By: Adam Gretz
It appears as if getting tickets to the Jan. 2 Winter Classic is going to be a problem if you're not a Philadelphia Flyers or New York Rangers season ticket holder, or if you don't have a bank vault full of disposable income stashed away somewhere. And that shouldn't be a surprise. It also shouldn't be a surprise that casual fans are the ones that are likely to be left on the outside looking in for one of the biggest events of the season, seeing as how that's pretty much always the case when you're talking about one of the biggest games on the sports calendar.
Since its debut on New Years Day, 2008, the Winter Classic has become the signature event of the NHL season. When it first started with a game in Buffalo, nobody was quite sure what to expect for that game or future games, and the ticket demand, while large, wasn't anywhere near the monster it has become today. It's the one regular season game most fans want to watch and see in person, whether or not their favorite team is actually playing. Getting a ticket is darn near impossible, and gets harder every season.
This year's game, which will take place in Philadelphia and feature the Flyers hosting the Rangers at Citizens Bank Park, normally the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is no exception.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer has an article on Monday talking about the problems fans-- particularly those of the hometown Flyers -- are facing when it comes to trying to score tickets to an event that has a limited supply and an overwhelming demand. According to Carchidi, the NHL gave the Flyers an allotment of 19,000 tickets, which should be just enough to cover their season ticket base as well as some partial season ticket holders.
One of the gripes Flyers fans seem to have at this point, and it is a legitimate gripe, is that along with the tickets to the Jan. 2 game, which cost anywhere between $79 and $349, they also have to purchase tickets to an alumni game, as well as a minor league game involving the Flyers' AHL team, the Adirondack Phantoms. He spoke to one season ticket holder that spent over $500 on tickets -- including service fees -- for a pair of tickets to each of three games ... two of which he didn't even want to attend (the alumni game and the minor league game). Why is the NHL doing this? Because it can. Because there is enough demand, and enough people willing to buy tickets to two games they don't want to see.
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Pleasing everybody for a game like this is impossible, and there's always going to be somebody that's left fuming because the process was unfair, which it no doubt is. And as is the case with any marquee event in sports, the casual fan, the one with the family of four that just wants to take the kids to an outdoor hockey game, or the die-hard that sits in the nosebleeds for regular games and knows the name and number of every player that's dressed for the team over the past two decades, is going to be the one that gets left out. And if you're surprised by that you must be new to sports. It's not fair and it's not right, but that's not how it works for these types of games.
The NHL -- or any league -- isn't in the business of making sure the right fans get tickets to the right games. It's in the business of making money, and the Winter Classic is the biggest money-maker it has during the regular season.
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