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Commentary on the Devils Removal of the Pick ‘em Plan

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The Devils have removed the option to select a small, personalized set of games from their ticket plans. In this article I comment on that news.

New Jersey Devils Announce New Ownership Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images

This article is determined from personal experience and I encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments.

The News

The Devils have removed the option for a “Pick ‘em” plan from their ticket offerings. This plan was perfect for the Diehard Devil on a budget. It allowed you the services provided for partial season ticket holders, it allowed first shot at tickets, and it was highly customizable.

In place of it, the Devils now offer 6-game and 12-game plans in addition to a pricier Flex Membership.

My Ticket-Buying Plight

A friend of mine and I composed a list of 11 games we wanted to attend. This was the list:

Date Day Opponent
10/18/2016 Tuesday Anaheim Ducks
10/29/2016 Saturday Tampa Bay Lightening
11/25/2016 Friday Detroit Red Wings
12/9/2016 Friday St. Louis Blues
12/27/2016 Tuesday Pittsburgh Penguins
1/7/2017 Saturday Edmonton Oilers
2/12/2017 Sunday San Jose Sharks
2/25/2017 Saturday New York Rangers
3/21/2017 Tuesday New York Rangers
4/4/2017 Tuesday Philadelphia Flyers
4/8/2017 Saturday New York Islanders

This to me was a very typical set of 11 games to be expected to desire. Already flummoxed by the removal of the Pick ‘em Plan, we perused the available partial plans to see if any would suffice. Of the 12-game plans (Elite, Weekday and Weekend) none offered more than 5 games on our list. Of the 6-game plans, none offered more than 3 games that were on our list. In the interest of full disclosure, there is a “Flex Membership” that is highly-customizable the same way the Pick ‘Em Plan had been. It allows you to put money in your Devils bank that can be used on any games and on memorabilia. Here are the two massive catches (plural).

  1. It requires a minimum of $2,750 to be spent. I’m a math teacher with college payments to make.
  2. The money does not rollover year to year.

This combination of colossal caveats dissuaded us from persuing that further. And now we are in a state of limbo waiting for them to clarify a “add-on” policy to the partial plans (purchase a 6-game plan and a couple other individual ones at the same discount). In the end, we will have to risk not getting some games we want, and we will have to purchase tickets to games we cannot make and/or do not want. This perturbed me so I asked “why the change?”

When pressed for an explanation, a Devils representative said:

The reason we decided to go with static plans is because we found that most fans would prefer to have the same seat over the 6 games and this is the best way to ensure that. Also, we picked the most popular games on the schedule for the 6 game plans to ensure that you would have the best availability to get those highly sought after games.

My Attempt at an Objective Assessment of the News

The three goals for ticket sales techniques, in my opinion, should be:

  1. Profit
  2. Customer Satisfaction
  3. Attendance

In order to assess this plans ability to address those three tenets, I decided to create a table of all of the games that are offered in the plans. The table is seen below.

Day Opponent Time Date Plan(s)
Tuesday Anaheim Ducks 7:00 PM 10/18/2016 CONT6 & WD12
Saturday Minnesota Wild 7:00 PM 10/22/2016 THEM6 & WE12
Tuesday Arizona Coyotes 7:00 PM 10/25/2016 WD12
Friday Chicago Blackhawks 7:30 PM 10/28/2016 ORIG6 & EP12
Saturday Tampa Bay Lightning 7:00 PM 10/29/2016 CONF6 & WE12
Tuesday Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM 11/8/2016 WD12
Saturday Buffalo Sabres 7:00 PM 11/12/2016 CONF6 & WE12
Wednesday Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM 11/23/2016 ORIG6 & WD12
Friday Detroit Red Wings 7:30 PM 11/25/2016 ORIG6 & EP12
Tuesday Vancouver Canucks 7:00 PM 12/6/2016 WD12
Friday St. Louis Blues 7:30 PM 12/9/2016 THEM6 & WE12
Tuesday Nashville Predators 7:00 PM 12/20/2016 CONT6
Thursday Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM 12/22/2016 WE12
Tuesday Pittsburgh Penguins 7:00 PM 12/27/2016 CONF6 & EP12
Saturday Washington Capitals 1:00 PM 12/31/2016 EP12
Monday Boston Bruins 7:00 PM 1/2/2017 ORIG6 & WD12
Friday Toronto Maple Leafs 7:30 PM 1/6/2017 THEM6
Saturday Edmonton Oilers 7:00 PM 1/7/2017 WE12
Monday Florida Panthers 7:00 PM 1/9/2017 WD12
Friday Montreal Canadiens 7:30 PM 1/20/2017 ORIG6 & EP12
Tuesday Los Angeles Kings 7:00 PM 1/24/2017 CONT6 & WD12
Thursday Washington Capitals 7:00 PM 1/26/2017 CONF6 & EP12
Friday Calgary Flames 7:30 PM 2/3/2017 WE12
Sunday San Jose Sharks 12:30 PM 2/12/2017 THEM6 & EP12
Tuesday Colorado Avalanche 7:00 PM 2/14/2017 WD12
Thursday Ottawa Senators 7:00 PM 2/16/2017 WE12
Saturday New York Islanders 7:00 PM 2/18/2017 CONF6 & EP12
Saturday New York Rangers 5:00 PM 2/25/2017 EP12 & CONT6
Monday Montreal Canadiens 7:00 PM 2/27/2017 WD12
Sunday Columbus Blue Jackets 5:00 PM 3/5/2017 WE12
Tuesday Winnipeg Jets 7:00 PM 3/14/2017 WD12
Thursday Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM 3/16/2017 THEM6 & EP12
Sunday Columbus Blue Jackets 1:00 PM 3/19/2017 WE12
Tuesday New York Rangers 7:00 PM 3/21/2017 ORIG6 & EP12
Saturday Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM 3/25/2017 CONF6
Sunday Dallas Stars 5:00 PM 3/26/2017 CONT6 & WE12
Tuesday Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM 4/4/2017 CONT6 & WD12
Thursday Pittsburgh Penguins 7:00 PM 4/6/2017 THEM6 & EP12
Saturday New York Islanders 6:00 PM 4/8/2017 WE12

There are 41 home games and 39 of them are offered by one of the partial plans and none are offered by more than two plans. The only two games not covered are a Monday night game against Buffalo and a Tuesday night game against the Senators — both in February.

It should be clear to any objective observer that the purpose of this plan is to do exactly what I am complaining about — get people to purchase tickets to games that they do not want and/or cannot attend. This almost certainly helps profit, definitely hurts customer satisfaction, and will likely effect attendance — though I’m not sure how. Some people may be dissuaded altogether from purchasing a plan. Some people might just swallow the games they don’t plan on attending due to the discount on the other games. Many will go to the games they didn’t want though and that number is likely higher to the previous two.

Concluding Thoughts and Your Thoughts

The move might prove to be a savvy business move from Harris and Blizter who turned the largest profit the Devils have seen in Forbes history in 2015. This blog has a series of article on Devils Business, which are worth exploring if you want more information on that. But to summarize, this is the latest in a string of actions that have added exclusivity, priced out lower-income fans, and put concessions markups through the roof. Furthermore, this is all occurring in the franchise’s longest string of ineptitude in a quarter century. Ownership continues to make the Devils more profitable, and less likable than ever.

What are your thoughts on this change? Does it help or hurt the team? Do you think it could increase attendance? Does it change what you’re going to do this year at all? Leave your thoughts below and thanks for reading.