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


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#41 DevsMan84

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 12:51 PM

Most of the complaints in the comments are from soccer moms upset that prices are high in the arena.  Well no sh!t.  I mean have they been to any of the other arena/stadiums in the area?  The Rock is about average in prices compared to the other arenas in the area.

 

The Devils could do a better job with the quality of food, and Hugh has said many times they will be better for next season as well as the beer options.  Sounds hopeful and we will see.


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#42 DJ Eco

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:14 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. 

 

You make a lot of sense and I agree with you on a lot of what you said. Especially the mom complaining about the prices to bring a kid to a game, that's absurd. My parents brought me to a good amount of Devils games and a hell of a lot more MetroStars games (when they were at Giants Stadium). We packed our own food and even snuck in snacks and whole sandwiches and we wouldn't have had it any other way. Getting $15 tickets (per person) to see the MetroStars on a beautiful spring day while enjoying virtually free salami and mozzarella heroes with your family, mannnnnnn, that was the life. So many good memories, and it cost about the same as going to the movies; not to mention I learned then how to be a good fan, even while the MetroStars were the worst team in the league....

 

Although I do think there's a middle ground between them overvaluing the "game-day experience" and you saying it doesn't mean that much. Bringing up the Mets is actually the perfect example. I'm a Mets fan but damn, who wants to consistently go out and see Mets baseball, outside of a few diehards? Everyone I know, even fans of other teams around the country, have a good time at CitiField though and keep going back a few times each year, some even once a month. It's a great ballpark with great food and drink choices and it keeps the "casuals" coming back. As a team that's not selling out games, we could definitely use some of that draw. Not to mention, that aspect of our team HAS definitely improved, and the restaurants and bars around the arena definitely helped a lot in that regard.


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#43 Mitico12

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:15 PM

It's all about the $$$.  Weber and O'Neill could care less about how we care just as long as it doesn't affect the bottom line.


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#44 DevsMan84

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

It's all about the $$$.  Weber and O'Neill could care less about how we care just as long as it doesn't affect the bottom line.

 

Let me guess: 99% of this opinion of yours is based on the fact they changed the goal song, right?


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#45 DJ Eco

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:19 PM

It's all about the $$$.  Weber and O'Neill could care less about how we care just as long as it doesn't affect the bottom line.

 

Well, that goes for any business (which is what this is) including, for example, some medication that might save your life. They don't "care" about saving your life, they care about you needing and buying their medication. Not really up for debate.

 

What is up for debate is if whether or not you think building a powerhouse team is part of their plans to further their business. I would think it is. I think they've realized in a quick year that all their other initiatives are moot if the on-ice product isn't winning games. How we approach free agency season, and whether or not Lou Lamoriello is still our GM in a year, will be good indications of that.


Edited by DJ Eco, 04 April 2014 - 01:24 PM.

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#46 Pepperkorn

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

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..

Not the new owners.  I was talking about VBk.  I meant he had no plan -- thus there was no plan the last 10 years


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#47 DJ Eco

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:04 PM

Not the new owners.  I was talking about VBk.  I meant he had no plan -- thus there was no plan the last 10 years

 

Oh yeah! I agree 100% haha... Whoops.


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#48 Chuck the Duck

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:06 PM

Let me guess: 99% of this opinion of yours is based on the fact they changed the goal song, right?

 

IMO, Mitico is right.  For corporations it ultimately comes down to the bottom line and how they can maximize profits.  The decision regarding the goal song had elements of that as well.  They likely felt that they were losing fans coming to games b/c of the goal song and the atmosphere it was creating based upon some of the complaints being received, so they got rid of it knowing full well that they would take significant backlash in the beginning and it would fade away over time (like it has).  These guys aren't stupid...they knew that they wouldn't lose any customers because of the change, but they might gain some because of it.  To them it was worth the uproar for a few weeks to make a few more dollars.  


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#49 NewarkDevil5

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:12 PM

Not the new owners.  I was talking about VBk.  I meant he had no plan -- thus there was no plan the last 10 years

 

I think Jeff had a plan, but it didn't take the economic disaster of the last 6 years into account. Figure that the Rock opened in 2007 and a year later the economy enters the biggest free-fall since the Great Depression wiping out the stock portfolios of some of the most traditionally sound and stable companies on Wall Street including the very one that Jeff made his fortune at. Whether he was on the inside or not, he wasn't counting on that occurring or he would have insulated himself far better and made far different hedges around his bets. I think that led to a situation that he wasn't really prepared for and threw all his plans off-kilter.


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#50 DevsMan84

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:36 PM

IMO, Mitico is right.  For corporations it ultimately comes down to the bottom line and how they can maximize profits.  The decision regarding the goal song had elements of that as well.  They likely felt that they were losing fans coming to games b/c of the goal song and the atmosphere it was creating based upon some of the complaints being received, so they got rid of it knowing full well that they would take significant backlash in the beginning and it would fade away over time (like it has).  These guys aren't stupid...they knew that they wouldn't lose any customers because of the change, but they might gain some because of it.  To them it was worth the uproar for a few weeks to make a few more dollars.  

 

Well of course they are looking to maximize profits, why else would they be in business?

 

Mitico put out a very basic negative statement concerning our new owners stating they don't care about the fans as long as they make money.  IDK about you but I have seen them throughout the season taking some great feedback and actually following up on it.  They have already promised better food options, more STH perks, and have listed to people giving them suggestions on twitter to improve the experience.  Many of the people bashing them are the ones who are still all butt-hurt over them changing the goal song and seem to think a college game atmosphere is the best game day experience you can have.

 

If JVB would have taken running the team a little more seriously like the new owners instead of giving away or heavily discount tickets, sour relations with both vendors and business clients, and basically hire Devils fans to work for free doing their PR work (aka Generals), maybe JVB would still be running the team today.


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#51 Matteau#32

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:43 PM

 

 

Although I do think there's a middle ground between them overvaluing the "game-day experience" and you saying it doesn't mean that much. Bringing up the Mets is actually the perfect example. I'm a Mets fan but damn, who wants to consistently go out and see Mets baseball, outside of a few diehards? Everyone I know, even fans of other teams around the country, have a good time at CitiField though and keep going back a few times each year, some even once a month. It's a great ballpark with great food and drink choices and it keeps the "casuals" coming back. As a team that's not selling out games, we could definitely use some of that draw. Not to mention, that aspect of our team HAS definitely improved, and the restaurants and bars around the arena definitely helped a lot in that regard.

True, but with the Mets, you can get tickets for much cheaper.  I also know someone who buys the upper deck left field seats and then hangs out in center-field all game.  Waits in line for 2 or 3 innings for shake shack and drinks a bunch of beers,  Plus, summer nights outside as opposed to going to an arena in the middle of winter.  My wife and I are going to bring our daughter to Mets-Pirates on Memorial Day.  She will be almost 8 months old.  Bought Caesar's Box seats because it gives us access to the Caesars Club.  Only doing so because we will have the baby and just in case it is hot and we want to bring her into the air conditioning, or if she gets fussy we can bring her into the club, walk her around.  Tickets cost ~$43 each after the fees.  Do $43 seats get you access to a club at Devils games?  At Rangers games, the cheapest non-obstructed seats are $47 for the season ticket holder.  Like the article said, the upper bowl is full most nights.  It is the lower bowl and suites these guys are worried about and trying to fill.  Hard to get someone to pay $100+ per ticket as a casual fan for the "experience".

 

Even the businesses do not want to waste the tickets.  My friends dad is a podiatrist on Staten Island.  A new Physical Therapy practice opened not far from his office a few years ago.  To try to get my friends dad to send some patients their way, they offered all kinds of tickets.  When they first opened they had tickets to the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils, Mets, Yanks.  Didnt buy jets and giants because of the PSLs.  But now, only have the Rangers and knicks.  even dropped the Yankees as they ate more games than they gave away.  They bought lower level seats for each team.  


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#52 devlman

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 04:12 PM

 

 

If JVB would have taken running the team a little more seriously like the new owners instead of giving away or heavily discount tickets, sour relations with both vendors and business clients, and basically hire Devils fans to work for free doing their PR work (aka Generals), maybe JVB would still be running the team today.

 

False. The ONLY reason JVB doesnt own the team today is because of the arena loans being too much for him to handle on his own once Chambers pulled out. He simply didnt have the cash. Thats why his relationship with vendors became strained to begin with. To suggest he lost ownership because he hired fans to work for free, and that he didnt take ownership seriously is ridiculous considering the effort and money loss he took trying to stay alive every day. He at least intrinsically cared what the fan thought. The new owners care enough to make a buck. They could care less who you are. Lets see if their promises come through.


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#53 DevsMan84

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 04:41 PM

False. The ONLY reason JVB doesnt own the team today is because of the arena loans being too much for him to handle on his own once Chambers pulled out. He simply didnt have the cash. Thats why his relationship with vendors became strained to begin with. To suggest he lost ownership because he hired fans to work for free, and that he didnt take ownership seriously is ridiculous considering the effort and money loss he took trying to stay alive every day. He at least intrinsically cared what the fan thought. The new owners care enough to make a buck. They could care less who you are. Lets see if their promises come through.

 

You are another one who has repeatedly been complaining about the new owners ever since the goal song was changed.  Since then you, as well as others, have gone out of your way to bash anything, even positive things, that the new owners have done or have been trying to do all because of that damn goal song.

 

You are right that Jeff didn't have the cash and that is a big reason with the strained relationship with the vendors.  It does not excuse the fact that his dealings with corporate clients (you know, the ones who pay a ton to get luxury boxes and club seats which are the big money-makers for the arena) was beyond terrible and Jeff's relationship with sponsors was dreadful (example is the Verizon sign debacle in the old Verizon Tower).  Jeff ran the team like a fan which is all nice, but for many years he didn't have to worry about his own checkbook as long as Chambers kept covering the losses.  When Chambers pulled out, Jeff was caught with his pants down and we have seen how he couldn't run the team as a fan by giving away tickets for free or heavily discounting them for every single game as well as the other issues I have pointed to above.  These new owners don't have a business sugar-daddy like Jeff did and these guys have to do everything they can to make people happy to get them to buy tickets.


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#54 CHIP72

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 07:38 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 revitalization did not focus on the sorts of projects that Newark has chosen.

 

I think most Devils fans live throughout north and central Jersey, with smaller numbers in NYC, the NYC suburbs in NYS, south Jersey, and eastern PA.  For most NJ-based Devils fans, including most Devils fans not in Hoboken, Jersey City, or Bayonne, Newark is easier to get to both by car and by public transit than Hoboken is.  The Devils IMO should primarily cater to New Jersey - I mean, that's the place in the team's name (and a big reason why many people who live in New Jersey root for the Devils over the Rangers, Flyers, Islanders, or some other team).

 

Regarding Newark vs. Hoboken or Jersey City in terms of redevelopment, I agree with others who have said Newark is likely to see significant redevelopment in the next 10 years.  So many people who have decided to live in places like Hoboken and Jersey City (and many other locations inside and outside the New York metropolitan area) have made that decision based on 1) amenities (especially restaurants), 2) public transit, and 3) cost.  Newark is well-served by #2 and ranks relatively low on #3, and I think those factors will help attract more of #1.

 

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?

 

I agree with pretty much all of the above.  Like Matteau, my father told me when we attended sports events when I was young (primarily Phillies games at Veterans Stadium) that we weren't going to spend excessive money on food or novelties and that 1) we'd bring our own food or eat before the game (and try to buy 5 pretzels for $1 after the game - this was in the early 1980s, I miss those days price-wise :)) and 2) if I wanted to buy hats or stuff like that, I needed to spend my own money.  Guess what - by doing those kind of things, we were able to attend more games than we would have otherwise, something I appreciate in retrospect and also something I tend to follow to this day.  (I almost never eat at a game, and when possible I bring my own food and drink to a sports event.)  I'm not a parent, but I don't think there is any book out there that says a parent can't say "no" when their child asks him/her to buy him/her something.


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#55 Devils Pride 26

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:12 PM

Speaking of plans that fell through to move the big club, I still wish like hell they moved the Devils farm team back to Lakewood when they built the Blueclaws stadium. That would have been awesome for South/Central folk.


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#56 Chimaira_Devil_#9

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:53 AM

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.

 

Rangers or Pens for some reason!!

 

I think about a third of the guys on my team are Pens fans. The leafs also get a pretty big following.


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#57 thecoffeecake

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:34 AM

I'm really skeptical this will ultimately work, or if it does, only marginally.  I'm sorry, but Newark has been dead for a while, and is never coming back.

You are 100% wrong. First of all, Newark has been developing nicely since the arena opened, especially considering the economy. It's significantly more vibrant now than it was in 2006. Any and every Rust Belt city has the potential to redevelop. The neighborhood I live in at school was a hell-hole ten years ago. The building I live in was sold for $20,000 in 2002, and was listed last year at $350,000. Cities and neighborhoods change. The Millenial generation is moving back into the inner cities. Newark is ripe for gentrification, and residents in the city are growing concerned. They're trying to figure out how to deal with the oncoming gentrification. New York is much too expensive for most college grads to live in, Hoboken and Jersey City aren't much cheaper. Rent in Newark right now is dirt cheap, and college grads are going to start moving in with such easy access to NYC. I'd personally love to cash in a NYC paycheck and pay Newark rent. Invest in Newark now; in five years it will be too late. The population will climb back to where it was before deindustrialization, and Newark is going to be a serious city again.It's happening everywhere. NYC, Philadelphia, DC, Boston. Places like Baltimore and Hartford are next.


Edited by thecoffeecake, 08 April 2014 - 12:35 AM.

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