Less than three weeks into the start of their respective seasons, the Red Wings and Pistons are already facing questions about why the seats at games look so empty, and the teams/arena operators are already coming up with excuses, none of which make any sense.
The Athletic’s Craig Custance took a look at this yesterday (subscription required), speaking with the CEO of Olympia Entertainment, who basically said something along the lines of, “Our new arena is so nice, fans just aren’t going to their seats because there’s so much to see!”
Word for word, here’s what he said:
“They’re showing up,” Wilson said of Red Wings fans. “They’re there. The tickets are sold… they’re there, they’re coming, they’re just enjoying the arena. Let’s put it that way.”
Which seems insane, like a flat-out lie, and like they’re trying to cover up for their attendance woes. And like he’s doing an impersonation of Donald Trump in the way he constantly repeats that the fans are there.
I get it’s a fancy new arena, and any time you go to a new arena you want to explore and check it out. But if that’s the case, people will just get there early and walk around in the hour or so they have before the game actually starts. Not when the game is going on, especially if it is a close game.
My question, as you may have guessed from the title, if you’re going to spend all that money on tickets to watch the game (and not to mention however much more on parking), why the hell would you spend the majority of the game not in your seats, instead choosing to watch the game in some stupid lounge or bar with $11 beers? If you were comped tickets, I could see that since you’re there for free and may not feel as obligated to watch the game.
But even if you get free/cheap tickets, that’s the entire reason you went, to watch the game that is being played on the floor/ice in front of your seats, not to sit in a bar. And it’s not like that bar has any special that your local dive/sports bar doesn’t have. Maybe it might have more team-specific memorabilia that you won’t see at the bar outside the arena, but that’s it.
Your local bar has the same HD TVs, probably has more beers on tap or in bottles, more food options, and all at a fraction of the price. Why would you drop $100-plus per person to go to the arena and watch on a TV in some built-in bar, when you could get the same experience in a sports bar for $25 total? Shoot, for $25 at the sports bar you can probably get six beers, an order of nachos, and have enough left to tip your server. At the arena, that’s probably two beers.
What I’m saying is, the Red Wings and Pistons are lying. Yes, there might be some on the concourse and in these lounges watching, but not enough to make it look like the crowd you get when a blizzard hits town.
Oh, and if you want the real reason fans aren’t going to Little Caesars Arena? It’s because both teams stink, and the teams jacked up ticket prices this season. It’s as simple as that.