OK- I've thrown up a few updates on this already, but I've been able to confirm that yes in fact, very few tickets were made available to Pittsburgh season ticket holders, while many more were made available to Sabres, Maple Leafs, and Blue Jays(!) season ticket holders.
I for one, followed the rules, went to Ticketmaster at 10:09, and missed out entirely. Sure, maybe I should have been trying at 10:01, or 9:59:59, but jeez- I mean, that place fits 70,000. Even after they pull out a mess of seats for TV cameras, that's a lot of tickets in 9 minutes. And from what I can determine, there was a lot more at play here than just overzealous scalpers buying up blocks of tickets. Kevin over at Bflo blog is reporting that Sabres PR man Mike Gilbert told a sports radio station that the biggest block of tickets sold through Ticketmaster was 32, even though it was supposedly possible to buy as many as 50 at a time, another fact that is mindboggling. Who, besides scalpers buys 50 tickets for anything?
While I have heard that people far more connected and qualified than I am are looking into it, I still haven't gotten a decent answer as to why the NHL feels that season ticket holders for the Toronto Maple Leafs or Blue Jays don't have to wait in line like everybody else, or why so many fewer tickets were made available to Penguins season ticket holders.
I contacted the Blue Jays organization, they couldn't confirm anything about ticket promotions, but said someone over there would try to get back to me in the next few days. Apparently, it's crazy over there with the Red Sox in town. I really hope someone calls, but I'm not holding my breath.
And why those two teams?
If it was the Leafs and the Raptors, who are both owned by the same company, that'd still be corrupt, but at least I could understand the motive.
A reporter from Pittsburgh was told by the NHL that they opened the market to Toronto to "attract more fans." Except it's not like Ticketmaster is closed to Toronto, right? Maple Leaf Fans come down to HSBC arena in Buffalo all the time without any special tickets being withheld for them. In fact, the entire reason so many Toronto fans come to Buffalo for games in the first place is they can't get single game tickets to home games, because practically the entire building is bought up by the season ticket holders.
So if the stated excuse for this is to encourage the sports loving residents of a great hockey city who might have a difficult time getting NHL tickets in their home arena, well that might, sorta explain why they reached out to Blue Jays season ticket holders, but why do you also open it up to the Leaf season ticket holders, the one group who have no problem getting tickets in their home arena?
And why the Blue Jays instead of the Raptors or the Argonauts?
OK, just the Raptors.
And why does Pittsburgh get so screwed?
I'm pissed as it is, but if I were a Penguins season ticket holder, I'd be livid, especially considering the shoddy treatment they've received from their team's management and the NHL with all the rumors of the team moving. All Penguins fans have done is RABIDLY support their team through all this horseshit, and now they have to queue up behind Blue Jays fans?
And what is the NHL thinking? They are using Sidney Crosby to sell the league, then reward his biggest fans by giving them third class citizen status for the biggest game of his career?
Is this a concession for not moving another NHL franchise to the area?
All I'm saying is, If I can't get a ticket to this game, I'd really hope that a Pittsburgh fan, a Buffalo fan, or an NHL VIP is sitting in my seat. As for the Blue Jays, I hope the Red Sox fucking massacre you tonight.
Your fans have had more than their share of good luck for today.