This article is determined from personal experience and I encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments.
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.
My Ticket-Buying Plight
A friend of mine and I composed a list of 11 games we wanted to attend. This was the list:
|10/29/2016||Saturday||Tampa Bay Lightening|
|11/25/2016||Friday||Detroit Red Wings|
|12/9/2016||Friday||St. Louis Blues|
|2/12/2017||Sunday||San Jose Sharks|
|2/25/2017||Saturday||New York Rangers|
|3/21/2017||Tuesday||New York Rangers|
|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).
- It requires a minimum of $2,750 to be spent. I’m a math teacher with college payments to make.
- 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:
- Customer Satisfaction
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.
|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.