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Just my take: A cold day in Avalanche Country

John Reidy Avatar
August 7, 2015

 

Just-my-take (1)While most Denver sports fans are broiling in the summer heat and thinking about the Denver Broncos, I’m thinking about ice and cold and the Colorado Avalanche. But one thing has left me steamed: The high cost of attending the Stadium Series game being held at Coors Field February 27th, featuring the Avs and the hated Detroit Red Wings.

$450. That’s what I’d have to spend to attend the outdoor game. For a mere $450, and I can sit where I usually park myself for Rockies games on the Club Level and watch hockey in the cold. Sounds like a bargain.

The Stadium Series, an extension of the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic, features outdoor games in baseball stadiums during the winter, and has delighted fans for several years now since it was introduced back in 2008. The outdoor game counts toward the regular season standings but it’s packed with nostalgia and reminds people of a time when hockey was apparently played on frozen lakes, long before climate change robbed us of this simple pleasure.

The outdoor game is really cool and any sports fan would want to be a part of this historic event happening for the first time in Denver. But for $450? That’s a lot of green to sit in the open air and freeze your ass off.

But that $450 will not only get you tickets to the Avs/Red Wings regular season match up but you’ll also receive (be forced to buy) tickets to the alumni game happening the day before. This isn’t so bad because it will feature the greats from both 90’s teams including Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Patrick Roy and may be more fun to watch. Regardless, you’re still being made to buy both, but that still makes each event a $225 ticket and that seems like a small fortune to someone who likes to watch games on TV while reading Twitter.

The cheapest ticket for this event is standing room only on the Party Deck for the very appropriate price of $69. The next cheapest are $114 and those will get you up in the high artic zone of the farthest away seats in center field or crammed up in the steep corner of right field. And it just keeps going up from there. The thinking is that the higher, and more on top of the rink the seats are, the better the view. Directly behind home plate, but at the top of the stadium will cost you only $279 a pop. I think I could get a cheaper ticket to see the Rolling Stones carrying Taylor Swift around on a litter while singing their greatest hits.

The Stadium Series is a special event and special events usually demand special prices, but at what point does the average sports fan say enough? The financial squeeze sports franchises put on the average Joe is getting more and more egregious. The reason the Rockies keep packing them in despite how awful they are is because the tickets are reasonably priced. But going to an Avalanche or Broncos game is getting to the point that fans need to get a second job just to enjoy a live sporting event.

Nothing beats being there but with the myriad of ways to enjoy sports today, whether it be through HD television or just following along on Twitter, the options afforded fans make it pretty easy to avoid the crowds and the high costs and just stay at home. One would think that professional sports franchises would see these other options as a threat to their bottom line and instead of jacking up prices even more, they would reduce the costs to get people off their couches and back in the arena.

Hockey is one of the greatest sports to watch live but the NHL has done a poor job marketing its product and has seenfit to raise prices instead of enticing fans back with cheaper tickets.

So now I wait and see what kind of deal will be offered for having Rockies season tickets (yes, my family has Rockies season tickets, please save your applause until the end). If it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of reasonable, I may hold my nose and buy a ticket. Or I may take my chances and buy a ticket to the Party Deck, puke off the side and say I was there.

I figured it would have to be a cold day in hell before I’d shell out $450 to watch hockey at Coors Field.

Now it may just have to be a cold day in February.

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