I am not just someone who writes way too many words about the New Jersey Devils. I am not just someone who spends countless hours thinking, talking, and reading about the Devils. I am also a full season ticket holder for the New Jersey Devils. I started with a half-season plan when the Devils moved to the Rock in 2007. I became a full season owner after that season. As with previous seasons, I decided to throw plenty of cash at the organization to do it again for 2018-19. With preseason starting next Monday (!!), this is about the time where season ticket holders get this year’s box. And so I want to show you what this season’s box looks like.
It is bigger than last season’s box. It is still red. It still has the best logo in sports on it. However, there is one little piece of flair on the top cover that you can see if you angle it under the right light or just hold it up to yourself:
Clearly, this is not just any Devils box. This is the New Jersey Devils 2018-2019 Season box. Accept no substitutes. Or do accept them. Whichever.
When you open it up, you will see another glossy piece of text in the same color as the background:
The 2017-18 New Jersey Devils went 23-14-4 at home last season with 120 goals scored and 113 allowed. It appears through this piece of marketing that they are aiming to make the Rock a harder place for opponents. There is room for improvement, so I can respect this.
The picture on the second flap inside the box has a Devil reaching out to the hands of the People Who Matter, also known as the the fans of the Devils. I could not tell you which Devil it is. I can tell you it is an older photo based on the scoreboard. That’s not the once-World’s Largest Indoor Scoreboard. You can make out the ring between the add and the screen itself in the out-of-focus background. As the Rock is entering its eleventh season, this could be a lot of Devils.
Below the second flap are the “goods.” As with last season, there is a letter from management on the opposite side.
It thanks the fans and talks about “brotherhood” and “bringing respect back to the logo” and how they aren’t done and how every game matters and this is part marketing, part promo, and part actual message. I am a hockey blogger so this does not fully move me. Your mileage may vary.
The items beneath the flap are the same as last season. the Devils have been going more and more digital with their tickets. If you have a Ticketmaster app, then that’s likely where they are now. So there is no actual ticket presented in this box. No credit-card or pass like the New York Red Bulls have for their season tickets; a continued missed opportunity by the Devils and many other sports organizations. So, you, the season ticket holder, get what you got last season: a Devils pin, a lanyard, an oversized novelty ticket that is not a ticket and will not grant you entry into the arena (but has a QR code on the back, so in theory it could be used for something but for what, who knows), and a packet.
The pin is, well, a pin. The oversized ticket is just a nicely laminated piece of commemoration. It has your seat number on it, which I guess helps show off where you are. I remain in Section 1, Row 16, Seat 5 - for now, at least. Changes may be coming. It features the Devils celebrating as a team. Given the back of goalie’s leg, I’m going to assume it is after a win at the Rock. It’s a nice photo. The only players I can make out on it are Kyle Palmieri’s back, the back of the unsigned-as-of-this-writing Miles Wood, probably Cory Schneider (that’s a 3 by that goalie’s arm), and the cut-off left side of Brian Boyle.
The membership packet is only a small fold out with just the highlights of being a Devils Member. Discounts! Events! Securing your seat for the playoffs (Playoffs not guaranteed)! A buy back program that won’t undercut the Stubhubs, TicketIQs, and SeatGeeks of the world! There’s also an ad promoting the NHL app. Credit the Devils for not claiming it is their app when it is the not-very-good NHL app instead.
By the way, if you didn’t know that this is all presented by InvestorsBank, then now you do.
Now, there is one new thing about the box and maybe it is because I did something. I do not recall if I actually chose this option. However, despite the Devils pushing on digital tickets, you can request printed tickets. There is value to having a physical ticket. You don’t have to worry about being denied entry because you lost your smartphone, the battery died, the screen does not work, or some other technical issue. You would not even need your phone - what a concept in this day and age. You do not have to worry about having to pull out your phone in the rain, in the cold, or in other some mass of people trying to get in to see the greatest hockey team in the tri-state area. If you want to give someone your ticket: you can simply hand it to them as opposed to just sending it electronically. Most of all, for the amount of money a season ticket can cost, one would like something physically tangible for it.
Whether I requested this months back or not, I do have printed tickets for this coming season. I was surprised by them. When I picked up the box a few pictures back, I heard something was in the box. I removed the foam cutout containing the pin, lanyard, membership foldout, and novelty ticket - and there they were.
These are nice physical tickets. They’re large, the quality of paper is solid, and they are in bold colors. The Devils could have provided the standard Prudential Center style white, grey, and black ticket and called it a day. Nope, they put some effort into these and it shows.
The ticket layout actually matches the novelty ticket with how the seat number is on the side; the only difference being that it also includes your membership account number. The usual ticket-only features are there. Legal disclaimers all over the back? Check. Logos and dates on the front? Check. Prices of the ticket with a breakdown for taxes? Check - in tiny print. I can confirm that the Devils are still pricing their games by different tiers for the 2018-19 season. I cannot confirm the different prices across sections. Maybe I will at least list what prices I have on my tickets in the near future, assuming there is any interest.
There are four different ticket photos. They are revealing in terms of who the Devils may be looking to promote in this coming season.
The first one is a shot of the team celebrating. Again, you can see goalie pads, so it is likely after a home win. You can see a part of Andy Greene’s right, Travis Zajac’s back, Blake Coleman (the helmet is cut off in this photo; it has a ‘40’ on it and we know it cannot be Michael Grabner because he did not play with the man on the right) and Marcus Johansson. There were only a handful of home games where both Zajac and Johansson were actively playing. But there is not much value in terms of guessing what that game may be.
The second photo is a top-down photo of Nico Hischer. The 2017 first overall selection had a big rookie season. Arguably a better rookie season than Taylor Hall’s rookie season. The people loved Nico the moment he was picked and he has done more than enough to warrant the attention. The Devils should absolutely promote him as much as they can.
The third photo is a picture of 2017 NHL MVP, the Superstar Taylor Hall. He is celebrating, presumably after scoring a goal. He absolutely should be featured on something like this. He’s the reigning MVP of the league. He was the man who put the team on his back in 2017-18. He had one of the greatest seasons ever by a Devils forward and won a trophy no Devil has ever won. If the Devils do not push hard on promoting him, then they will never have a clue on how to promote anyone great.
The fourth photo is a top-down photo of Will Butcher. The rookie defenseman received plenty of attention from Shero’s signing of the player last August to being involved in several big moments with the team in 2017-18. While only a third-pairing defender last season, he can move on up on the depth chart in 2018-19. The organization has decided to move him up in terms of who to promote. And it is a bit refreshing and a little surprising that it is young player like Butcher instead of a long-tenured Devil like Greene or Zajac, leukemia-fighter and defending Masterson trophy winner Boyle, a local player like Palmieri, or a pretty face like Miles Wood (though, that was a good move seeing that he is still unsigned).
The rest of the tickets cycle through those four photos. Team, Hischier, Hall, Butcher, repeat for 40 games.
If I did not order for physical tickets (or maybe the Devils are giving physical tickets out? I seriously do not remember if I did or not), then this box would have been a disappointment. I can understand the marketing aspect; and it can remind people that hockey really is right around the corner. However, there is just not a lot of things in the box. The goods are the same as last season other than the physical tickets - which may or may not be on a request-only basis.
I understand the general push for digital tickets, but if the Devils really want to up their STH Box game, then they need to walk through the Ironbound, cross the Jackson St. Bridge, and visit Red Bull Arena and talk with their people. Yes, their boxes are filled with similar marketing/promotional material about the upcoming season. But their season ticket is in the actual box, even if it is only like a credit card. They provide a full guide; not just a little cheap foldout. Most of all, they provide merchandise. That has been just as big of an incentive for me to re-up with the Red Bulls on top of the cheap prices (just $400!) and my seat location (133, Row 1, Seat 1). I’m not only getting a new card for my money in 2019. I’m also going to get a new team scarf and information about how to pick up actual team apparel for free. Some times it is a hoodie, some times it is a jacket, this coming year it will be sneakers. Yes, it can a bit pricey, but it is something of actual tangible value that makes being a STH worthwhile. At the end of the day, it is all about whether the players on the rink/field are worth the time and money to do watch them. But providing some real value really sweetens the deal.
If the Devils want to start down this path, then they can start relatively small: like a real hat. Or even a scarf. Unlike MLS, which plays through the summer, Newark winters do get cold and a Devils scarf can be of real use.
Anyway, that was the 2018-19 New Jersey Devils Box for Season Ticket Holders. If you are a STH, then you probably received yours today. If not, then probably real soon since the first preseason game is on Monday. Did you get your box? If so, are you satisfied? If you are not a season ticket holder, then does this box make you want to become one to have a box next season? Please leave your answers and thoughts about the STH Box in the comments. Thank you for reading.