Toronto Star Article On Maple Leafs Totally Irresponsible

First and foremost I have to say a BIG happy b-day to little TSM. Yes, I know I talk about my kids a lot, but today is one half of my pride and joy’s 7th birthday and I couldn’t be prouder. His hockey season kicked off this am at 6:50 am and his team won 9-6 (no the other team didn’t have Vesa Toskala Jr. in net). This years squad is, in part coached by yours truly so we are 1-0. Look out Ron Wilson.

Now, to the task at hand. Have you read the article on the front page of today’s Toronto Star????

“The legendary willingness of Leafs-loving Torontonians to dish out mortgage-payment-like sums to witness a perennial loser may have reached its breaking point. Tickets to Maple Leafs games are being sold for unprecedented low prices on the open market – in what ticket brokers and resellers say is an early sign of a backlash against the club’s league-topping ticket prices and basement-dwelling performance.”

The Star’s Robert Cribb wrote a piece that the editors put front and center on the cover of the paper and that followed with nearly an entire page on p. 24 of the front section. The story goes like this. For the first time scalpers- sorry I refuse to call them “brokers” are taking it on the chin as they try to resell tickets. The market has changed and where once they could sell tickets for a premium they are now having to sell tickets at a significant discount.

Cribb actually did a good job talking to the scalpers. It seems that these guys are losing money in what used to be a lucrative market.

“In the past, they always said it didn’t matter what the Leafs produced on the ice because people will still pay top dollar,” said Shawn Brookes, director of operations with FanXchange, a website that connects buyers with sellers. “This is the first time I’ve seen customers finally getting fed up with these astronomical prices.”

Most of the Leafs tickets sold on FanXchange this season were snapped up for below face value, says Brookes.

For a home game against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 13, “there were tickets – dead centre golds – selling for $90 or $100 instead of the $203 face price.”

There are other signs Toronto’s hottest ticket has become tepid.

A search of eBay and Craigslist, popular websites for reselling seats, turns up dozens of below-face-value tickets along with such creative, bargain-basement inducements as, “Buy tickets for this Saturday’s game vs. the New York Rangers and if (the Leafs) lose, the next game is FREE.”

So???? You are asking, what’s wrong with that? Nothing. But wait, there is more:

“Experts say the availability of tickets at the box office, even for big games, is evidence Leaf Nation is hitting the wall.

As of Friday night, tickets were still available for Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers.

“Sellers will bleed money this weekend,” said one scalper, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s the taste people have in their mouths – losing, losing, losing.”

Okay, so that is clearly a reason and an important one at that. However, there are other reasons right????

“Another reason for the fire sale?

“This all goes back to March when the Leafs had the audacity to raise face-value prices,” says Lange. “A lot of long-term season ticket holders contacted us and told us to sell their season tickets … These are longtime season ticket holders saying, `I’ve had enough of the incompetence. Sell my tickets.'”

One Toronto broker says he is “significantly” in the hole only six games into this season, having sold 60 per cent of his inventory for below face value – including some tickets for less than the price marked. ”

Okay, so that is a reason too, but there is another BIG reason too, right?????

WRONG!

The guys writes the story, talks to scalpers, calls them EXPERTS and doesn’t even mention…ummmmmm, the ECONOMY???????!!!!!!!!

I am not here to defend the Maple Leafs. I am not here to say that their performance isn’t a factor. I am not here to say that ticket prices aren’t ridiculously high. All of those are big factors.

BUT

There is a slight economic crisis going on right now. I mean, perhaps Cribb is aware of it. If he wanted to throw stones and retell a story we have heard for a long time and present new evidence is totally fine. To not even MENTION the economy as a small, tiny, factor in why people aren’t willing to spend on tickets is totally irresponsible. It makes the story total and utter crap. This writer totally ignored a major mitigating factor here. People are losing jobs, homes etc. and to not even suggest that perhaps that is part of the reason?????? Give me a friggin break. How do you write a story, put it on the front story and not mention the state of the economy?????

As I read the story, I kept waiting for it. When I got to the end I was looking for a footnote, something that suggested Cribbs did his homework. When I didn’t find it I actually re-read the story. I was dumbfounded.

I will say it again. The Leafs track record (pun intended) isn’t good. MLSE’s ticket pricing is high. Those two reasons alone are factors in why people aren’t willing to pay stupid money for tickets. Companies used to be willing to eat those expenses because it made sense. Companies who are laying people off aren’t going to be spending that type of money anymore. People who used to go to bars to watch Leafs games may be going less because of the team’s performance. They definitely are going out less in general because of the economy! Look around the streets of this city. There are restaurants vacant on most major streets that I travel on. That is something we didn’t before either. Companies and people are being more careful. It’s a fact. It doesn’t just effect the Leafs, it’s everything. To not suggest that as a reason…..

Let me say one last thing on MLSE’s ticket pricing. MLSE, like every other business out there is in the business to make money. I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand. They will set prices at levels that they think they can get. The only way prices come down is if people stop buying them at that price. Look across the league. It took $25 tickets in Phoenix to fill the house opening night. When prices went up a little bit they couldn’t draw 7,000 people. In Florida they give you everything but stock in the team when you buy a ticket and still people aren’t going. How many articles have you read about NFL blackouts this year??? Yes team performance has a large something to do with it. The economy has a HUGE something to do with it to. This is the first year that I had multiple opportunities to buy Maple Leafs seasons tickets with a personal seat license. I couldn’t find a taker. Not because the team sucks, but because it was cost prohibitive. If this trend continues, MLSE will have to adjust.

Here is why it won’t happen though. These scalpers won’t give up their seats. I don’t care how much they moan, groan and cry, they have been in the business too long to give it up. So until there are sustained losses people will keep buying. As long as there is a waiting list to call on there is no pressure to lower prices. It really is that simple. Scalpers buy Leafs tickets, Raptors tickets and Jays tickets in order to get all the concert tickets too, It’s why they take all the other stuff. You can’t get all the good stuff without getting some crap. It’s that simple.

Hope Burke, Wilson and all have a good night. Personally, and I know he is a 3rd or 4th liner I am looking forward to seeing Wayne Primeau play. I am hoping he brings some much needed character and leadership to the mix.

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

Cribbs is here

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TC
October 17, 2009 5:58 pm

Leafs are hungry (hopefully) and due to win. Rangers are due for a loss. Odds may be against them but I have a good feeling about tonight.

JP80
JP80
October 17, 2009 6:50 pm

with respect – you’re being kind of defensive about the Leafs. when other teams draw files, youre the first to write about how there’s no interest or how nobody cares. but when the leafs show signs of interest dropping – now it’s the economy.

Rob
Rob
October 17, 2009 10:06 pm

It’s the demographics, stupid.

How does that relate? First, not just immigrants but all canadians are taxed to death. Second tastes are changing. I guess it’s poetic justice for the teacher union-militia outfit.

Well if you have noticed that, you’ll be spared the surprise. Soccer, cricket, tennis, badminton will soon have a majority following in the sports arena in the city of Toronto and Rogers sportsnet will find itself practically singing showtunes to a buffalo. The leaves will fade away like a bunch of crunchy disposable empty shells of themselves. And I say good! it’s about time.

answerman
October 18, 2009 1:09 am

The economy tanked in September 2008. Why didn’t we see the selling price of tickets drop then instead of just now?

Eggbert
Eggbert
October 18, 2009 1:59 am

The Leafs have always been recession proof,and the more interesting story is a drop in fan interest reflected by ticket sales.You’re nuts if you think they wouldn’t be a red hot ticket if they had won 6 instead of lost 6

thesharkguy
October 18, 2009 11:40 am

Time for everyone to abandon the Blue & White en masse and throw their support behind the Toronto Raptors, whose management actually give the impression that they are trying to better the club…hell, it’s a team that actually has really good young players and an all-star (to Leaf fans, an all star is an exceptional player voted by the their peers and fans to play in what’s called an ‘all star game’)

kidkawartha
kidkawartha
October 18, 2009 12:53 pm

What I absolutely love about this horrendous start to what should have been a blast right out of the gate is that we are shedding band-wagoners and fake fans by the truckload, which always makes me happy. And wait until the general public finds out that scalpers tix are actually cheaper than face value…………..If people are smart, they will quietly take advantage of this as long as possible. There are 100’s of 1000’s of people who would still kill to see a game, even if it’s still overpriced and the Leafs are really bad.

Eggbert
Eggbert
October 18, 2009 1:32 pm

To be fair, if Jermaine O’Neil had flopped on Burke’s watch he would have taken much more heat, and I’m a big Raps fan

jayo
jayo
October 18, 2009 5:10 pm

Economy or not, the Leafs had no problem selling out every game and scalpers had no problem making money last year. The economy is actually better now than it was last fall or winter or spring. The people selling their Leafs tickets to scalpers are not broke — they’re the type of people that can afford season’s tickets to watch the Maple Leafs and have been buying them for years.

The Leafs are a terrible, horrible, disgusting worthless excuse for a hockey team and thank god people in this city have started, at least in some small part, to act accordingly.

Also, I hate to be one of those people to pick on spelling and punctuation on the internet, but I would be much more inclined to visit your site again if you used less goddamn exclamation and questions marks. It makes you look like a nine-year-old on MSN.

Mike
Mike
October 18, 2009 5:20 pm

I’ve always wondered how much those scalpers on front actually make in a year. The leafs are obviously where their bread is buttered and if they are taking losses on those tickets, it’s hard to see them making it back on the other teams since they all sucked this year too. Though I guess TFC is still making them easy money.

I for one am not losing sleep over those scumbags losing money.

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