Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's Business, Not Personal

It seems that the tension between season ticket holders and the Atlanta Thrashers continues to heat up. Word has that one of the ticket reps called me a "hack"--I've been called worse in my lifetime.

On the one hand I really feel sorry for the ticket reps, my experiences with them have been positive and I like Jonathan Tillman who is in charge of ticket holder retention. So let me make this perfectly clear. I love watching NHL hockey and I want the Atlanta Thrashers to survive and prosper. Unlike most angry STH I don't even mind the increase in ticket prices--Atlanta prices are toward the bottom of the NHL if you look around the league. I don't have any issues with the ticket reps. This is not a personal grudge in any way, shape or form.

What I'm upset about is that the business side of the Atlanta Thrashers have discounted single game tickets so heavily it makes no sense financially to buy a full season up front and eat unused (or unsaleable tickets) or pay full price for the pre-season games.

You might quibble with my math. If you buy single tickets on ticket master yes you will need to factor in service charges. You may not be able to get a 50% discount for all the weekend games. But the simple fact is that if you bought single game tickets and attended around 37 home games this current season you saved yourself between $500-$1,000+ a pair depending upon where you sit in the arena--and (here's the real kicker) you still had a shot at buying tickets to the All-Star Game.

As a money making enterprise I think that the Atlanta Thrashers have made a fundamental error in allowing their "targeted" ticket discounts to become accessible to virtually everyone. This is the age of the internet and until they figure out some code system that really works those discounts can and will be widely used and abused.

A season ago when they had those "Blueland Club" seats I know somebody who got extra seats for $1 and used them to go out to the CNN Center to buy beers during intermission because it was cheaper to buy at Gorins outside and then re-enter with the $1 ticket. If you're in the business of making money on hockey and concessions that is a serious problem.

In the comments section of my previous post Stan noted that the "Buy 4 for the price of 3" deal is available for most remaining games and the prices are cheaper than season ticket holder prices. Then today some posted over at the Smirken Chicken an offer for 50% off all seats the rest of the season. These offers further bolster my case.

I'd like to end with my making an open invitation. If one of the season ticket holder representatives would like to make a guest post explaining why becoming a season ticket holder is a good deal based on the dollars, I will be more than happy to put it up. If I'm wrong, show me how a season ticket holder who attends 37 home games gets a better deal. However, until that happens I respectfully ask you to refrain from calling me a "hack" because I'm pretty sure that the evidence is on my side. It's not personal, it's just business.


  • (a) I don't think you're a hack.
    (b) The Thrashers are towards the bottom of the league in ticket prices only because of the $10 tickets. A few seasons ago (?), I remember reading a breakdown of ticket prices and the lower level tickets were actually priced higher than many other franchises. It might be a worthwhile project to breakdown Thrasher ticket prices by level and section and compare them to other arenas. It's a bit of work, but I have a feeling it will dispel the myth of the Thrashers having low prices across the board.
    (c) I agree with you on the the Atlanta Spirit business policies. It is cheaper to attend games without buying season tickets and it's a kick in the teeth to season ticket holders. You don't even need to factor in the TicketBastard service charges because tickets are readily available at the gate.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 7:05 PM  

  • That's an awesome picture of Jeremy Roenick.

    By Anonymous Thrasherville, at 7:51 PM  

  • Andrew: I started doing this a while back and found prices for about 1/3 the league. Our upper deck is generally cheaper. The lower bowl is pretty average if I recall correctly. I'm really swamped with work and just don't have the time. Maybe later when we get to summer time I can do that.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 12:39 AM  

  • Why don't you take it upon yourself to get first hand information from the slanderer?
    Until then, I'm going to not only continue believing you are a hack, but spreading the news as well.
    Don't take it businessily, it's only personal.

    By Blogger J.K. Sockey, at 12:25 PM  

  • I agree with Falconer. I sent my ticket rep a long e-mail before renewal packages came out. I had no idea that the ticket prices (ST and regular) were going up. My beef was the fact that everyone sitting around us ST in 310 paid less than us on a regular basis. I also asked where all the "benefits" for ST went. My rep has been great, but he can only do so much.

    I won't post my entire letter (it can be found at the Chicken and probably the Nest), but here were my benefit suggestions:

    Some suggestions that could be done for season ticket holders:
    1. The ice skating party at Philips last year was amazing. My kid loved it, I loved it, my wife even had a great time. That was a once in a lifetime experience.
    2. Some sort of team signed item only given to Season Ticket Holders. A stick, a special jersey, something other than a media guide and yearbook that is available to anyone who walks in the arena.
    3. Prizes. What happened to all the prizes, Philips used to give a TV away at every game (we won 2 in 2 years), heck they gave a way CARS for a season. A season ticket holder was almost guaranteed to win something when they were there every night.
    4. Multiple player meet and greets. They are so packed now that they aren't any fun. Sitting in line and rushing around to perhaps catch a second group of players just doesn't seem to be enough.
    5. Longevity discounts... 7 year holder = 7% additional discount or something related to how long you've held tickets.
    6. Free game-day seat upgrades. When the downstairs is completely empty and the avid fans are packed in upstairs, Season Ticket Holders could get moved downstairs. Maybe limit the number of times per season you could do this. With the barcoded tickets this would be easy to implement.

    By Blogger dmatos, at 12:46 PM  

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