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O'Neil and Hugh Weber want to reinvent the Devils as a business


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#21 NewarkDevil5

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:10 PM

True, and so was Jersey City, but there are certain distinctions.  Hoboken (and Jersey City) are a lot closer to Manhattan.  Also, Hoboken did not have close to the same level of blight and crime that Newark does now.  (Newark is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the country).

 

But most importantly, a stadium or an arena has never, to my knowledge, spurred the revitilization that always gets promised.  So yes, Hoboken and Jersey City came back, but not because of sporting team, and their plans for revitilization did not focus on the sorts of projects that Newark has chosen. 

 

Weber ultimately works for the Devils.  His chances of success largely depend on the competence of businesses and politicians based in Newark.  Is that something you would ever bet on?  I certainly wouldn't. 

 

EDIT:  I guess when I was talking about accessiblity, I was thinking of my own circumstances.  I liver in Manhattan now, and when I was in Jersey there was a direct line to Hoboken, so yeah, can't speak for other places.  That's probably why McMullen's plan required a massive infrastructure committment to deal with parking, access by car, etc. 

 

One thing that you're failing to look at which is that Hoboken is 2 square mile with 50,000 people whereas Newark is 24 square miles with 280,000 people. If you change one street in a mile square city you're fast on your way to changing the whole city. The Ironbound has always been deemed safe and is around twice the size of Hoboken with about the same number of people. Downtown is right next to the Ironbound and is around the same size as Hoboken but with an eighth the population. These are the areas you need to focus on, because you're not trying to draw the average Devils fan to Springfield and Irvine Turner Boulevard. Nor are you trying to get them to Roseville and Bloomfield. You're trying to get them to Downtown. If that area can improve to a certain point (which it already has come most of the way) to where people can start to view it as a destination, the improvements will be able to continue to spread little by little through to the rest of the city. After downtown I'd predict that North Broadway will be the next area that will experience heavy redevelopment and improvement. In short, while Hoboken is really only the size of a neighborhood, Newark has neighborhoods within it that are bigger than Hoboken and thus the city as a whole will take a much longer time to achieve the turnaround that Hoboken pulled off.


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#22 DevsMan84

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:23 PM

http://www.nytimes.c...e-taxpayer.html

McMullen wanted the air rights over the proposed arena site...which the state wasn't budging on. I forgot about some of the other intricacies of his Hoboken proposal...the most obvious eye popping one being that is was going to be in partnership with the Dolans.


I also remember a radio interview that McMullen done at the time and he claimed there were tons of devils fans in New York City and that's also part of the reason why he wanted to build the arena there. I don't doubt there are at least some devils fans in the city, but he is off his rocker if the thinks it would be that much to where he would build it there and tell the good part of nj that would have trouble getting to games either via car or train to fvck off.
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#23 DJ Eco

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

I'm sorry but this line is absurd.  Easily accessbile from where in NJ?  Driving in is terrible as you have to deal with rush hour traffic heading into Manhattan, parking is not exactly ample, and the train service is not nearly as good as it is at Newark Penn.  To take the train in from Somerville, NJ, I would have to switch trains in Newark, then take the path to Hoboken after changing at either Journal Sq or Grove street.

 

Agree 100%. On paper, Newark really does make the most sense and always has, when taking into account the infrastructure. Madison Square Garden might be the only other arena in the country that's better/more connected than The Rock, when you think about it..


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#24 Chuck the Duck

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 02:00 PM

I also remember a radio interview that McMullen done at the time and he claimed there were tons of devils fans in New York City and that's also part of the reason why he wanted to build the arena there. I don't doubt there are at least some devils fans in the city, but he is off his rocker if the thinks it would be that much to where he would build it there and tell the good part of nj that would have trouble getting to games either via car or train to fvck off.

 

The general feeling at the time was that he could build a poor man's MSG, where 1/2 of the stadium seating is sold to corporations who use the games for entertainiment purposes, due to the extremely close proximity to NYC.  The rest could be filled in with the average fan who buys ST's, as well as the walk up crowd which they thought would be much better in a city such as Hoboken as opposed to Newark (I actually believe this would have proven to be true).

 

Having lived in Hoboken for years, I have to agree with your prior comments on the headache it would have been to get to/from for anyone that didn't live in Hoboken, JC, Weekhawken, or NYC.  Traffic and parking is a nightmare, the roadways getting into and out of the city can't even remotely capacitate the flow of traffic that they have there now (let alone during the evening rush for a Wed. night game), and there are few train lines that run directly to the city.  It might have been better from a corporate sales standpoint, but for the average fan that arena would have sucked if it was actually built.

 

I have no problem with it being in Newark.  They are slowly getting some good bars and restaurants in the area adjacent to the arena.  And if you like Spanish/Portguese/Brazilian food, there is no better place in the State than the Ironbound which is a short walk/drive from the arena.  Hopefully the new owners can convince the corporate partners they are courting to buy seats/luxury boxes to make the team profitable. More importanly, hopefully, we can make it back to the playoffs sooner rather than later.


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#25 CarterforPresident

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

Jersey city has nice parts, but still plagued by crime and is ranked up there. Then again I'm not sure.. They have Salem being the most dnageorus smaller city in jersey. And Newark over Miami. Dated a girl in Hialeah for two years, I'd take Newark everytime. And AC cracks the top 15. And as well as Camden, I'll take chances in Camden over NY or Oakland, LA( live right next to Camden and went to school their)

Edited by CarterforPresident, 03 April 2014 - 02:12 PM.

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#26 devlman

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 02:25 PM

I cringe a little when I read these people saying theyre still trying to figure out who the Devils fans are. You didnt study that before spending a large amount of money? And, I worry theyre going to do their brand studies and get it all wrong....


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#27 DJ Eco

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 02:35 PM

I cringe a little when I read these people saying theyre still trying to figure out who the Devils fans are. You didnt study that before spending a large amount of money? And, I worry theyre going to do their brand studies and get it all wrong....

 

We ourselves don't even "know who we are." Half the people in the building see us as rabid rough-and-tumble Philly-style fans. The other half loves the local homegrown family nature of being a Devils fan. 

 

Our new owners are absolutely doing the right thing by re-evaluating "who we are" as a fanbase, from a marketing standpoint. Whatever we've been doing for 10-20 years hasn't been working.


Edited by DJ Eco, 03 April 2014 - 02:36 PM.

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#28 Pepperkorn

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:36 PM

I only skimmed the article, so it might have addressed this, but if this plan has any chance of success it has to focus on NJ based businesses.  The big companies across the river are going to take their clients to the Garden or even Barclays every time.  That means none of the big investment banks, law firms, etc, that tend to spend a lot of money on pricey seats to sporting events. 

 

I respectfully disagree.  It's an easy trip from the city - easier than from most of NJ.  In my real-life experience, the on-ice product is preferred by Euro clients.  UK I have to confess seem to be sold on the Rangers for some reason lately.  Chimaira has to get to work on them!!

 

Seriously though -- the big banks DO have corporate seats.  USB had their own box at CAA - I sat there.  All the PR firms had seats - sat there too (I'd name names but most have been acquired and have new names).  Maybe things aren't the same in Newark now -- I have no idea why that would be since it's far more accessible. and yes -- they had seats at the Garden as well.

 

Why would you ever take the train from Somerville rather than New Brunswick other than you can walk to the station - or you enjoy being obstinate.  White House, Lambertville,  OK.  But even then, NOTHING is accessible in NJ  -- sh!t you all drive miles over the course of a week just to hit up your favorite tap rooms. If it's easy to get to Triumph New Hope and Long Valley, then it's easy to get to Newark.


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#29 Pepperkorn

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:40 PM

Our new owners are absolutely doing the right thing by re-evaluating "who we are" as a fanbase, from a marketing standpoint. Whatever we've been doing for 10-20 years hasn't been working.

 

I think what they've (not us btw - thankfully)  been doing is freaking out about money without any real vision or plan - at least nothing they were able to stick to.


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#30 DevsMan84

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:50 PM

I respectfully disagree.  It's an easy trip from the city - easier than from most of NJ.  In my real-life experience, the on-ice product is preferred by Euro clients.  UK I have to confess seem to be sold on the Rangers for some reason lately.  Chimaira has to get to work on them!!

 

Seriously though -- the big banks DO have corporate seats.  USB had their own box at CAA - I sat there.  All the PR firms had seats - sat there too (I'd name names but most have been acquired and have new names).  Maybe things aren't the same in Newark now -- I have no idea why that would be since it's far more accessible. and yes -- they had seats at the Garden as well.

 

Why would you ever take the train from Somerville rather than New Brunswick other than you can walk to the station - or you enjoy being obstinate.  White House, Lambertville,  OK.  But even then, NOTHING is accessible in NJ  -- sh!t you all drive miles over the course of a week just to hit up your favorite tap rooms. If it's easy to get to Triumph New Hope and Long Valley, then it's easy to get to Newark.

 

I know I will regret responding to this but what in God's name are you saying here?  You basically both agreed and disagreed with my reply to Daniel about how it is not easy to get to Hoboken and at the same time try to put in a little sarcastic jab at me.

 

Plus really who cares about where I take the train from and how I want to get to Newark?  Somerville is my closest station to where I live.  Why should I go to New Brunswick and worry about getting hit with flying body parts?

 

I know I am not going to get a rational response out of you to this post and I know I will regret this post the second I hit the "post" button but damn.


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#31 DJ Eco

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 04:17 PM

I think what they've (not us btw - thankfully)  been doing is freaking out about money without any real vision or plan - at least nothing they were able to stick to.

 

I'm not sure what you mean. I think we'd have to wait at least a year (probably 3 or 4) to accurately judge and evaluate what plans of theirs they've enacted that stuck or didn't stick, and their success.

 

The month of July/UFA season will be one big checkpoint of theirs, as well as September/October, but even then we can't give them an accurate A+ or an F either way. With a franchise hemorrhaging money like ours, their success will be all about a long-term plan and vision.

 

In the article, they said they're still spending money and time cleaning up Vanderbeek's mess and legal troubles. Not sure how you or any Devils fans can criticize at this point..


Edited by DJ Eco, 03 April 2014 - 04:17 PM.

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#32 DJ Eco

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 04:39 PM

For example, some of their ideas throughout the year:

  • Honoring season ticket holders and their tenure these past few weeks with meetings, personalized jerseys, being recognized on-screen, and "class pictures".
  • Outdoor "beer garden" area throughout September and October, it was $3 draft Heinekens for season ticket holders; I'm sure they would've continued it if we made the playoffs.
  • New pre-intro video before every game, showing our 1980s and 1990s teams and current veterans. We're a team with a short but important history and no video at The Rock has ever honored that (until maybe a month or two ago, I don't think that video was going on all season)... You can tell our owners came in with a chip on their shoulder and want to market the Devils as THE best team in the local metropolitan area, which it is.
  • Party Poker sponsorship was obviously a big deal, no matter how much we want to make fun of it. The money we get from a deal like Party Poker pays for a couple years of a Stastny contract or some other elite scorer, simple as that; that's how you can view it as. It's more than Vanderbeek was doing. We didn't see any lucrative deals being made during his tenure, only broken corporate relationships and a ton of bad press.
  • If you follow Hugh Weber on Twitter, you'll see he does a lot of Q&As. One of such Q&As, he answered a fan about beer and food options, essentially saying he was actively getting local New Jersey breweries to be tapped at The Rock next season, as well as new food options that were already secured to start next season.

These are just the small details. We don't know the big moves being made behind the scenes, but I like their energy and feel we're genuinely in good hands with Hugh Weber, especially.


Edited by DJ Eco, 03 April 2014 - 04:39 PM.

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#33 TheRedStorm

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:21 PM

Agree 100%. On paper, Newark really does make the most sense and always has, when taking into account the infrastructure. Madison Square Garden might be the only other arena in the country that's better/more connected than The Rock, when you think about it..

 

TD Garden in Boston. Like the old Boston Garden, it's built over North Station.


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#34 Chuck the Duck

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:35 PM

TD Garden in Boston. Like the old Boston Garden, it's built over North Station.

 

I was thinking that same thing.  However, I really can't think of a more convenient place in NJ than Newark to have an arena as it provides relatively easy access by way of car and mass transit.  


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#35 DJ Eco

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:37 PM

TD Garden in Boston. Like the old Boston Garden, it's built over North Station.

 

This is true! Forgot about Boston Garden. Although, we still have an airport nearby! :P

 

But yeah, point is, the average arena around the country isn't hooked up for ease of travel the way places like MSG, The Rock, and Boston Garden: trains, highways, subways, busses. 

 

 

EDIT: Like Chuck the Duck said, not really sure it'd make sense anywhere else in Jersey with the kind of connectivity Newark allows. We all like to complain here, but most arenas are just NOT that easy to get to or offering more than 1 or 2 options. We're very lucky, and it was very well thought out for the long run. Newark will revitalize, it's already begun. Brooklyn, Queens, even Jersey City are pricing middle class people out. And they will be (AND ALREADY ARE) moving further and further west to places like Harrison, Newark or Montclair, depending on what you want. People in their 20s and early 30s who want to keep that city lifestyle simply don't have the opportunity to. Newark will look a lot like Brooklyn in 10 years, I'd put (and will be putting) money on it via smart real estate investment. In 3-4 years, the artsy creative neighborhood will set up shop around The Rock, and within the blink of an eye, those brownstones and brick buildings will have $500,000+ apartments in no time. It's happening in areas of the 5 boroughs further away from midtown than Newark even is, and will happen in Newark too.


Edited by DJ Eco, 03 April 2014 - 05:46 PM.

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#36 95Crash

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:58 PM

We ourselves don't even "know who we are." Half the people in the building see us as rabid rough-and-tumble Philly-style fans. The other half loves the local homegrown family nature of being a Devils fan. 

 

Our new owners are absolutely doing the right thing by re-evaluating "who we are" as a fanbase, from a marketing standpoint. Whatever we've been doing for 10-20 years hasn't been working.

 

That's a fairly accurate and funny description of the divide in Devils fans!

 

 

For example, some of their ideas throughout the year:

  • Honoring season ticket holders and their tenure these past few weeks with meetings, personalized jerseys, being recognized on-screen, and "class pictures".
  • Outdoor "beer garden" area throughout September and October, it was $3 draft Heinekens for season ticket holders; I'm sure they would've continued it if we made the playoffs.
  • New pre-intro video before every game, showing our 1980s and 1990s teams and current veterans. We're a team with a short but important history and no video at The Rock has ever honored that (until maybe a month or two ago, I don't think that video was going on all season)... You can tell our owners came in with a chip on their shoulder and want to market the Devils as THE best team in the local metropolitan area, which it is.
  • Party Poker sponsorship was obviously a big deal, no matter how much we want to make fun of it. The money we get from a deal like Party Poker pays for a couple years of a Stastny contract or some other elite scorer, simple as that; that's how you can view it as. It's more than Vanderbeek was doing. We didn't see any lucrative deals being made during his tenure, only broken corporate relationships and a ton of bad press.
  • If you follow Hugh Weber on Twitter, you'll see he does a lot of Q&As. One of such Q&As, he answered a fan about beer and food options, essentially saying he was actively getting local New Jersey breweries to be tapped at The Rock next season, as well as new food options that were already secured to start next season.

These are just the small details. We don't know the big moves being made behind the scenes, but I like their energy and feel we're genuinely in good hands with Hugh Weber, especially.

 

When the Rock first opened, there were some decent food options and at least a more expanded beer option than at the CAA, so I give Vanderbeek credit for that before he became pressed for money. But it is good to hear that Weber has plans to once again improve that stuff.


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#37 NJDevils1214

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 09:54 PM

I just want a third jersey :P

Holy sh!t! It's scottie!

 

I think the ice girls are a much better idea than the current cheerleaders. Discount nachos night is what will really fill the seats. 


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#38 PWW

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:14 PM

I just want the awesome pretzels they had earlier in the season back. Cinnamon pretzel was my go to snack for a bit and then one game all the stands were just gone. It was so random.


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#39 lazer

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:24 PM

AC baby!

 

edit: pretzels!


Edited by lazer, 03 April 2014 - 11:24 PM.

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#40 Matteau#32

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:24 PM

Not sure if anyone read the comments below the article, but this type of remark iritates the hell out of me:

 

" As a parent, it's a great experience for kids to come and cheer on their heros, the electric atmosphere, getting a hot dog, popcorn, or cotton candy, a program, and maybe a puck or hat. Add that up and for a day and son, that "experience" will cost over $200 for the total package (Tix, Parking, food, etc.). How many people can afford to do that 10-15 times a year?"

 

I am 38.  When I was a kid, my dad took me to WWF a few times a year, until I lost interest when I was 11.  Took me to an occasional game.  My parents are into sports now, but until I was in HS, they really had no interest.  When we did go, my father always made a point to tell me we were not buying all kinds of stuff (food, souvenirs, etc) and if I bothered him for it, it would be the last time he would take me.  That was all I needed to not ask.  Why can't parents simply say, "no?"   All the hats, shirts, jerseys, etc they sell, you can get cheaper in stores.  Does a kid need a new puck or hat for every game he attends?  

 

As far as the article itself, for the lower bowl, you have to drop the prices.  Rangers will be experiencing the same in the coming years.  The value is much better in the upper bowl.  Rangers STH in the upper bowl are making money hand over fist on tickets they are selling.  Lower bowl people are getting killed and on most nights are taking a loss.  When the plans to move to Newark were announced, I thought it was going to be great for the Devils.  Figured the Devils fan living in Jersey who worked in Manhattan, could now take the train to the game from work, and then train home to whatever town.  Something that for the most part was not practical at the Meadowlands.  I am not sure if building up the surrounding area will make much of a difference.  They want to build their season ticket base, but worrying about the "experience" is not going to help much.  The "experience" is going to be an issue for the person who goes to a game or two every few years.  I just can't see people buying season tickets because the arena has a great selection of food.  What does any business do when a product is not selling? Drops the prices.  See: sales at retail stores or when a car dealership wants to clear out the 2014 models beginning Labor Day weekend.  Don't offer discounted parking, offer FREE parking to Season ticket holders.  Yes, FREE.  I know they do not own the lots around the arena, but they can easily work a deal with the local companies.  Even work out a deal to offer train coupons.  These things add value to being a season ticket holder.  Devils are in the same boat as the Mets.  My wife and I thought about getting a Mets plan this season.  But we scrapped it because it wasn't saving us any money off the individual prices.  And, there is no need to have Mets tickets in advance.  Very rarely can I not get tickets a few hours before if I decide to go.  Why commit myself to 10 dates?  Things like Fan fests, player q & a's, forums with management, account reps are nice, but that is not really going to mean much to most people.  

 

As for individual tickets, again, PRICE PRICE PRICE.  The whole "tiered" pricing is ridiculous.  To me, that sends the message that seeing the opponent is more important than seeing the home team. I get the concept about popular match-ups and even trying to gouge the Rangers and Flyers fans, but the Devils price structure is ridiculous.  Looking at it right now on their site.  $410 (I know it is a limited amount at this price) is ridiculous for a regular season game.  

 

Unfortunately, the last thing these guys want to hear is that they need to lower prices.  They would rather offer you a 25-lb bag of $h!t for the same price as the 20-lb bag when people only want a 5-lb bag. 


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