Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Eric McErlain-

--has a terrific wrap up of the Ice Bowl ticket flap over on AOL's Fanhouse, which you should definitely check out, and not just because they mention my name.

While I'm at it, I can't say enough good things about the FanHouse. In addition to the fact that it's a great hockey source, I'm even more impressed with how it caused me to almost immediately get over my knee-jerk desire to despise it simply because of the big, corporate AOL logo. It's sort of like a Barnes and Noble over there, in that you want to hate the big giant chain, but then you get inside, everything's laid out beautifully, and there is plenty you want to read.

Of course, the Fanhouse is better, because unlike Barnes and Noble, you can enjoy it in the nude.

Boy, did I learn that the hard way.


I'm the only one who sees a couch and a good book and feels the urge to take his pants off and relax? I'm not the bad guy here, it's society.

Anyway, Eric did a great job with the wrap up of the Ice Bowl story, and thanks to all the boys from the FanHouse who were in touch with me about it. From what I have been able to figure out, it was more important for the NHL to be able to say that they sold out in half an hour than it was for them to make sure that the right fans got into the game.

On the bright side, that decision has led to a lot of decent press from several major sports outlets not generally known for being particularly respectful of hockey. They have been praising the drawing power of the NHL, and raised the game's profile. This is great stuff.

The bad part is, I truly believe the NHL could have had it's cake and ate it too. Like most of the massively embarrassing PR blunders the NHL has made and continues to make, (The Gladiator ad campaign, Glowing Pucks, The Columbus Blue Jackets)this all could have been avoided if the NHL had actually LISTENED to it's fans, something it seems tragically unable to do.

The Hockey Blogs and websites have been calling the Ice Bowl the worst kept secret in sports for a reason- people were really excited about it. The outdoor game in Edmonton was a big deal, and I was pissed when it wasn't on television. The Michigan-Michigan State outdoor game was something that people loved. I really believe that the game would have sold out quickly without the backstage maneuvering, and both the fans and the league would have been thrilled.

Also, to address the baffling question of why tickets were set aside for Toronto Blue Jays Season ticket holders, a comment I got from a reader named David bears reprinting:

The Jays and the Bills have promotions for joint season tickets, whereby if you buy your Bills tickets through your Jays account you would qualify for a discount. Or something to that effect.

Paul Godfrey, president of the Jays has been a huge proponent of bringing the NFL to Toronto and has had strong ties to the Bills organisation dating back to his days as publisher of the Toronto Sun.

I have no idea if this is true, as if there are two things I couldn't give less of a crap about it's Canadian baseball and Buffalo football, but it sounds plausible to me. If anybody can confirm or deny this, I'm all ears.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, I am thrilled for hockey.

This game is going to happen, it's a runaway sellout and will certainly help to restore some of the excitement that many hockey fans have lost since the lockout.

I just wish I coulda scored a ticket.

Who knows though? There are definitely still some tickets out there, and maybe, just maybe- I could find one.

Unlike these two guys who play on my street hockey team,

I guess I just haven't looked everywhere yet.


justin said...

yeah, i too showed up to pick up tickets at ticket master on day 1, and was spurned. i've been keeping tabs on ebay, and there are a ton of posts. I'm hoping that after a while or so, after everyone willing to pay $200 for $40 tickets gets theres, then prices will go down. fingers crossed.

Ben said...

The real test is going to come on game day. It'd serve the NHL right if hockey fans prove to be too smart to pay that much to a scalper, and Gary's "sold-out" game takes place in a half-full stadium.

A 500% markup on $40 tickets...I guess cost certainty is just for owners.

Kevin said...

As a Bills season-ticket holder, I have never seen anything that even hints of some partnership whereby I would be able to buy Jays tickets. So if there is an agreement between the two organizations, it is a one-way deal.