Back in March, I compared the 2009-10 season ticket prices with the previous season's and found that the Devils largely cut their ticket prices. Yesterday, I analyzed the 7 mini-packages the Devils offered to see which ones would save you money and which ones won't. What's left are the Devils' partial plans. This season they are offering 5 partial plans: an Atlantic Division plan, a Weekend plan, a Weeknight plan, a Half season plan, and a Flex plan.
The partial plan is basically the "middle" option between season tickets and individual/mini-pack tickets. You plan and can afford to go to a lot of games at the Rock, but perhaps you may not be able to (or want to) endure the cost in terms of money and time for a full season package. That's perfectly fine, the Devils have had these options set up for those customers. I even had a half season plan two seasons ago, just to see whether I personally can afford the cost of tickets. Now, the partial plans don't provide any souvenirs or concession vouchers like (some) mini-packages. However, they do have consistent benefits. All the partial plans the Devils offer do provide common benefits:
- Priority status in purchasing playoff tickets. In other words, you can buy them earlier than the public.
- The right to use the Devils Ticket Exchange for reselling or forwarding tickets.
- Discounted tickets for each game on the plan.
The most important one to take a look at is the discount. Yes, these plans do offer games on their plans at a lower cost than individual tickets from the box office. But how much of a discount is it? How does it change from section to section? Are they more expensive than the season ticket per game price, and if so, by how much? The Devils helpfully provide the per game price for each plan right up front on their page for each plan. I've compared them to the box office price as well as the full season ticket price for that section to answer these questions. You will save money, but let's see how significant the discount is.
Before diving into the prices, here's all the home games offered on each partial plan, except for the Flex plan. The Half Season partial plan has two options: one 21 game "Hat Trick" plan and one 20 game "Power Play" plan. For the "Power Play" plan, you can pay for an additional ticket for the season opener on October 3 at the plan price.
You get a lot more variation in games across the plan, which is to be expected given that more games are offered. In conjunction with the mini-packages, I'm pretty sure every home game the Devils have in the regular season is covered by a mini-package or a partial plan. I may have to check to make sure, but I'd be surprised if there's some home game that was not covered by either.
9/8/2009 Update: As mentioned in the previous post on the mini-packs, commenter NWKDevilsFan raises an important point that I didn't initially consider:
First time commenter here, I am also a season ticket holder. In your analysis you didn’t factor in the per-ticket “convenience/service” charges that get added to EACH ticket bought at ticketmaster. With the mini-packages you only pay a $10 handling fee for you entire order as opposed to $5-8 per ticket when buying through ticketmaster. So even if the ticket price is the same for some of the packages, avoiding these fees is a BIG savings.
This is an important aspect to keep in mind that I didn't consider here. I honestly don't know what the actual fees would cost, so I just focused on the advertised prices in this comparison. Purchasing your tickets online through Ticketmaster or getting them some other way could result in paying extra fees which raise the actual price you will pay - something you can save on by getting a package deal. For example, 8 games may run you $40-64 in fees, which can be cut to only $10 as a package. That's a very real savings of $30-54. That said, what follows focuses only on the ticket prices themselves. Hopefully, you will still find it useful. Caveat emptor.
Let's start with the largest package - the Half Season partial plan. Again, two options are offered and it really depends on who you want to see as far as which one you may want. Both options feature 11 games on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; so it's not as if one favors weekend games over another. And if you wanted weekend games only, there's an separate partial plan.
Nevertheless, the prices are the same regardless of either option you take. The Devils page promoting this plan boasts that the Half Season partial plan offers the largest discount per game among all their partial plans. Well, it certainly boasts the largest number of games. Here's how much of a discount you'd get on this package:
The Devils are indeed correct. Unlike the mini-packs, which offer at most 3 sections for their seats, the partial plans offer at least 4 sections per plan. This one clearly offers it for 5, covering the entire arena except for the club seats, the lounges, that first row in the middle 100s on the sides of the arena, and cheap corners. The biggest savings come from the most expensive sections, and they are significant savings at $20+ per game! You can use that money on a few concessions or train tickets/parking, and still end up spending less than if you did at the box office. That's pretty sweet, in my view. The savings per game on the Light Blue seats aren't too shabby at $13/game either.
The only downside that I can see is that the pricing doesn't encourage this plan for the Green sections. You save only $4 per game and you're paying only $2 per game more than a fulls season ticket price. For the other four sections, you enjoy some serious savings. But for the Green section, it's not so significant.
Overall, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise. You have to pay for 20 or 21 games and to entice you do that, it offers a bigger discount than the other plans. Fortunately, it's generally a big discount. Yet, these reduced prices aren't much higher than the full season ticket plan costs. I wonder if one would just want to go all the way on a full season plan and pay only $42 (Green) to $168 (Yellow) more dollars, and just sell off/give away the tickets you don't want? Not that I'd want the Devils to raise the prices on this plan. I think this is a good plan because of the big savings per game (except for the Green section). I'm just raising a possibility that the customer should consider before exclaiming something like "Save $24 per game and sit in the lower bowl by John? I'M IN!!!!!111" and dropping a ton of money.
By the same token, a customer should also consider the Weekend or Weeknight plans. The Weekend plan offers 18 games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Weeknight game offers 16 games, all during the work week - and 11 of them are on Wednesday. Yet, despite the different number of games offered, both plans have the same prices per game.
And they offer pretty significant discounts per game as well! You do save a little less per game ($1 to $4 less per game) than you would with the Half Season plan, but the Devils really help out those who only want to or able to games on certain days of the week. They also offer more sections, giving the option to those who want to sit in that small Lavender section and save $8 per game. Why do the Weekend and Weeknight Plans offer the Lavender section and none of the other partial plans do not? I don't know.
If you will allow me to go off on a tangent here, but after simplifying all the sections for 2009-10, why do the Devils even have a Lavender section? As far as I know, it's the first row of the Yellow sections, which is center ice for the upper level. I haven't sat there, but I do know those 100 sections have great views from the corners. Are those seats really that amazing to justify it's own section? Do any of you know?
Tangent aside, this is a fairly comparable package to the Half Season partial plan while having a the appeal for fans who really can't make it to the Rock during the week or on weekends. Therefore, I think this is a pretty solid deal overall. Except for those who want to sit in the Green section; again, you would not save much money per game. Yes, a couple more hundred dollars can net you a full season plan ($250 at most); but if you're thinking about this deal, you probably aren't thinking of a full season anyway. Just games during a certain set of days.
Interestingly, both the Weekend and Weeknight partial plans offer the most sections. The Atlantic Division partial plan for some reason, only offers 4 sections available for tickets.
I'm left asking a similar question about the Lavender section being on the Weekend and Weeknight plans. The other partial plans - even the Flex plan - offers the Devils Red sections for the lower half of the lower bowl ends and the sections next to the club seats. Why doesn't the Atlantic Division plan even provide that option? Again, I really don't know.
You'll also notice that you don't save nearly as much money per game as the other three partial plans discussed so far. Yes, you do pay for less games, but the drop off for, say, the Orange section seats in terms of savings drop from $20-$24 per game on the other three plans to just $7 per game. And that's the largest discount possible across all four sections!
That said, I do have a theory as to why the Devils are charging so much per game on this plan. All the games on this plan are against divisional opponents. That is, our hated rivals in the Rangers and the Flyers, the star studded Pittsburgh Penguins, and a Islanders team that sometimes is a real pain in the butt for New Jersey. The games against the Rangers, Flyers, and Penguins alone are excellent draws due to local rivalries and Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin. The games are generally more intense, more energetic, and the fans want to see the Devils achieve the glory of victory in the face of their rivals. I think that's why there is an Atlantic Division partial plan at all. It's perfect for those who just want to be there for the local rivalry games.
At the same time, I can see why the Devils don't want to offer too much of a discount for games on this plan as they may not necessarily need an incentive to draw more people to these games. The Rock may be sold out regardless of plans being offered.
That said, if you're going to offer a plan to guarantee seats for these rivalry games, and other plans that have more games on them offer biggest discounts, then I would have liked to have seen the Devils provide a little bigger discount. This way more people would have a reason to However, it's not the lowest of all the partial plans - just the lowest of all the established partial plans.
The real appeal of the Flex partial plan is really the ability to select what games you want to see. There is a minimum of 8 games that you have to purchase on the plan. So if there's some combination of Devils opponents that you want to see, then this is your only option short of buying individual tickets. For example, maybe you only want to see the home games against Pittsburgh, the Rangers, and Philadelphia (9 games total), or opponents have a primary color of blue in their color schemes.
That said, you really don't save much money per game on the Flex partial plan. OK, you can save at least $80 than you would in the Devils Red sections; but you're still paying over $100 per game. For the other sections, the savings per game is as low as the Original Six and Oktoberfest mini-packs. That is to say, it isn't very much! The Green section savings is so low, $1 per game, that I wonder if it is even worth it at all!
And yet again, I'm confused at the seating options. So for the Atlantic Division partial plan, the Devils Red section isn't available, but it is for the Flex division? At the expense of the Yellow section, which was available in all other partial plans? I just don't get it.
Still, because you save very little per game, the Flex partial plan only makes sense if you have your heart set on guaranteeing a certain set of at least 8 games that you want to see and want to have priority status for playoff tickets. Outside of that, I don't see much benefit to selecting this partial plan.
I would only recommend the Atlantic Division pack only if you're really interested in those 12 games and want to save a little money per game. I don't see point in Flex plans unless you want to set your own games and save literally a few bucks per seat. I think these two plans has room for improvement and if the discounts were larger for both, then there would be more reason for customers to at least ask about them and perhaps buy them.
Yet, three of the five partial plans that the Devils offer do provide big savings for most of the sections involved. The Green section seats see the least amount of a discount and perhaps that is to be expected since it's the cheapest seats you can get ahead of game day. Still, if you're looking to sit in the other sections, then the Half Season, Weekend, and Weeknight partial plans offer the solid, if not the best, savings per game. For the more expensive sections, you can save over $20 per game, select a plan that best suits your situation, and you really can't beat that short of getting a full season plan. Based on the strength of those three partial plans, I think the Devils did a better job with these instead of the mini-packs. I also think those three partial plans are definitely worth considering.
This is, of course, just my opinion boosted with some arithmetic. Now I'd like to know what you think. Were you considering a partial plan for Devils games before? Are you considering them now? Do you think one plan is better than the other for reasons other than cost? Do you have a more positive opinions of the Atlantic Division or Flex plans than I do? Let me know, and as always, thanks for reading.