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Frozen Four

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I posted this somewhere else but I'll repeat it here....Locals already pay a lot of money for an amateur hockey product and a team they care about (Sabres). Bringing in college teams, with no emotional attachment and charging professional prices in WNY is not gonna fly. Some blame has to be attributed to the Western draw. Duluth and Denver were only going to bring a handful of fans to Key Bank.

That being said... I whined about ticket prices as much as anyone, but Buffalo has hockey fatigue.  Years of disappointing finishes by the Sabres have diminished my interest in the sport a bit.  I'm like why would I pay $250 to sit in the nosebleeds with my son?,  and that's before food and parking.

Sadly I think Buffalo will be out of the rotation for the Frozen Four and World Juniors for quite some time,... maybe forever.   The city looked bad and non-supportive of both events even when it wasn't entirely the city's fault.  They should continue to market amateur hockey tournaments for the Harborcenter rink as that is the perfect size.  The USA women, USA sled hockey, etc.. it all works beautifully in a small but really nice facility like Harborcenter.    The big rink is never going to be filled for amateur hockey events at $100+ per ticket.

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2 hours ago, Eleven said:

The Pegulas had nothing to do with this event.  It was hosted by Canisius and Niagara, played in a building owned by Erie County, prices set by NCAA, etc.

Then why would Russ Brandon have been leading the press conference to announce the award back in 2017? Why would PSE have issued a press release (see below)?

https://www.nhl.com/sabres/news/buffalo-awarded-2019-frozen-four-and-2022-ncaa-mens-basketball-tournament/c-288903414

I'm not privy to the details, but I have it on very good authority that the Pegulas had a great deal of skin in the game. If this event ended up upside down (and it clearly did), then the Pegulas lost money. Maybe the NCAA did too. I have no way of knowing of how that deal gets structured -- how the risk is allocated.

Not for nothing: When One Direction (sp?) came to the football stadium, there were reports making clear that the Pegulas were the reason that huge acts were being booked into WNY (U2 soon followed - and there were others along the same lines). For acts like that, the tour bears little or no financial risk for playing a certain venue -- the host(s) provide a guaranteed payout and then make it work (or don't) on the host's end. And that was why PSE was getting a lot of love (deservedly so) -- they were taking on the risk so that Buffalo could have a world class event.

I suspect there were similar dynamics at play with the Frozen Four. Hence Terry's having taken to calling the event the "Effing" Frozen Four over the past several months. Dude needs to go drill some more wells now.

1 hour ago, shrader said:

A local school always is listed as the host, but there's no way they're the driving force behind this one.  Some of the bigger schools with more influence my play a bigger role in other cities, but that will never be the case here.

Agreed. One thing the local schools are expected to do is provide a lot of foot soldier volunteers.

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42 minutes ago, zow2 said:

Buffalo has hockey fatigue.  Years of disappointing finishes by the Sabres have diminished my interest in the sport a bit.  I'm like why would I pay $250 to sit in the nosebleeds with my son?,  and that's before food and parking.

really good post. this portion especially resonated with me.

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1 hour ago, shrader said:

A local school always is listed as the host, but there's no way they're the driving force behind this one.  Some of the bigger schools with more influence my play a bigger role in other cities, but that will never be the case here.

 

20 minutes ago, That Aud Smell said:

Then why would Russ Brandon have been leading the press conference to announce the award back in 2017? Why would PSE have issued a press release (see below)?

https://www.nhl.com/sabres/news/buffalo-awarded-2019-frozen-four-and-2022-ncaa-mens-basketball-tournament/c-288903414

I'm not privy to the details, but I have it on very good authority that the Pegulas had a great deal of skin in the game. If this event ended up upside down (and it clearly did), then the Pegulas lost money. Maybe the NCAA did too. I have no way of knowing of how that deal gets structured -- how the risk is allocated.

...

I suspect there were similar dynamics at play with the Frozen Four. Hence Terry's having taken to calling the event the "Effing" Frozen Four over the past several months. Dude needs to go drill some more wells now.

Agreed. One thing the local schools are expected to do is provide a lot of foot soldier volunteers.

I looked at the link.  I must be incorrect; I really thought that PSE had nothing to do with this.

52 minutes ago, zow2 said:

I posted this somewhere else but I'll repeat it here....Locals already pay a lot of money for an amateur hockey product and a team they care about (Sabres). Bringing in college teams, with no emotional attachment and charging professional prices in WNY is not gonna fly. Some blame has to be attributed to the Western draw. Duluth and Denver were only going to bring a handful of fans to Key Bank.

That being said... I whined about ticket prices as much as anyone, but Buffalo has hockey fatigue.  Years of disappointing finishes by the Sabres have diminished my interest in the sport a bit.  I'm like why would I pay $250 to sit in the nosebleeds with my son?,  and that's before food and parking.

Sadly I think Buffalo will be out of the rotation for the Frozen Four and World Juniors for quite some time,... maybe forever.   The city looked bad and non-supportive of both events even when it wasn't entirely the city's fault.  They should continue to market amateur hockey tournaments for the Harborcenter rink as that is the perfect size.  The USA women, USA sled hockey, etc.. it all works beautifully in a small but really nice facility like Harborcenter.    The big rink is never going to be filled for amateur hockey events at $100+ per ticket.

Hockey fatigue is a good point.

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3 hours ago, zow2 said:

I posted this somewhere else but I'll repeat it here....Locals already pay a lot of money for an amateur hockey product and a team they care about (Sabres). Bringing in college teams, with no emotional attachment and charging professional prices in WNY is not gonna fly. Some blame has to be attributed to the Western draw. Duluth and Denver were only going to bring a handful of fans to Key Bank.

That being said... I whined about ticket prices as much as anyone, but Buffalo has hockey fatigue.  Years of disappointing finishes by the Sabres have diminished my interest in the sport a bit.  I'm like why would I pay $250 to sit in the nosebleeds with my son?,  and that's before food and parking.

Sadly I think Buffalo will be out of the rotation for the Frozen Four and World Juniors for quite some time,... maybe forever.   The city looked bad and non-supportive of both events even when it wasn't entirely the city's fault.  They should continue to market amateur hockey tournaments for the Harborcenter rink as that is the perfect size.  The USA women, USA sled hockey, etc.. it all works beautifully in a small but really nice facility like Harborcenter.    The big rink is never going to be filled for amateur hockey events at $100+ per ticket.

The Frozen Four, supposedly, has a built-in following. At least that was the story I was told when I went to Tampa a few years back. Tickets were bought every year because fans didn't want to lose access to the event. If that was the case I wouldn't blame the Pegulas for trying to land this event. I was also at the last Buffalo Frozen Four (under Golisano/Quinn) when all that out of town fans saw coming to the MMA was a windswept parking lot and a hole in the ground. I recall out of towners looking lost wondering where they could get some food or a drink. Things were pretty desolate at the foot of Main in those days. (Could that lingering image of Buffalo be a reason?)

So I'd love to know did this event crash this year or was attendance falling before? Did the NCAA (or whoever sets ticket prices) get greedy?  Or does Buffalo still have such a bad rep no one wants to come here in April?  I honestly don't believe the Sabres performance has anything to do with this. Frozen Four is supposed to be an event for college hockey fans everywhere.

Edited by PromoTheRobot

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3 hours ago, \GoBillsInDallas/ said:

I think Delta has multiple flights a day directly from Minnesota to Buffalo, I don't understand why it was "hard" to get here. I've traveled a bit around the US and never have had a single issue getting to or from Buffalo. 

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1 minute ago, LGR4GM said:

I think Delta has multiple flights a day directly from Minnesota to Buffalo, I don't understand why it was "hard" to get here. I've traveled a bit around the US and never have had a single issue getting to or from Buffalo. 

It's at least a two hour drive from Duluth to Minneapolis though.  Those folks up there are going to have the same issues that many smaller cities have, where they can only get direct flights to a handful of destinations.  So yeah, of course they had easier access to the St. Paul and Chicago Frozen Fours.  Looking at their airport website, those are the only two cities they seem to have any flights to at all.

The rest of the article has plenty of valid points.  They really need to avoid the "hard to get to" section though, because they can say that about pretty much everywhere.

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Just heard on WGR that ticket prices are set based on the bid made by the host city. So Russ Brandon might have overbid to get the Frozen Four assuming fans would show up no matter what.

Edited by PromoTheRobot

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24 minutes ago, PromoTheRobot said:

Just heard on WGR that ticket prices are set based on the bid made by the host city. So Russ Brandon might have overbid to get the Frozen Four assuming fans would show up no matter what.

There definitely seems to be some interest from PSE in having Russ Brandon and other separated execs be the scapegoats for why attendance was poor.

But by how much could Buffalo have outbid the other contenders? How much more were the Buffalo ticket packages when compared with the 2018 event? The 2020 event?

I keep coming back to the idea that most of the (over)pricing blame belongs to the NCAA.

And I also think that there was a peculiar storm of hockey fatigue/hockey malaise that afflicted this market at this time.

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43 minutes ago, That Aud Smell said:

There definitely seems to be some interest from PSE in having Russ Brandon and other separated execs be the scapegoats for why attendance was poor.

But by how much could Buffalo have outbid the other contenders? How much more were the Buffalo ticket packages when compared with the 2018 event? The 2020 event?

I keep coming back to the idea that most of the (over)pricing blame belongs to the NCAA.

And I also think that there was a peculiar storm of hockey fatigue/hockey malaise that afflicted this market at this time.

Just spitballing but maybe PSE had to overbid by a lot to get over reticence of having Buffalo host. Anyone attending the 2003 Frozen Four in Buffalo would have been appalled. Even though it's better now (though not that much better judging from takes I've read...and even then, I wonder how much effort was made to find places,) that lingering perception might have been a significant hurdle. You can bet there won't be another Buffalo Frozen Four.

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On Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 3:48 PM, That Aud Smell said:

There definitely seems to be some interest from PSE in having Russ Brandon and other separated execs be the scapegoats for why attendance was poor.

But by how much could Buffalo have outbid the other contenders? How much more were the Buffalo ticket packages when compared with the 2018 event? The 2020 event?

I keep coming back to the idea that most of the (over)pricing blame belongs to the NCAA.

And I also think that there was a peculiar storm of hockey fatigue/hockey malaise that afflicted this market at this time.

There are common denominators between the WJC's & the NCAA Frozen Four.  Both were TREMENDOUSLY overpriced (I should know, having been foolish enough to go to both) & poorly marketed.  And both required people to purchase multigame packages until quite close to the actual event dates.  Those have "marketing genius" Russ Brandon's MO all over them.

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