Fan Un-Appreciation

Lets start with some basic info. The “authors” of this blog are two former Islander ticket holders. Although we ended our tickets at different times and for different reasons, one thing both of us felt was the lack of appreciation by the Islanders team in taking care of their fans. As a season ticket holder, the perks were discounted ticket prices, free parking, and a discount on merchandise at the Islander store. That Islanders attire was not included with season tickets always seemed silly to me, but we think it’s a problem that was rectified after our tenures. We think. Correction- upon review, the Islanders give account holders a free item. So if you buy 4 tickets for you and your family, you get 1 item. Hope everyone likes to share!

It was mentioned earlier that the authors did not have tickets simultaneously. One of us had them in the Milbury playoff years, the other early in the Snow rebuild process. Both front offices pretty much took STH’s for granted, and did little to reach out, or to acquire talent.

One of our main themes in these blogs is that with the Islanders, it’s always more of the same. Fast forward to this lockout season.  As NHL teams are making very attractive offers to get their fans to return, the Islanders have yet again shown their nature as a second rate organization. In the same season where the Islanders did not sign a player to significantly improve their bottom 5 finishing roster, the same season they vanish from the geographic vicinity of long island proper, the same season that was half lost, what do they give back?

Before we discuss the Islanders moves at fan outreach any further, lets take a look around the NHL.

Tampa Bay did season tickets for $200 AND a $25 gift card. Ottawa did free beers on opening night. LA gave the city of Los Angeles $1 million to help out various charities. Florida Panthers are selling $7 tickets. The Dallas Stars are letting fans 12 and under attend for free for all home games in January AND February. Nashville, always claiming to be broke even after dropping a hundred million on Shea Weber,  is doing buy one, get one free tickets for the first two games of the season, as well as half price concessions.

These are all fantastic ideas. And these are minor as compared to what the Pittsburgh Penguins are doing. Check this out:

- each fan will be able to receive 3 free food items through the team’s first four home games of the regular season. Items will include hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, salads and fountain drinks.

- the team will also be running a half-off sale on all merchandise at “PensGear” stores.

- the team will also hold a weeklong promotion via social media allowing fans the opportunity to win prizes, including a pair of tickets to every home game during the 2013 regular season, a road trip for two to see the Penguins play at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, three autographed jerseys from Evgeni Malkin, Marc- Andre Fleury, and Sidney Crosby, four front row seats to the home opener including a dinner in the Lexus club as well as transportation to the game by limo, two five-game mini-plans, six lower bowl tickets to any regular season game, and $700 dollars to use on merchandise at team stores

- The Penguins will also distribute promotional items at the first 15 home games of the season.

The Penguins are a team with two all world players. They are perennial Stanley Cup contenders, and recent winners. Aside from winning, this is showing fans gratitude.

It’s not just the NHL that takes care of fans. For their 21st anniversary, Foxwoods Casino is offering $21 dinners and giving away $210,000 randomly to gamblers.

So what do Islander fans get? You guessed it- more of the same. Brad Boyes, 4 waiver wire pickups, and a free scrimmage against “the future,” aka the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where hot dogs, sodas, pretzels and popcorn were $1 a serving, and merchandise was 25% off in the team store. Just for that game. Oh, and try to find an open concession stand. Why pay employees who were out of work for six months to give away cheap food? For those not there, they had TWO open concession stands, both understaffed. Food lines were 30 minutes deep. With no TV time outs, getting a snack was akin to missing AT LEAST a period of the game.

Oh, and I almost forgot. The Islanders raised ticket prices. Twice. One pre lockout, one post lockout.

This attitude has nothing to do with being small market. This has everything to do with being small minded, and second rate. It’s why, on the second game of the season, the Islanders had fans standing outside in the freezing cold on a day tons of children were attending because they couldn’t get the arena open by 11:30 am. This is why Wang as a businessman did not get a new arena, or a Lighthouse project. Anyone attending a game understands how he would cut corners and disregard customers, and create a second rate disaster. It doesn’t matter that this product comes on ice, it still stinks. I hope Brooklyn has enough room in their landfills for this pile of front office trash.

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Filed Under: Buffalo SabresDallas StarsFlorida PanthersLos Angeles KingsNashville PredatorsNew York IslandersNew York RangersNHLNHL TeamsOttawa SenatorsPittsburgh PenguinsTampa Bay Lightning

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About the Author: We are two long time hockey fans who certainly have our own opinions and points of view. Feel free to share yours. Follow on twitter @joshbarely

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