Image Credit: nymag.com
As stated, I’m a diehard Ranger fan. I went to 40+ games last season, including the playoffs. I travel to outside venues to see them play, and this year, I’m finally leaving the country to see them play in Montreal. Fortunately, I’m able to budget my money to have a hockey budget, and I have to do that because the tickets are too fucking expensive.
To the shock of no one, James Dolan is one of the worst owners in sports. He’s inept. He’s an asshole. He’s greedy. He’s incompetent. You can say the same thing about commissioner Bettman as well. Regular season tickets in the 200 section, which retailed for $53 last year, have jumped up to $68 in some sections. The success of the Rangers last season led to Dolan to jack up prices in every section. The seats were expensive already, due to the major renovation at MSG, and now only the extremely fortunate can afford to attend games.
I love the Rangers and obviously will let them beat my wallet up like I’m the son of Adrian Peterson. They already have me. But what about the next generation of fans? Allowance money won’t even let you afford popcorn at MSG. A birthday check from grandma might be able to afford an officially licensed NHL hat.
A disgusting trend has emerged at MSG. People in suits. Sure the games may be sold out, but I’ve attended the most quiet games in playoff history since the renovation. Last spring was great and times I’ll never forget, but if you pop in a DVD of the 1994 playoffs, it doesn’t even compare. Going to MSG is about doing business for a lot of people and the game is completely secondary. Since suits and their corporations can afford anything, MSG obliges them and raises the prices. The loser – the real fan.
How can a family of four attend a game at MSG? Tickets are now starting at $100+ for a regular season game in obstructed view seats. So even if a father wants to break the bank and take his family to the game, he can’t even sit close or sit center ice. You’re stuck looking at the floor of the bridges section. While a father sweats, hustles and breaks his ass to sit in shit seats, and tries to share the game with his family, some cocksucker in a stuffy suit is eating sushi and talking stocks during the entire game. It’s not fair, but it’s what it is.
My grandfather and father had Ranger season tickets for years. Kids happen and then you can’t go. Now as a guy with no kids, I’ve been on the Rangers waiting list for two years. However, there aren’t many tickets available for new subscribers. The only tickets available are tickets in the obstructed seats for a convenient $85 a game. The other tickets available are the sweet seats in the bridges, at $160 a pop. I’ve had to talk myself out of robbing a bank to afford these. I hate you James Dolan.
For the stereotypical family of four, Ranger games are not going to happen often. It is too fucking expensive and when you go, you can’t even sit well. As time goes on, MSG will be mostly suits and their young kids in yamakas eating cotton candy and not paying attention to the game. Rangers may make the Stanley Cup again, and there will be pockets of fans screaming their lungs out, while everyone else in the arena is asking them to keep it down so they can take a phone call from the Tokyo office. I fear I will even eventually be priced out. And it’s a shame – nothing beats professional hockey live.
But what about the other team in NY? The NY Islanders? The Islanders, despite an inferior product on ice, is the best ticket for a pure hockey fan in NY. Remember those season tickets I had as a kid? We got them for $7 a game. Kids can use their tooth fairy money to go to games.
I feel bad for lame-duck owner Charles Wang. He had many plans of grandeur to save the franchise and make it a destination vacation. Plans of a light tower, new hotel, shopping mall, coupled in with the Islanders was supposed to be the shot in the arm for Long Island hockey. However, red tape and politics squashed Wang at every corner. And it’s a damn shame, Wang really tried.
For me, I love going to Islander games. Obviously, Ranger vs Islander games is my reason for attendance. It’s a 10 minute ride for me and there aren’t many bad seats in the house. Sure the place is a dump, but I grew up with that dump and the proximity to my home makes it all more the better. Even this season, I found myself sitting right on the glass, center ice, for only $40. You can’t beat it. However, the end is near.
The Islanders will be moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning next season. No longer will the games be a $20 cab ride (I like to drink and do not promote drinking & driving) or a simple ride for the regular folk. Now, everyone is looking at an expensive LIRR ticket. The ISLANDERS will be playing in the heart and soul of hipster nation. The price of a ticket for a recent preseason game at Barclays doubled the price of the other preseason games at the Coliseum. And let’s not forget, as a recent photo published by several Islander fans showed, there are many obstructed view seats.
The Islanders, always the little brother in the NY Hockey market are following big brother’s steps. A new renovated building. Suites. Bad sight lines. Sushi. It’s only a matter of time, before those poor red headed stepchildren of the NHL, the hardcore NY Islander fan, are priced out of what they love too.
For me, the best value for the NY hockey fan is a train ride away from Penn Station. The Rock, where the NJ Devils play, in lovely scenic downtown Newark, (How you put a hockey rink in a predominately black area, with the 3rd largest crime rate in the state is beyond me, but that’s a topic for another day), is a beautiful venue for hockey. Even better for me, the Rock has the most bathrooms and CLEAN bathrooms than any other NHL arena in the area. If you like your beer, you can take a piss at the whistle and be back before the puck drops for the next play. At MSG, taking a piss is a 20 minute excursion. (Veteran move: piss in your empty beer cup in the staircase. Extra points if you smoke a cigarette while this is going on.)
Unlike the cramped and stuffy MSG and the asbestos laden charm of the Nassau Coliseum, The Rock is always clean, spacious and there are no bad seats. I love attending Ranger/Devil games. It’s a bigger rivalry for the Rangers, as the Islanders have been irrelevant for years. The passion from the fans is huge. Ticket prices are cheap. If I wasn’t such a Rangers diehard from birth, I would consider Devil season tickets. The NJ Devils have a great venue, great people running the team, a great history and despite last year, always a playoff bound team. It is an affordable and a great night of entertainment for the family.
I love hockey, but does the common family man in NY have the time, energy, dedication and resources to go to NJ for hockey games? If he does, it is the best value in the area.
The younger generation may be priced out of hockey in NY. There is much more things to do for the younger generation than generations past, with video games, streaming TV services, cell phones, iPads, Tinder, etc. To get their interest is hard enough. The NHL does a horrible job advertising their product in NY. When is the last time you’ve heard an NHL commercial on WFAN? An ad in the NY Post? A 30 second spot during a Giants or Jets game?
Pricing these games aggressively in NY may lead to short-term profits and a sea of reserved suit and ties, but will there be suit and ties who care about hockey 20-30 years from now in MSG? Time will tell.
Before signing off, I wanted to make note of the most recent controversy in the NFL. At least this controversy isn’t rape, murder, slaughtering or child abuse. This is about an on-the-field incident.
This past Monday night, Husian Abdullah, of the KC Chiefs ran back an interception for a touchdown. A devout terrorist, I mean Muslim, Abdullah prayed after the play. He was fined for “celebrating”, but the NFL has reversed the fine and admitted they were wrong. WHY?
The NFL is saying that praying after TDs is ok. That is discriminatory against my people, the atheists. The NFL is saying you can pray to your selfish god, your messiah, your Allah or whatever. Clasping hands in prayer is A-OK, but spiking the ball is not. It’s ok to show worship to a religion that promotes murder to infidels, treats women like shit (well I guess that makes sense for the NFL) and promotes genocide, but spiking the ball – hell fucking no. I don’t even know why I watch the NFL anymore, the hypocrisy is ludicrous.
The NFL, after all their scandals, wants to promote equality. Either everyone can celebrate in a way of their choosing or no one can. However, I think we can all agree that anyone who celebrates a sack when your team is down 17 needs a kick to the balls.
Thanks for reading,
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter