Fans Game Experience: Buffalo Sabres Need Help

Last night the NHL was back in action, and I was at the game. Going to a Buffalo Sabres game in Buffalo is thought of as a great time. While the pregame pit stop at the local bar is a good time the Sabres game and experience leaves a lot to be desired.

The night got started at Iron Works an old warehouse turned sports, and music venue. It’s a nice spot to have a beer or two before talking the short walk to the First Niagara Center. Buffalo Sabres: Photo taken by Patrick HelperThe drink prices and food prices are very fair. There are a few TV’s and the owners kept the charm of the brick and word structure. But, sadly that is where your good time might end.

I entered the FNC around 6:30, and you could hear crickets. There was little to no fan involvement, poor music playing, and an overall feeling of disconnect. The Sabres need to find a way to get the fans involved, and the on ice product is not going to do that for them. There is almost nothing going inside the arena. I had a guy sitting behind me who is from Toronto, and has Toronto Maple Leafs tickets. He couldn’t believe how dull and lifeless the FNC was.

Now, don’t get me wrong the Sabres are a bad team in the middle of a rebuild, and there is more than a little uncertainty surrounding several of the team’s top players. But, that doesn’t excuse the Sabres poor fan experience. Ticket prices are not high if you take the NHL average ticket price, but in Western New York prices are at their max. Sabres fans love hockey and always have, but it’s getting harder and harder to justify spending hard-earned money to see a bad team, and experience a bad event.

When the on ice product falls short the fan experience needs to bridge the gap.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres NHL News Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Mike Flynn

    Not sure what u expect when going to see a hockey game other than to see hockey played. As you said the sabres r a last place team it’s hard to get excited about games that mean nothing. What would you expect pegula to have done? Have live bands playing free stuff what more do u want. I love in Ottawa and when I go see the sabres play I’m reminded on how much better the overall game experience is in buffalo, about all fans have to look forward to is expensive beer but that’s what it is don’t want to spend money to I to the games watch it at home. I’m more then happy just to see my team play.

    • Patrick Helper

      I’m fine with just watching the game, but there are some people who need more. I’m coming at this from there was a time the fans reacted and were involved. Yes, winning can fix everything. But going to the game for some is about a total experience, and that’s were I believe the Sabres are lacking. Its fine for true hockey fans like us, but the non hard core fan wants more.

  • Palm Tres

    I hear what you are saying Mike, but this is the day and age of the Fan Experience. Gone are the days of walking into a cold concrete building and eating an hours old hot dog for $5. Ever since the 90s fans have come to expect some “glitz” to go along with sporting events. So to answer your
    question: Modern day fans expect a spectacle when attending a sporting event, especially if the team isn’t worth paying to see.