One of the most rewarding things about being a loyal fan to your team is being able to support your team any time they play.
For most people you can watch all your team’s games online or with an extended TV package, but then there are the select few who go all out. They road trip across the state or across the country to see their favorite team compete and to cheer from well behind enemy lines. there’s something about being deep in hostile territory cheering for the other team that you love that just gives fans a rush.
Enter in the Nashville Predators organization who is now taking effective steps to keep away fans out, namely those of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
A report has surfaced from Section 303 that the Predators are furthering their “Keep the Red Out” campaign by putting up hoops for people (namely Chicagoans) to jump through in order to purchase tickets for Preds-Hawks games in Bridgestone Arena.
The “Keep the Red Out” campaign has recently seen Nashville target former division rival Detroit. During the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs when the two teams met people could trade in their Red Wings jerseys for 50% off a Predators gold jersey. That seems perfectly legal and a fun way to score a jersey, this ticket selling endeavor might strike a bad chord though with the wrong people.
The “hoops” to jump through are essentially two things. 1. Anybody wishing to purchase a ticket for the games against Chicago must also purchase an additional game. 2. For pre-sale ticket orders only certain zip codes will be unlocked and allowed to purchase Chicago-Nashville tickets with the same additional game condition.
“For Blackhawks games, we want to make sure that we preserve this building as much as we can for those who live in Smashville,” said Predators president and chief operating officer Sean Henry.
“What it’s going to do by forcing another game is we’ll almost direct it toward people that live in the general area, for the most part. And (for the pre-sale) only those in the zip codes that we unlock can buy the Blackhawk game and a second game. So we’re breaking down every barrier we can to Keep the Red Out.”
While this may seem like good old fashioned rivalry in sports it could also be viewed as unethical. While most businesses do reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, to do it on this scale seems almost discriminatory. To intentionally keep out fans because your crowds are 50-50 for home and away isn’t the people’s fault. Maybe your product on the ice is lacking, like say to the tune of 14th in conference, and a .427 point percentage.
You can’t blame Chicagoans for wanting to see their team on the road, often times 98-100% of season ticket holders hold over for the next year, and that makes single game tickets hard to come by without having to purchase them at ridiculous markup rates at places like StubHub. Plus when you consider average ticket price between the two franchises it makes sense from an economic standpoint to fans, especially for Hawks fans who live in between the two cities.
Chicago is roughly seven hours from Nashville, it’s actually less of a drive to see road games against the Wild (six hours), Blues (four and a half hours) and former division (but still bitter) rival Red Wings (four hours) and arguably a better hockey experience what with the tradition steeped in all three of those cities and franchises. So go ahead Nashville. keep the snow birds out, it’s your loss in terms of team money and it’s your city’s loss in terms of tourism deterred away. While they may think they are doig a service to their fans trying to implement this they are really hurting themselves and their city with this ludicrous policy.
All in all, this definitely seems to scream foul, and either the Predators will give up the charade and allow the tickets to be bought by whomever comes first (like it should be) or they will find themselves with just as many Blackhawk fans at their games because guess what? They don’t have jurisdiction over second-hand retailers, and that’s where people go to get Blackhawks tickets anyways because they are in such high demand. Fun try Nashville, but this is ultimately a bad idea.