I've decided to bring in a new feature at The New York Rangers Blog. Writing my own columns. When I first started this blog, I never had any intentions of writing my own column-type blog posts, as there is so much opinion out in the blogosphere on the Rangers, I didn't think that my opinions would add all that much. But over time there's been a few subjects I wanted to tackle, but never had the time. With the dog days of summer here and most of the Rangers news being nothing more than a minor signing, I figured this would be the best time to start. My first column will deal with the excessive cost of going to a Rangers game.
When I was a kid I never went to many Rangers games. I never asked my dad to go. I think I was more interested in playing street hockey in the nearest parking lot than sitting on a train heading into Manhattan. But as I got into high school and college, I went a bit more frequently even attending a few playoff games. After college, a couple of buddys and I bought a 10 game package and despite the fact that the Rangers were awful we had a blast.
After getting married, purchasing a home and having a daughter, I never thought I could afford to go to games. I became very content sitting on the couch with a beer enjoying Sam and JD. But that all changed after the Rangers made the playoffs coming out of the lockout.
A friend of mine called the New York Rangers box office inquiring about another 10 game ticket plan, but to his surprise he was told that season tickets were available. Without even consulting with anyone else he said give me two in the 400s. It was probably about $2,400 for the pair. As soon as I got the call, I said I was in. For a quarter share (11 games) it only cost me $280. I was in shock at how cheap it was. I was always under the impression that Ranger tickets were much more expensive.
The 2006-2007 season was amazing. The Rangers started so poorly, and by the middle of February we all but lost hope of a playoff year. We even thought about not sending in our playoff ticket vouchers. But sparked by the Sean Avery trade the team made a run and got into the playoffs.
When the playoff tickets were sent, I was a little apprehensive of the cost, as I had bought playoff tickets in the past which cost me in excess of $100. But to my pleasant surprise the tickets only cost around $35 for the first round, $45 for the second, $60 for the Conferense Finals and $75 for the Stanley Cup. Wow now that was affordable.
With a great run in the playoffs that year, we all expected a ticket increase.
It turned out to be a little bit more than I had hoped as my $280 for the season ballooned to $350. It may not seem like a lot to some people, but when you've got a mortgage and a kid its not that easy.
But I sucked it up. I even started cutting some corners, as I would eat a sandwich on the train from Long Island and sometimes snuck a flask full of Southern Comfort into the game.
Once again the Rangers needed a late season run to make the playoffs and we were all excited as we were two for two with the Rangers qualifying for the playoffs. But my excitement was quickly quelled as the prices for our playoff tickets came in.
$55 for the first round, $75 for the second round, $100 for the Conference Finals and $150 for the Stanley Cup Finals. Say what?!?!?! What had happened to my affordable tickets from the year before. Between the train, tickets, food and booze I was in over $800 for the season!!!
Again it may not seem like a lot to some, but by the look of the very late arriving business types in the lower section of the Garden who seem more interested in checking their blackberrys and seeing who else is at the game than the game itself, I would say most people agree.
The final blow took place two weeks ago when we got this year's ticket prices. The cost for me would be almost $400. I couldn't afford it. The Dolan's had finally priced me out. I begrudgingly told my follow season ticket holders that I was out.
Thankfully they were able to find someone to take my place so that no else had to incur extra costs. But there in lies the problem. There will always be someone to pay these astronomical prices. If not a richer fan then most likely a company who will give them out to their clients who aren't even interested in hockey. While the real Ranger fans, like myself, will be priced out and sitting home.
With the Garden due for a major renovation and personal seat licenses all the rage, I can only imagine how expensive tickets are going to be for the opening of the 2010 season. The Blue seats are the last bastion of true Ranger fans at the Garden. But how much longer can these working class fans hang on? Just ask Giants fans. How long will it be before every spectator at a Rangers game is wearing a suit instead of a Rangers sweater?
Maybe I'm just sour because I can't afford to go to the games anymore. Or maybe I'm spot on. But either way don't worry I'll get over it and cheer the Rangers as hard as I can this year. But the next time anyone is looking for me to go to a game with them, don't bother calling I'll be too busy playing street hockey in the nearest parking lot.