Blog Entry

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:45 pm
SabresFansBy: Adam Gretz

Buffalo Sabres fans are more than a little pumped up about their team's new owner, Terry Pegula, and it's already showing at the box office. Even more than usual.

The Sabres announced on Wednesday that the team reached a franchise record renewal rate of 99 percent for 2011-12 season tickets, and because of that, capped season ticket sales at 15,200. HSBC Arena, the home of the Sabres, has a capacity of 18,690 for hockey.

Pegula, a billionaire businessman and long-time Sabres fan, purchased the team back in February, almost immediately sending a burst of excitement through the entire fan base. That excitement has carried over to the offseason where Buffalo has been one of the most active teams this summer, spending millions on players.

Prior to the start of free agency the team acquired defenseman Robyn Regeher from the Calgary Flames, and then followed that up by signing Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino. Ehrhoff's deal is structured in a way that makes him one of the highest paid players in the NHL this upcoming season.

The Sabres have always been a hot ticket in Buffalo, routinely playing to near capacity crowds. But a 99 percent renewal rate? That's mighty impressive, and it's not hard to understand. They have a new owner that's one of them (Pegula was reportedly a season ticket holder for the Sabres prior to purchasing the team) and is spending big money in an effort to put the best possible team on the ice, even if some of the signings -- like the ones to Leino and Ehrhoff -- carry a bit of a risk.

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Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:22 am

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

There's no doubt the Sabres would have sold every single seat in HSBC arena for season tickets and had the waiting list grow longer. 
The Sabres are doing the right thing capping season ticket sales. In fact, the number should be lower than what it is.

As good as that would appear on paper, especially in accounting balance sheets, selling every seat as a season ticket would be horrible for Buffalo as a sports market. It's the problem the Toronto Maple Leafs have created. The Leafs make so few single tickets available to the public, and they jack up the price on the ones they do so much that it's estimated that something like 75% of all Leafs fans will never attend a Leafs home game (Drawing from a local paper last year). This means that the average joe who wants to take his kid(s) to one game every few years has great difficulty doing so. Also, a small group of lads out of the town have trouble getting three tickets together for a game on a whim, even if they can afford the outrageous prices.

The Leafs nearly sell-out every game but there are MANY MANY empty seats from no-shows, largely from corporate groups. It really takes away from the game, the atmosphere is garbage. Needless to say that MLSE doesn't care, they get their $$$. The Sabres draw a lot of fans from Southern Ontario who are fed up with the Leafs and their refusal to reach out to their fanbase. It would be a grave mistake to do anything that the Leafs do. Many Leafs fans (and other Southern Ontario hockey fans) can't afford to attend a game at the ACC, but will flock to Ottawa, Detroit and Buffalo to watch games for less $$$. I've done all three cities (Ottawa, Detroit, Buffalo), I'll do em again, and I know many friends who have done all three multiple times. It's a cash cow Buffalo is sitting on, it'd be a shame to ruin it.

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:03 am

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

I'm curious as to what % of Sabres season ticket holders come from Canada for games. Every time I go over there's a lot of Canadians, including a friend who has season tickets right behind Ryan Miller. Really nice venue, good atmosphere.

In any case, good for the Sabres, I hope they produce some more Cup contending teams and help keep the Leafs out of the playoffs. Although it doesn't take a lot of effort to achieve the latter Sealed

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: July 21, 2011 12:07 pm

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

Why more owners don't continually pat themselves on the back for "selling out" with a public statement is beyond me.   Good hockey markets like Buffalo will spend more on tickets, and self promotion of a franchise and the associated free publicity by local media does wonders to drive up ticket sales.   Why Golisano never bought out the remaining tickets to put home attendance at 100% like many other owners is beyond me the last couple years (since he was trying to sell), but it's good that Pegula is doing what he can.   The team probably has a market that would allow for a profitable franchise, hopefully Pegula's team can keep up the good news until ticket prices climb a little higher..   Good news for Sabres fans, not that ticket sales are going well (who really knows, see Wirtz 2007) but that ownership is committed to getting the fanbase more engaged and willing to spend a little more on the franchise.    It's fun to see an owner doing what he can for the franchise's success.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:07 am

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

Just goes to show that once again Buffalo proves it's THE BEST sports town in the country - hands down.  There's no doubt the Sabres would have sold every single seat in HSBC arena for season tickets and had the waiting list grow longer.  Winnipeg pshshawwwww.....welcome to a real hockey town....Pegulaville USA, Hockey Heaven.....BUFFALO NY.....LET'S GO SABRES!!!!!!

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: July 21, 2011 12:23 am

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

Got my tickets just in time back about 6 years ago.  Since then it's been a STRUGGLE to get to the 100 level.  I feel for those fans on the Blue and Gold list but crossing my fingers this is the year I can finally get moved to better seats.....can't wait to see Christian Ehrhoff on the blue line for the power play, something that has been very inconsistent for the past few years.  Should also be interesting to see who gets the boot from this team as we are obviously over the cap.  Either way I can't wait until the season starts and am proud to be part of a fan base such as the Sabres.  Now that Boston won the Stanley Cup, their fans should take note...pretty embarrassing when a city of less than a million renews at 99% when your team wins the cup and you can't crack the top 15 in attendance despite winning the cup.  I know there are other things going on like basketball and football but show a little support, your city is close to 5 million isn't it?

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:09 pm

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

This is awesome. Just goes to show what an awesome hockey city Buffalo is. All it takes is an owner to actually TRY to put a winning team on the ice. The bills could do the exact same thing if Ralph Wilson would stop being so cheap. I am really excited about this up coming season, and will be looking forward to being in a PACKED HSBC!!

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