Amid a particularly dismal season, no one expected the Buffalo Sabres to introduce higher ticket prices. But that’s exactly what the NHL team did. Now, season ticket owners are lashing out over the decision.
The Sabres introduced a change in their pricing structure for the 2020-21 season that puts tickets at a projected cost that’s 2.5 percent more than their current rate, though some season ticket holders claim the increase is much higher. The added cost comes on the heels of a current 29-28 season that has contributed to struggling attendance figures and individual tickets going for pocket change at times.
This season, the Sabres rank 25th in the 31-team NHL in attendance, filling their building to 90.6 percent capacity. And that's ticket sales, not actual attendance, which is much lower.
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) February 27, 2020
Fans took to social media to express their frustrations over the increases as the franchise is in the midst of an eight-year playoff drought. Twitter user @reverendbob716 wrote: “I didn’t go to a game this year and won’t next year. Worst run franchise in pro sports.” Meanwhile, @DuaneS39 said of the Sabres “They don’t care about us anymore. This organization has fallen so far from what it once was.”
Many distraught fans also criticized Sabres owner Terry Pegula for his leadership of the franchise. Since Pegula purchased the team in late 2010, Buffalo has failed to reach the playoffs and amounted a disappointing multi-season record of 273-341.
In addition to the ticket price spike, the new season ticket plan has reduced the amount earned back on an owner’s Sabrebucks card from 2.5 percent to 2 percent. The gift cards allow for easy purchases made within KeyBank Center at the ticket office, Sabres team store, Lexus Club, and at concession areas.
The Sabres’ increase in ticket prices make them the second Buffalo pro sports team to raise costs in 2020. The Bills recently announced an increase in their ticket prices after making a playoff run. However, Sabres season ticket owners’ reaction aligns more with Cleveland Browns fans, who have also expressed their anger over higher pricing decisions amid losing seasons.