Dear Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Bettman,
I come not to bury you over $100 balcony seats at the Garden. That price is outrageous, but I'm prepared to pay it. Well, was prepared, at least. You see, I was foiled by that monolith of ticketing, the one entity that rivals car insurance companies for pure sleaze and somehow manages to scalp tickets legally: Ticketmaster.
Even then I'm not here to complain about their scalping. I am here to complain about how they distribute their tickets and determine access to your product. For 45 minutes today, I refreshed and refreshed and refreshed my browser to try to get to a point where I could choose a game to purchase tickets for. Instead, I only got to error screens. And then I gave up. If Ticketmaster doesn't want me to give you my money, then I guess I (you) are out of luck. They're Ticketmaster. They're the guardians of this whole thing.
The problems with using Ticketmaster are many fold. Just in this instance, their servers are consistently inadequate for the load they experience in events like this. Not just for you, but in any major on sale date they seem to have issues. Even beyond that, however, they fail. The "Best Available" option never seems to be any good at giving you what is really "best" nor "available". There's no "Cheapest Available" option, either, so you're automatically forced into tickets at a cost higher than you probably want to spend. And then there's just the openness of it, which leads to massive crowds of buyers who then turn around and shove their tickets onto StubHub or to Ace to try to make a profit on those of us who can't afford to technologically raid TM's website.
I'm not saying there's an easy fix here, and you can't do much about the open market, but there are ways that you could make your money - the same money you'll make whether or not it's Ace Ticket or a dad in Eastie - and bring access back to your core fanbase. And you may not even have to ditch TM to do so.
My idea is to expand Cybear Club into something more of a registry. When the schedule comes out, give CC members a chance to pick their games of choice. Then, assign each individual game a presale code, send each one out to the CC members who picked those individual dates, and limit access to those folks for the first couple of days. Then do an open sale the next day. I somehow had my CC thing lapse and I bet I missed out on tickets as a result, so this is partially my fault, but damn skippy would I keep up on it if this sort of system was in place.
The net result is that your dedicated fans - you know, the ones who got you here - will get access first, and you'll still get their money. And then, the tickets left over, can still go out for the current server killing feeding frenzy. You make money, we spend money, we see hockey games. Win-win.
And, yeah, maybe that's too cumbersome. Maybe it's too much work. Maybe it doesn't work. But maybe there's other ways. You guys should be exploring that. Your fans need something to change here.
Change it up, and we won't complain about ticket prices ever again this season.