If you bill them, they will come.
The problem with fan frustration over the Edmonton Oilers jacking up their ticket prices for the 2017 playoffs is that the market will bear it — even if the grins are few and far between.
With a record of 35-23-8, the Oilers hold the Pacific Division’s No. 2 seed with just 16 games remaining. They are, mercifully, on course to snap the longest active playoff drought in the NHL, and according to CBC News, their loyal fan base will face a 44 per cent price hike to attend Round 1’s home games.
“We just finally after 10 years through all the heartaches and all the BS and the coaching staff and the management staff — like, after all of this, they just want to take you to the wall?” Tyler Beck, a season-ticket holder for 14 years, told CBC.
“They know that we’re fans and we want to be part of it, and they just know that people are going to do it no matter what, whatever they got to do — sell a truck, a kidney, they’re going to make it work.”
Beck’s lower-bowl seat cost $163 per game in the regular season. That same seat will jump to $235 for the first round, as per the pamphlet mailed out to season ticket-holders last week and posted on social media:
Not only could April’s opening round quench Oilers fans’ thirst, but it will mark the first post-season look at superstar Connor McDavid and may even resurrect the Battle of Alberta. On Wednesday, an improved Calgary Flames club was just two points away from the third seed in the Pacific and a potential series against their provincial rival.
The Oilers’ second-round ticket prices, if they make it that far, bump to 68 per cent more than regular-season seats. The Western Conference final will be 92 per cent more and the Stanley Cup Final nearly triples the price (up 188 per cent from regular season).
Still, the on-ice product should rise with the fee, and it’s common practice for teams to elevate prices come playoff time.
Ryan Batty, another devoted season ticket-holder, recalled the Oilers’ 2006 post-season run at Rexall Place, for which prices also raised.
“I was vibrating I was so excited for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. I’d never seen anything like that in my life,” Batty told the CBC.
“We were eating Kraft Dinner by the time we were done,” the fan went on. “We didn’t really have the money for all those playoff games. But what were you going to do — not get the tickets? We kept doing it and just squeezed by elsewhere.”
— John Bitangcol (@doctorjohn4) March 8, 2017