Between the New Jersey Devils announcing that they signed Jiri Tlusty and they're bringing in Tyler Kennedy and Lee Stempniak on professional try-out contracts, I had a lot to cover this evening. But I have one more Devils-related thing I wanted to share with you all and it's a little more personal. Today, I received a package from the New Jersey Devils. As it turned out, it was my season tickets for 2015-16.
Yes, I'm not just someone who writes a lot about the team that I love. I'm a season ticket holder. I pay money to see this team live. Despite knowing this is going to be a bad team and will be for a few years, I paid my invoice for an increased season ticket price (roughly $300 more). I will likely do so until I can't afford the price or the time to go live. Since I am a full season ticket holder, I want to share some of that experience with the rest of you. So I give you, a picture-by-picture breakdown of the 2015-16 New Jersey Devils Season Ticket Membership Box. The Devils are pushing this Membership thing and it's all over the box.
But first, check out this "awesome" packing job from the Devils. This is how I received it from UPS. This is the bottom of the box, which is unlabeled and one of the cardboard flaps wasn't even taped down. I can stick my thumb underneath it while holding a Galaxy S5 to take a picture of it. (Aside: I am not a good photographer, so the quality is going to be a little iffy.) The tape job was poor, and even the top wasn't fully connected like the bottom. I could see the red of the Membership box easily between the flaps. Good thing the weather has been good recently, otherwise my box could've been ruined in shipment. Fortunately, it wasn't. Very poor packaging either way.
Between the flaps, there's a Devils Membership Box in a plastic sheath. I opened that up to see the following:
The box has a photo of some Devils celebrating with the text "OUR JOURNEY BEGINS HERE." In smaller text at the bottom of the inside flap next to a Devils logo is "Relentless." I'm guessing one of those will be the tagline for this season, probably "Relentless." Inside the box is a 2015-16 Membership Guide. It's a rather short document, just this cover, a list of ticket representatives on the back, and this on the inside:
This details all of the benefits one has for being a member. It explains basic policies such as how Will Call works, the Buyback Program, the Account Manager, and so forth. There is a helpful monthly schedule chart on the right, a pre-printed letter from Ray Shero on the left, and a not-so-helpful arena section chart in the middle. It would be helpful if those sections were associated with actual prices. That's really the only purpose of the colored sections. It's not like it's used for identification purposes. I don't go around saying, "I sit in the front of the brownish-red section." It doesn't really impress people or give them an idea of where I'm at. If there is a pricing chart by section, then let me know.
Beneath the guide, we have the actual contents of the box. A foam insert with the actual season tickets and a sleeve with a lanyard underneath. You have to assemble that yourself, but that's not a big deal. It's nice for the fan who doesn't have one. I do see people use them. I, the continued season ticket holder, now have three of them. Maybe I'll be one of the users this season, maybe I won't. There's an empty spot in the middle. Presumably if I ordered two season tickets, then the second one would be there. I didn't, I won't, so it's just empty. Who cares, let's check out that booklet.
Like last season, it really is just a booklet. Seriously, it's just a tear-off pack of tickets. I like that the tickets are large. However, this does look and feel cheap. I'm also a season ticket holder for the New York Red Bulls and Rutgers football. The former just gives me a card - similar to the membership card, sent out earlier this summer - that has the tickets loaded onto it and allows me to put money on it to buy things at the arena. The latter gives me a nice, professional looking binder with the tickets torn away from a page in it. Both are purchasable for much less than what the Devils are charging me and both aren't owned by billionaires (well, Red Bull might be; definitely not at Rutgers). Yet, here I am holding 44 tickets in something akin to the coupon book kids sell for a school fundraiser.
Anyway, I will say I appreciate that the tickets are large this season. Here's what they look like:
Most of the tickets are in this format. A player is highlighted on it with a big picture, the game date, opponent, and time are all clearly read, and so is the seat location. (Yes, that's my seat, come say 'Hi.') I've cropped the bottom out, but it's where the ticket lists the price, tax, and fee for that game too. I think I'll sum that up in the near future just to see what the highest tier is being priced for, what the lowest tier is at, and in between.
There were a few special designs in there, some for promotional nights:
I suppose Opening Night is a promotional night. Here, we get off message. The box tells me "Relentless," but the ticket tells me "New Heart. Same Soul." I've seen the team represent themselves with a vending machine wearing shirts saying that. Not that it matters much, but a little consistency would be nice. Either way, both are a hundred times better than "We're All Devils Inside" and nowhere the genius of "Jersey's Team."
Hockey Fights Cancer got a special image with four women in the background with a purple hue and a big slogan. I think I get it, but I think it's better if it was tweaked and backwards. "Unity is Strength." Maybe it's just me.
Military Appreciation Night is a few games after Hockey Fights Cancer Night. I like the USA flag overlay with the "We Salute You" slogan. It's a good look for the event.
The last set of games (Games 35-40) have the graphic for the season ticket member tenure of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. It seems to me they're repeating that from last season. I liked it in theory, it's a good gesture. but I think most would have liked it if it was run better. For example, I don't know how long my tenure has been. Do I qualify? The prior season, tenured fans had the option of getting a custom jersey. That would normally be an awesome get - jersey's aren't cheap - but given the hassle so many went through in getting theirs and getting it right, it turned out to sour quite a few fans. I don't know what this year will hold for those celebrating those anniversaries, maybe that'll be clearer by March.
Lastly, Fan Appreciation Night:
Hmm, it's against Toronto. Interesting.
Anyway, the image is a red-hue of the rink - an empty rink, apparently - with a generic set of fans cheering in front of the shot. Presumably Brand-Approved cheering. None of that problematic, organic cheering from fans. The ticket claims a Home Ice Advantage. One wonders how true that will be after forty home games of this season's squad.
And that's that. I can understand and appreciate those that legitimately get happy when they get their tickets. After all, it means hockey is starting up soon. And who doesn't want to get excited for hockey? I was excited when I saw the abysmally packed cardboard box earlier this evening. That said, this isn't a really appealing package. Again, the tickets are in a cheap booklet. While the Membership Box itself is very nice, there's just not that much in it. It seems like a waste of packaging to put something so nice looking on the outside but not have much on the inside. So it leaves something to be desired. The Red Bulls have the same issue too; but they also usually pack something else in the box like a season ticket holder specific scarf.
Maybe something smaller would work, like a notebook-style that Rutgers does. Most of it would be the tickets, the first few pages would be the contact information, ticket information, stadium information, and so forth. It would also help save the team on packaging and shipping, too.
Anyway, if you're a season ticket holder, then you probably got this today. If not, then you'll probably get it soon as preseason begins next week. Hopefully, I'll have more to show off from this season as a season ticket holder member. I guess that's the new name for it now. Let me know what you think of the box if you got one. If you're not a season ticket holder, would you like to see more stuff like this to see what the experience is like? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading.