The Canadian media, not having Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors to work with during the Lightning vs. Habs playoff series, have decided to lay into Tampa Bay for not selling out their playoff game versus Les Habs on Friday.
Yes, it's an attendance epidemic of course,... Tampa Bay doesn't deserve a hockey team and blah-blah-blah, yada-yada-yada, so sayeth the Ultra-traditionalists in Hockey who can't stand teams that are in non-traditional markets. The same garbage I have been hearing since the Lightning started playing poorly in 1996-97 till last season.
What I'd like to know is, where are these Ultra-Traditionalists when the New Jersey Devils -- The reigning Stanley Cup Champions -- failed to sell out playoff games? Where were the Ultra-traditionalists when Boston failed to sell out playoff hockey games versus New Jersey last season? Where were these Ultra-traditionalists when the Ottawa Senators failed to sell out playoff hockey games last season?
Frankly, you guys are full of shit.
If you want to focus on the ticket sale "problem" in Tampa Bay, you need to include every market in the league that fails to sell out nightly (the Ultra-traditionalist standard, by way of Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario ). Never could there be a problem with ticket prices because EVERYONE should be willing to pay high ticket prices to attend hockey games. This is a great sport after all and it's not like pricing out people happens:rolleyes
Yes, that's right folks -- pricing out people is the real attendance epidemic in the National Hockey League. Between ownership greed in the past and player greed in the present, people are being priced out of attending hockey games -- especially playoff hockey games where currently prices at St. Pete Times Forum are at a 75 percent increase over the regular season average. All but the elite / die hard crowd are able to afford tickets and people much like myself find themselves priced out, or forced to wait at 1 AM on gameday to buy a small number of nosebleeder, 8 dollar tickets that go on sale at 9 AM.
Why would fans do that? Because they refuse to pay 60 bucks for upper deck tickets in the corner. Any other sport charges less for playoff tickets that are at a distance from the game and Hockey prices out the people who would buy these tickets on the norm.
I honestly want to argue about the NFL system compared to the NHL system but the contrast between the two is huge -- 65+ thousand seats are within the average NFL stadium while the average NHL arena has 20 thousand seats. You could get tickets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003, good tickets in the lower bowl to see the Super Bowl Champions, for about 60 dollars...
In the playoffs you are asking people in the NHL to pony up twice that to sit in the lower bowl of a hockey arena - and those are the cheapest seats in the lower bowl. You have priced out how many regular season game attendees by doing this?
Yes, there's a serious attendance problem in Tampa Bay and it's not the fact we're a non-traditional market. The team and the league is bad at pricing out fans, terrible at pricing out minorities and extremely bad at marketing our games because of it. And lo and behold - it's an epidemic in the United States in general if not all of North America and not just here. Even if Ultra-traditionalists can't see past the geography of the problem.
So enough of my rant, lets go back to the Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors, because the flock-of-seagulls crowd from the great white north are exceedingly good at making that shit up too.