From Detroit’s E-Box;
I was at the second night of pick your seat night, we are priority 283 I think. Â We got a lot better seats that I thought we might get. Â Here are my thoughts on all of it:
I can’t comment on this person’s experience, however, I’ll throw in my experience and thoughts. Â I’ve been a Stampede season ticket holder since 2005 (with the exception of a few years off when our daughter was born in 2008).
For the last several years we had ‘Club’ seats at the arena. Â We were directly behind the players bench, in the ‘club’ section, with in seat wait service, reserved parking (our own lot but not a reserved space), and other perks. Â Very nice. Â Cost was $23 dollars a game last season (for season ticket holders) ($26 was the walk up price). Â The equivalent seat in terms of perks would have been the true club seats at the Event Center. Â Since these are a ‘real’ club seat (they are just a PSL actually), you were obligated to pay the yearly fee ($600-$750) for the PSL. Â That’s all you get with the yearly fee – right of first refusal to all events. Â Once you own that PSL, you have first crack at the seat for Stampede season tickets. Â We declined to buy the club seat PSL to keep the same type of perks we have now, because that would have doubled our current pricing ($600+ season ticket + $600+ PSL/Club seat license). Â The new event enter is going to be nice, but we’re not paying double. Â You also don’t get reserved parking with the clubs in the E.C. for Stampede. Â Only the front row seats (black level) at $40 a game get that. Â So we passed on the clubs. Â You could still purchase a club seat season ticket at the pick your seat nights this week. Â However, most people, us included, declined because each year you run the risk of the PSL holder exercising their right to buy the season tickets and you’d get booted out of your seats. Â And they are more expensive for really no discernable extra benefit except for the in seat wait service I believe and a nice location (center ice on one side).
In the last several months I had several discussions with the Stampede, SMG, and the city (community development). Â I did get different answers for various questions. Â It was pretty confusing and I don’t think the communication was ideal. Â I don’t know who was to blame because one side did blame the other in more than one case.
The pick your seat night went reasonably well, although it took longer than what it was supposed to, but I’m not surprised really. Â I think they largely did their best. Â I think in some fairness to the Stampede, they were as in the dark, I think, as we were up until almost the last minute here, and I’m not really sure who to blame on that one. Â I think the process they went through at least in my experience was reasonably orderly. Â They brought us in smaller groups in order of priority number, we wrote the seats we wanted, and then went back and selected. It was pretty reasonable.
I think maybe the biggest uncovered story in my view would be the pricing. Â I believe I read somewhere the Stampede were paying $3,000 a game at the Arena. Â They are paying I believe $3,750 at the event center, I believe.
I was kind of surprised by the ticket prices for the new event center. Â I presumed some increase, but I was a little surprised by how much they increased from two perspectives.
The first was compared to the old Arena. Â Of course this is a vastly better facility. Â The experience will be better for sure, that’s obvious. Â However, that only goes so far and while I love Stampede hockey, we’re still talking about young players, albeit elite players, between high school and college age playing. Â This isn’t the pros.
If you look at the old vs new pricing, trying to make it apples to apples, which isn’t totally straightforward, you’ll see what I’d say pretty appreciable to steep increases, in my view. Â The prices I have on my ticket chart reflect our $4 a seat discount for being season ticket holders, so the prices we paid are significantly less than the walk up price.
The other perspective I thought about was compared to other USHL venues. Â I looked at almost all of the other USHL venues and their pricing. Â The Stampede from what I can tell are significantly higher than all I found and by wide margins in many cases. Â True, we’ve probably bar none have the best venue in the USHL now, but a few venues have been replaced in the last few years so not everyone has an old barn. Â And even if we have the best venue, that again only goes so far. Â As an example, at the Tyson Event Center which I’ve been to several times, I can buy and have bought tickets in the first row on the glass for $15 per ticket. Â In addition, its half price for kids. Â So for my wife and myself it was $30 + $7.50 for my daugther, so $37.50 for all three of us to sit on the glass. Â Stampede walk up price for the event center for first row on the glass is $44. Â Even at the old arena the very limited ‘on the glass’ ‘executive’ seats they had were $27, and those were better than a typical on the glass because you were elevated in a high chair and there was a major supply/demand issue, there were VERY FEW Of these because that building was not made for hockey.
The club seats are $30 walk up price apparently, which is all of sections 103-104 (blue line to blue line) across from the player benches.
The rest of the seats around the bowl in the next 6 rows or so are $26 dollars walk up price. Â The closest comparison would be the first 8 rows in the arena (granted that started in the balcony since the arena was not a hockey venue) that were $17 per walk up price. Â In the event center the next tier is the blue zones which is rows 7 or 8 up to the back of the lower deck which are priced at $20 walk up price. Â Compare that to the current rows 9-18 for $15 in the arena. Â The cheapest seats on far ends or corners are $18 and $12 respectively walk up price.
What I noticed at the season ticket pick your seat night (I was at the second night) was very few selected in the black ($40 front row) and not much picked in the gold. Â The blue and red were filling pretty substantially. Â This isn’t too surprising given the pricing. Â We are able to afford it, so we did pick seats in the gold section, which is comparable to what we are paying now at least price wise. Â I wouldn’t buy the black $40 seats on principle, way too expensive I thought.
We, and many others I talked to, that had ‘club’ seats at the arena were actually kind of conflicted. Â We were in the catbird seat to some extent. Â We had major leg room, no one in front or behind us (we were on a long elevated platform that was behind the player bench and elevated so we could see), we had reserved parking, in seat wait service, and not much competition in the bathrooms because we were among a small number who were in the lower level. Â In the new event center, we don’t have the in seat wait service, no reserved parking, etc. Â Very few (or none!) people will feel sorry for us on losing that, but we were used to it for the price we were paying.
I am thinking they might be being a little aggressive with the price increases, but only time will tell. Â It will be interesting to see what if any effect it has on walk up purchases. Â It may be harder to tell in the first year or two just because of the novelty. Â I do think about a family of four looking to go to a game, it could get pretty spendy compared to before. Â Of course it will be a better venue, I get that. Â But that only goes so far. Â Time will tell. Â I’m in a position where I can absorb the cost, but not everyone is.
I have said from the beginning, this will be a playground for those who can afford it. Think Pavilion, on a larger scale.