The Amerks have already started planning for the 2010/2011 season and one of the changes that will come is the closing of sections 211 – 217 which will lower capacity to around 7,668 seats, down from current capacity of 10,652. This is a great move by the team that probably should have been done a long time ago to force people to sit in the center sections with the hopes of creating a better atmosphere to enjoy the games.
As it is now there can be over 1,000 people sitting in those sections for a Friday or Saturday night game with a lot of other areas left looking empty. One thing to note is that with the new changes if a game does sell out those sections will not be opened up, the game will be considered a sell out. There’s very few teams that can regularly sell over 10,000 seats for a game and a number of teams that also have sections of their buildings closed off.
When talking real paid attendance numbers it’s appearing as if this season could be one of the best in a number of years. A lot of people not familiar with the topic of comp tickets still think that attendance has been horrible compared to what was announced years ago. The issue is when you look at the actual amount of people at the games it’s a lot more than were present during those years.
A lower capacity and everyone sitting together will help create that environment of the days when the building was smaller. That’s what helps Syracuse, Binghamton, and other smaller arenas have that “better atmosphere” to them. It’s smaller crowds but everyone is together.
If you’re not familiar with where those sections are, here’s a layout below. They are the sections on the Broad Street side of the building. The reason the closure does not continue over to 218 and 219 is because of where the production booth is up top.
Any current season ticket holders in those sections are being allowed to move their seats and stay grandfathered for one season at their current rate.
If you’re curious about cheap tickets, those will still be available in the balcony (and possibly elsewhere, I have not yet seen ticket pricing for next season). If you just rolled your eyes about sitting in the balcony I can guarantee you that the “loud ones” up there are passionate Amerks fans.
This is an awesome realistic approach to what the market is for minor league hockey today. This past weekend proved that the Buffalo Sabres minor league team does not attract a game changing crowd and that the attendance numbers have NOTHING to do with that.
This should help add more value to what tickets will be available and should also help the team sell more group rate tickets and really have the building full on more than one occasion.