenirs as that’s just the way it is attending a pro sport arena, but at least put some effort and quality in to it all. I would much rather save my money here and spend it on a road trip to take my family and see a road game once a year.

  • The future never comes

    I have little respect for people who renew their tickets. People citing “I dont want to lose them and I still have hope”. If you still have hope after missing 12 of 13 years and 3 of 4 years with the best player on earth, you my friend are a donkey.

  • Hockeytalkguy

    The only way I ever hold season seats again is when KLowe, MacT, Howson, and the rest are shown the door. If they hire Holland zero will change. I’ve said this before Daryl Katz & Kevin Lowe can both pound sand.

  • reidgm

    I gave up my season tickets before last season. After many years of increase after increase, just couldn’t afford them anymore. And trying to find some people to share with was hard. Some years couldn’t even give them away near the end of a season.

  • Dark Knight Returns

    Anyone, and I mean anyone buying season tickets is an enabler of this circus. Donate your money to charity, nothing to see here, don’t be a fool

    • Hockey Forever

      The people upset about others renewing their tickets are missing a point.

      For a lot of people it’s not *just* about the product on the ice.

      These people have been going to the games for years. They’ve been in the same section, with the same people. They probably socialize with those people away from the ice. They’ve watched each others children grow up…

      The “game experience” actually means as much, if not more, than the product on the ice.

      • Kool-Aid Man

        Sure, let’s spend 10K on season tickets so we can sit with our long-time season ticket buddies and whine about how Katz and his crew of cronies have sewerage yr. and another 10K out of us. Sounds great when can I re-up my season tickets. 🤦‍♂️

      • Hemmercules

        Gregor wrote about an older lady in one of his articles about a month ago. She was a season ticket holder for decades. She mentioned years ago they would get jackets, meet and greets, more access to players at events and representatives that would visit them during games from time to time to make sure all is well. Perks like that make people happy. Not monthly arena tours and extended print at home access. The “game experience” is no longer enough when you combine the on ice product, the arena entertainment, the cost of everything in the building and the lack of GAF from the organization.

        I know a guy that winters in Arizona and buys a package of Coyotes games whiles he’s down there. He only goes to a few games yet his rep visits him at his seats almost every game he attends, just to make sure he’s happy. He usually gets some complimentary food with his tickets as well. Ands thats only a few games, not even season seats. I realize its Arizona and they are probably desperate for fans to come to the games but little things like this make a ticket holder feel wanted.

        The Oilers are so out of touch on so many levels it makes you wonder if they will ever get it right.

  • madjam

    I do not see any of new benefits holding season ticket holders once they decide they may get rid of tickets because product has lost it’s luster and entertainment value of team diminished . Stage 2 and those giving up seasons tickets will likely try mini packs , but once again the entertainment value just not there anymore . Stage 3 comes fast and you just go to a game or two , and that is usually a complimentary ticket . Once you give them up (seasons tickets ) you rarely if ever go back . I was talking with another group that had season tickets back in 2006 , and then went a couple times each year after , but even with comp. tickets now do not go because they always seem to lose those games .Tougher market when your investment is a poor quality loser consistently . You soon find other entertainment values for your money.

  • Datsyukian

    I’d buy only if a season ticket cost, say, about $2,000. Each game should be worth about $50, thus 50 x 40 games = 2,000. That’s what I call fair ticket price.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    raising seat prices and suite prices would have hit the Oilers in the wallet, I am of the belief there would have been some losses, even with the waiting list just due to the high costs of the seats but then beverages and food on top, it isnt cheap by any stretch and with a poor experience and team that isnt ding well just adds to the the persons mindset of is it worth the money to maintain this.

    Honestly the 15% foot and beverage credit isnt that great, look at he price of a beer or hamburger and then take off that 15% that’s a slight saving but will the Oilers lose some money sure, but they are still gong to make a good buck from it even with the discount, sure the fan will save some money but not a lot.

    All the things I see the Oilers offering seem to be just things they can do where there isnt any hard costs to them besides on food and beverage where they take a hot but nothing that isnt going to hurt them. What the Oilers seem tosay will be perks dont really seem to do much of anything for the fan experience, a tour of the rink..okay, how many times can a fan do that where its going to keep them engaged? Individual game tickets at season seat prices? okay that might to be great for the scalpers and fans that want to sell their seat tickets they may not use, but that’s much todo about nothing. Extended print at home access?? er wow knock you socks off…uh no.

    I am not even going to go into the rest of what is listed because it really isnt anything that I wow consider wow… that’s awesome…more like meh. Have the Oilers said they were going to do anything with showing replays, better things during tv timeouts? intermissions? Like they have been doing the same things for the last 20 years how about some improvements that matter to make the game better, something more than a bag of perogies giveaways?

    The Oilers still seem stuck in the dark ages when it comes to making the experience better of the fans, it seems these are being trotted out as some earth shattering changes that are going to wow people, but I dont get that vibe at all, this seems more like what can we do for the fans where its doesnt really costs us anything to do it

    • Hockeytalkguy

      @Dallas Eakins Hair……you hit the nail on the head with everything you said, especially the last sentence. It’s good to see that the STH & fan base in general has had enough of the incompetence. Like Spydyr said in above comment, “Speak with your wallet”….it is the only way for serious change.

  • Rick Stroppel

    Has anyone seen Darryl Katz at an Oilers hockey game in the last two years? Has anyone seen Darryl Katz in Edmonton in the last two years? What does that tell you?

    • I remember it was a big deal when Daryl Katz went to the Oilers-Rangers game earlier this season. Really? You show up to 1/82 games like you’re batman or something? Meanwhile Mark Cuban is literally sitting with his players behind the Mavericks bench wearing his Mavericks t-shirt and hassling the refs every game. Katz is an absolute joke

  • Gary

    When they allow me to wear a Safeway bag on my head or throw a sweater on the ice without tossing me out. Give us our freedom of expression back and I might consider it. Running the pace like a Russian Gulag. No thanks.

  • Oiler Al

    Long time removed from the city,but always a fan.[still] Probably would be broke if I still lived there.
    Had a friend who was a VP of a movie chain, and he told me that 80% if their revenue came from concessions.Sports rely on concessions as well…to a lesser degree.Few years ago took my grandson to a Leafs/Oiler game in Toronto,kid almost fainted when he saw the price of 2 beefs on a bun/cokes were $35.
    Didn’t want to tell him the seats [corner reds] were $185 each.Not sure guys like Katz can relate to the working man blues.

  • D

    I get to see most of my Oilers games in other arenas such as LA, Anaheim, San Jose and Vegas. I recently saw a game in Edmonton and the experience was beyond awful. Here’s my one item of advice, since this article asked. Whoever is responsible for the in-game experience, please go to Vegas and copy everything the Golden Knights do.

      • Kool-Aid Man

        My brother has season tickets for the Vegas Knights and having experienced it first hand myself, the Vegas entertainment model is far superior to the Oilers model. The food, drink and entertainment was great! Oilers could really learn form Vegas on how to please their audience but, with the goof troop running the show…

  • hagar

    “The big thing, of course, will be the hiring of a new general manager to steer the ship.”
    How do you figure that is the number one inspiration for people renewing cam?

    Maybe I hang around different people, but every single person I know with season tickets couldn’t care less about the gm in regards to their thought process on renewing.
    Is that actually a thing you have had people tell you? That they are basing their decision to renew on the gm?

  • Randaman

    Riddle me this, riddle me that! When are we going to hear from the recluse BAT? Tampa’s owner addressed the media and fans after their first round exit and we get nothing? Again?

  • T Ambrosini

    This is tangential but relevant (if not a bit long-winded)… I was a SF Giants STH from 1999 through the end of last season. The new park (then AT&T Park) opened in 2000 and the resale market for tickets was tremendous. The honeymoon lasted about three years then my ability to move tickets for games I could not go to started to decline, even after a World Series appearance in 2002.
    Over time, the ticket prices escalated while the in-park experience stayed roughly the same. Over the many seasons after 2002, many of the STH’s around me started to drop off, aside from a few diehards. There was no real improvement in sales of extra tickets for regular season games during the World Series seasons in 2010, 2012 and 2014 (but people were all over me for extra tickets when they made it into the playoffs!!!!)
    The Giants have been a tire fire for the last two and a half to three years. Last year I couldn’t give tickets away, especially with the Giants having “ticket specials” which undercut the minimum StubHub sale price of $6. Folks, I ended up eating a lot of tickets ($$$).
    This year I decided to not renew my season tickets. Instead, I have earmarked the money that I would have spent on trips to see them play elsewhere. At first I was a bit conflicted about dropping out but now I’m thrilled that I have. The Giants still suck but they aren’t sucking the hard-earned cash out of my wallet.
    The take home message is: If you are a STH and you don’t enjoy the product and/or you are losing money, WALK AWAY! Roll that savings into a vacation trip out of town to see the boys play elsewhere.

  • Won tickets from their facebook page to a game last season and left their email on read. Looks like I made the right decision considering it was one of those Saturday embarrassments on home ice. I always like coming to see the arena but they really blew it. They give all the food vendors fancy names like “whitemud kitchen” but it doesn’t matter, it’s all the same garbage prison food. The marching band is cool but if that’s all they can think of then there are people in OEG who should really consider a career change. I’ve never felt soo awkward yelling “let’s go oilers!!” somewhere, the Oilers chants in Aneheim were louder then they were at Rogers Place. The music is just awful. Ohh yea, not to mention this team blows. It’s not just the hockey side that needs to clean house. Daryl Katz is soo out of touch with the fans and he just continues to ignore it, it’s really ridiculous.

  • Heschultzhescores

    I can’t stand looking at the OBC involvement in ths team anymore. Moving them out, would go a long way towards showing they care about the fans and the team.

  • Our team blows and we’re wasting 2 100pt scorers’ careers but hey, how’d you like to tour the building every week? Coming on your left is the main concourse, it has the same walls and floor as it did last week and the previous 150 weeks before that!!

  • I’m truly on the fence. I live 2.5 hours away, split seats with another person. I went to 1 game last year and donated the majority to kids up front. At least I got my money out of the seats I had.

    It’s disgusting seeing people lose money on their investment. I saw 1 guy on facebook who must have spent over 40k on seats. He had multiple sets of tickets and couldn’t even give them away on some nights.

    I don’t know what would clinch it for me. A basement on prices might be good in a market with a competitive team…

  • Oh yeah, tier 1 fan since 2006…

    I forgot to add that. I probably could spend my investment on a family/boys trip to another market and have a better experience than in the “home” rink.

      • Split the hairs however you like….

        Purchasing season seats is equivalent to a pretty nice vacation to somewhere sunny when it’s -40 in January. There are plenty of people who are buying tickets and selling them on the secondary market as a supplement to their income or as their income. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people/fans who invest time into travelling into the games as well. It’s 5 hours return Rogers to my front door on a sunny day.

  • Slipknot 8

    I have club seats, not that it matters but I won’t be renewing……My complaint was you’re paying a premium seat price with no other perks other than you have access to the under ground bar. Which there is literally no benefit in concession times, bathroom times & bar times.
    At the very least the old barn let you through the club entrance & the Oilers finally during the last ten games opened that up to the club seat holders. (A little to late) 3 years to late.
    As for “perks” you already receive a discount on merchandise & you get “Oiler bucks” so I’m not entirely sure how big a difference this is.
    Bottom line, this is a terrible organization run by people who don’t value the customer as much as the customer values them……They take advantage of that.

  • Derzie

    Katz & OBC are fueled by money. If you buy season tickets (or any tickets), you are why they exist. It doesn’t matter what your reasoning is. However you justify the expenditure. The bottom line is that the money keeps them doing what they do. If you are OK with that, you probably shouldn’t be blogging about how much you love the team. You don’t. To use an old adage: if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.

    Don’t buy tickets. Save your team.