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Vulgar Opinions: Teams Don’t Have To Do Jack For Us, And You Shouldn’t Be Demanding It


This post is in response to the Queen City Sports opinion piece “Sabres Need To Do More For Their Fans” by Michael Straw.

I’m going to make this brief.

NHL franchises have been launching efforts to appease fan anger in the wake of the ugly lockout, although you’d think there’s less than 0 anger when you hear reports of 6,000+ in St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Winnipeg to watch pre-training camp practices. With each endeavor, teams are seemingly one-upping the last. On the charity side of things, the Kings have won the Stanley Cup of altruism by giving $1M to Los Angeles-area charities. On the reparation side of things, the Stars have made it free for 12-and-under patrons to attend games through the months of January and February with the purchase of a ticket. Other teams such as Pittsburgh and Ottawa are offering concession vouchers, while the Sabres and Canadiens are offering deep discounts on merchandise at their team stores. In Nashville and Ottawa, multi-pronged deals have been offered for opening night including BOGO deals and marked-down prices in the arena on things.

These gestures are nice, but wholly unnecessary. The lockout was a battle between the NHL and the NHLPA on the business side of things, yet fans seem to think that these teams ~owe~ them something. That stoppage had nothing to do with you, fans. It had to do with the livelihoods of hundreds of working men, especially regarding pensions in an era when we’re finding out professional sports are destroying our bodies at a more alarming rate and health care costs for athletes are skyrocketing after retirement. Sabres fans are demanding free snacks (which is impossible since the Sabres contract out concession services to Delaware North Co, and it is lockout villain Jeremy Jacobs’ company’s job to set prices), free tickets, free Center Ice (which is also impossible, since the cable providers have a big hand in the C.I. pie and they’re in no way going to cough up that revenue stream. It will, however, be offered for four payments of $14.99), and more. They’re saying a 50% off all merchandise sale for the week of training camp and the first game of the season isn’t enough. I’m sure there are other fanbases complaining but I’m a Buffalo guy and I write about the Sabres, so that fanbase is getting my attention.

Weren’t you people ever taught by your parents not to demand gifts, nor to complain about the gifts you were given? You all sound like a bunch of petulant, entitled children. Damn.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/14/13 8:20 AM

    I agree.

    I think I wrote recently somewhere along the lines of “The NHL is all fun and games between CBAs, but when it comes to the lockouts, we are reminded that it is also an grossly obese animal that requires an incredible diet of cash to stay happy. Not news, but it is what it is.”

    That’s an artsy fartsy way of acknowledging the business side of this sport. It’s going to exist, and on its own terms. It sucks, but it is also why we get to see the best in the world play in places like Buffalo, NY.

    As for Buffalo:

    The rabid Buffalo market is far too demanding to pressure the Sabres into producing freebies. That being said, we have learned that Ted Black and Terry Pegula are very clever and forward thinking regarding the fan base, so it would not at all be a huge surprise to see a fun and free event or idea floated out to the public soon. We’ll see. In the meantime, we have hockey games. Which is good enough.

    Oh, and as for Pegula – as I wrote in that same piece – he’s earned a pass even in the lockout. He’s done great things for the team, for the fans, and is helping to build the city.

    Link to that post, ICYMI:

  2. 01/14/13 11:50 AM

    To be clear, I wasn’t writing it as a “fan”, I wrote it because I saw what other teams were doing post lockout, and I felt that the Sabres could do more than what they are. I’ve had responses from both sides of the spectrum — some people agree with me while others, like yourself, disagree, and that’s perfectly fine.

    I’m not going to get angry at this or the responses like some people expect me to, it’s your feelings on it and that’s your right. I have my feelings on it, and they wont change.

    While some of what I said might be a bit outlandish, I by know means take back anything I said. Again, I look at it from this point: If other teams are doing more, including Ottawa and Pittsburgh, then why can’t Buffalo? That’s what I’m getting at although some people fail to see it.

  3. 01/14/13 11:56 AM

    I agree. Unless their business is tied to NHL hockey somehow, fans haven’t lost anything besides the opportunity to watch almost half a season’s worth of games. It was frustrating to see the two sides struggle (or at times, it seemed, NOT struggle) to get a deal done, but I don’t think fans are owed anything to make up for that frustration. Fans can decide to get over it or not, but the only thing the Sabres, both ownership and the players, owe us is a talented team that works hard and wins some games.

  4. 01/14/13 12:39 PM

    It’s a business, plain and simple. Ottawa and Pittsburgh offered more to fans because they felt it would make them more money, and don’t kid yourselves for a minute that that was anything else. Whether they offer 90% off merch, 75% off tickets, or give away free ATV’s they only do it because it makes business sense.

    Ottawa and Pittsburgh “treated their fans better” because it made more business sense for them. The Sabres had months of planning, and had entire rooms full of PR experts and financial analysts working to decide what move to make in their market and what attitude their fans would have toward it.

    Rewarding loyalty? Sure. The same way a dog owner rewards his dog with treats. And if you don’t do that, the pooch is going to frequent the neighbor’s house for the leftover scraps they give him.


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