Battle For The Entertainment Buck- Marlies vs Majors & Battalion

The Marlies just don’t get it. For that matter, the folks who run MLSE don’t get it. The target audience for their product is families. Those who want to take the kids to a game but don’t or can’t afford NHL prices. They have once again priced their product way too high. Consider if you will:

Team Best Ticket Price Lowest Ticket Price
Marlies $41 $21
St. Mikes $19.95 $12.95
Brampton $18 $10

Now, I know already there are promo’s and other incentives to lower prices and throw in all kinds of freebies. However this is the same across the board. I also know that the price is reduced when season tickets are purchased, however that too is across the board. So for arguments sake let’s just consider the basic individual season ticket price.

I also know there is a difference between CHL hockey and AHL hockey. Guess who doesn’t? My kids. What they know is that there will be loud music, dancers, t-shirts, player access, and all the bells and whistles at junior games better if not similar to Marlies games. So if my kids don’t care the difference between a Marlie vs Phantoms game as opposed to a Battalion vs. Colts game, why the hell would I? This is simple. It’s all about bang for the buck and the absolute buck itself. I can get the best seat in the house for a junior game for $20, $1 lower than the worst at the Marlies. Guess where my money is going!

I also know there are diehard Marlie fans out there who are going to cry bloody murder that I would even consider comparing the two products. I know it. Those are the folks who go to lots of games and are either season ticket holders OR multiple game package buyers. I respect that. I am not putting you down at all. What I am saying is that in the battle for my entertainment buck, the Marlies have little to no shot. My family will be equally as entertained for $80 at an OHL game in the best seats as they would be for $84 in the worst. Here is the harsh reality when it comes to these types of sporting events, they have to sell the sizzle and not the steak. It’s more about the environment then it is about the on ice product. Parents like me care only that our kids are entertained; that there attention is captured for the amount of time we can keep them focused on the event.

What the Marlies don’t get is that if they priced themselves to compete with the OHL, they would attract that market. The games would be better attended and they would win in the long run. Look, the proof is in the pudding. Last year the league average was 5115 per game. Our Marlies came in at 3728 4th worst in the league. Now, I know, Toronto isn’t a hockey town. It is, however home to lots of potential customers like me. Folks who are looking for fun and exciting things to do with our kids as opposed to movies and the usual options. I am hear to tell you that the Marlies are blowing it. They have next to no shot at getting my money a those prices. There is no reason to go their games as opposed to the competition. I know, they are the Maple Leafs of tomorrow. Ask yourself this, as I did last year. Who would you have paid to see, John Tavares or Jiri Tlusty? My point is there is as good a shot to see an NHL star in the making at an OHL game as there is at an AHL game. So what exactly would I be paying for?

Baring serious sizzle at a Marlies game, there is no reason to go. Based on price alone, it’s an easy decision. Until MLSE wakes up and realizes, that every fan who is there, irrespective of the ticket price will spend more money and are therefore more valuable than the empty seat, it’s going to be very tough for them to draw more than they have. Lots of people say it won’t work here. I completely disagree. I think it can work here. I think it should work here. Until the tickets are close to the next best alternative they won’t work here.

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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