Despite not having playoff hockey for the last seven years, fans of the Edmonton Oilers don’t seem to mind forking over their hard earned dollars to watch their beloved team play during the regular season. According to Secondary ticket marketplace, Vivid Seats, the Oilers have the 7th highest ticket prices across the league heading into this new season.
The report states that the average ticket price for an Oilers game is $225, the same as the 6th place Pittsburgh Penguins. The difference between the two clubs is obvious given the Pens success over the last eight years and charging a premium price to watch Sidney Crosby‘s team is understandable.
The Toronto Maple Leafs top the list to no one’s surprise with a median ticket price of $320. Pretty good for a franchise that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967 and finally broke their own playoff drought last season. But it’s Toronto, the centre of the hockey universe and they could likely charge double that amount and fans will pay it without blinking an eye.
The Winnipeg Jets are second on the list with a price of $230 dollars. The organization made season ticket holders sign a 5-year commitment when the team returned three years and with a rink that only holds just over 15,000 fans, the need to increase ticket revenue to support the club was obvious. If the Jets don’t start making the playoffs, we could see a second coming of how the Oilers fans are behaving; continuing to support a team that doesn’t provide anything in return (in terms of winning).
The Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks round out the top five on the list and all those teams have been to the playoffs in the last seven years on a consistent manner. The Hawks obviously have two cups in the last four years warranting a high ticket price.
For the Oilers, they have a loyal fan base that repeatedly pack the tired confines of Rexall Place despite being seven years into a re-build that continues to spin it’s wheels. The old adage that hockey is Canada’s game rings true in Edmonton despite not having much to cheer about lately. But how long will fans continue to support a hockey club that isn’t living up to the promise that was made almost ten years ago?
This season is full of optimism however with changes being made in management, behind the bench and on the ice. Dallas Eakins brings a sense of renewed optimism every time he speaks to the media and a competitive team will be iced on a nightly basis. Will it be enough to break the postseason drought? Time will tell but for now fans are left paying a handsome sum to support a team that has been floundering near the bottom of the league.
With the glory years a distant memory, it’s worth asking the question in reference to movie Fever Pitch only this time as it pertains to the Oilers. “We all love the Edmonton Oilers. But when was the last time they loved us back? ”
The simple answer is 2006 despite the massive heartbreak at the end of that story making it a sick and twisted relationship. Now, as frustrations grow with the product on the ice, this season could be one that makes or breaks the fan base. Would that lead to lower ticket prices? Let’s hope we don’t find out.