FromThisSeat Blog

 

 

Welcome to the FromThisSeat Blog.

Here our editors will bring you plenty of news coverage on tickets, ballparks, stadiums and arenas as they pertain to the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA. To view some of our older articles, just click on the Archives. If you have any questions or suggestions pertaining to the articles, feel free to 'Contact Us' via the navigation bar.

April 14, 2014

See that guy in the photo holding the baseball? Yeah, that's Zack Hample. Looks just like your ordinary baseball fan that you'd encounter in any 1 of the 30 Major League Ballparks on any given night. But he's not just your average baseball fan. Far from it. He's part celebrity, part philanthropist, part author and part world traveler. Many of us want to see all 30 Major League ballparks in person. He did that years ago and has done it many times over. He's known for being the fan with the world's largest collection of baseballs from Major League Baseball games. He acquires them at games like you and I get hot dogs and $8 beers. We first learned about Zack when we stumbled upon his MLB hosted blog, which we have linked at the foot of the article. He was kind enough to answer a few questions that we had that may not have been documented just yet. 

Citizens Bank Park - 2012 NHL Winter Classic Photo Source: SportingNews.com

March 26, 2014

The NHL has proven that outdoor games are a winning idea. In fact, they are perhaps part of the formula that has recently helped the NHL overthrow the NBA in terms of popularity in the United States. Hockey, after all, originated on frozen ponds where there were very few rules (hence, the fighting). So once a year, it's nice for the NHL to pay homage to old time hockey with an outdoor game.  The trend began back in 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills, where the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. The result was a 2-1 shootout victory for the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Up until 2014, the inaugural game was the most attended Winter Classic game in the history of the series. Seeing outdoor hockey games played at classic venues like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field only added to the Winter Classic's appeal. 

Beginning in 2014, Commissioner Bettman also introduced and coordinated the "Coors Light Stadium Series", a lineup which featured two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium in LA and an outdoor game at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Also on the menu was an outdoor game played on March 2, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia between the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators. Did all of this seem like a good bit of overkill? Yeah, we thought so too. 

For the initial 6 years, NHL fans knew to expect a single game right on or around New Year's Day in which they could watch two of the NHL's elite (often Original 6 teams) go at it. I myself would often ponder what other potential matchups NHL fans could expect to see in coming years for future Winter Classics. 

  • Maybe the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets at Ohio Stadium, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes?
  • What if the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Montreal Canadiens at the Rogers Centre with the roof open? 
  • The Colorado Avalanche could host a game at either Sports Authority Field, home of the Broncos, or at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.
  • Or maybe have the Dallas Stars play the Minnesota Wild at newly constructed Target Field in Minneapolis?

Tickets for many of the outdoor games were overpriced, selling out initially on the primary market but the excess inventory on websites like Stubhub quickly dropped in price. The threat of snow also drove down the ticket prices for the Blackhawks - Penguins matchup at Soldier Field, an element NHL fans never have to worry about in their home arenas. On the day off the Winter Classic, tickets for the upper portion of Michigan Stadium were still in excess of $200 for each ticket. In reference to the photo below, I'm not sure if $200+ would be worth the investment given the small size of the rink and the monstrous capacity of Michigan Stadium. 

Michigan Stadium - 2014 NHL Winter Classic Photo Source: DailyMail.co.uk

None of the Stadium Series' tv ratings were able to rival that of the Winter Classics of past years. Though, they didn't set any records, they were still pretty solid for the Stadium Series' first go around. The Penguins-Blackhawks Stadium Series finale drew a rating of 2.1, the highest non Winter Classic game in NBC's history. According to press, Bettman and other NHL officials wanted the outdoor games being promoted both going into and after the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia which I can respect. He also wanted additional regular season exposure for hockey on major networks like NBC and ESPN. With that said, there are no plans to schedule as many outdoor games in coming years which is just the way NHL fans seem to like it. One game outdoors each season is good enough and sets distinction. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

 

 

 Photo Source: TiqIQ.com

March 18, 2014

FromThisSeat.com is happy to announce an ongoing partnership with the ticket search engine 'TiqIQ' beginning immediately. TiqIQ, founded by Entrepreneur Jesse Lawrence, is America's largest ticket search engine that offer sports fans the best deals on tickets from companies such as Ticketmaster, Ebay, PrimeSport, ScoreBig, et al. What separates TiqIQ from other ticket search engine websites like SeatHound, SeatGeek, TickPick and the now defunct FanSnap, is that they offer in depth sports and concert editorials as well as real time information on the latest ticket price trends.  Think of them as the Kayak.com of the "Ticket World" but they go the extra mile into making sports fans more knowledgeable about their purchases. 

From now on, FromThisSeat will be facilitating sales for TiqIQ on all of it's team pages, providing fans with a direct link to upcoming team schedules as well as the best deals according to where you would like to sit. 

"It was a no-brainer", according to FromThisSeat President John Mann II. "I had been working with Nick Tranfaglia who is their Business Development Director for quiet some time trying to figure out how exactly we could implement TiqIQ into our website. FromThisSeat's goal has always been to be a one-stop shop for sports fans when it comes to learning more about their ticket purchases before shelling out their hard earned money. Ticket prices and demand are at an all-time high and the salaries of athletes like Robinson Cano and Joe Flacco partly reflect that. They already had a strong ongoing relationship with many well-known blogs and websites like the Washington Post, SBNation and FanSided. I would encourage any sports related blog to explore working with TiqIQ simply because it would be an excellent additional revenue stream and their info will provide value to your readers. They've been featured on ESPN, Forbes, Sport Illustrated and the New York Times numerous times so their footprint is extremely large right now."

Webmasters can find out more about how to join TiqIQ's publisher network at http://www.tiqiq.com/publisherpage.aspx . You can also follow them on Twitter @TiqIQ. 

 

FenwayParkSJ Photo Source: Stadium Journey

 March 17, 2013

 

There used to be a time when sports fans stumbled into stadiums and arenas blindly. We knew very little about the Fenway Parks and the Madison Square Gardens - maybe we had seen Google images of them or knew only what we could see on TV. But we all had heard the countless stories told by our friends who had visited those places and our interests were stimulated. Those days of the unknown, my friends, are over. Founded in 2009, Ann Arbor native Paul Swaney has launched 'Stadium Journey' into the most comprehensive stadium review site on the web. Additionally, the website is complimented by a monthly magazine he also publishes including it's March installment of "Iconic Venues of College Basketball".

The bread and butter of Stadium Journey is that it uses a formula to compute a venue's 'FANFARE SCORE' and 'CROWD SCORE' for fans. How are these scores computed? Paul has compiled a list of both regional and international correspondents who visit venues in their area and report back to the world according to the following six factors.

 

  • Food and Beverage -  We all know how expensive concessions are at stadiums and arenas around the country; it borders highway robbery. If there is a way you can save money, Stadium Journey will let you know about it or at least give you a heads up on what you can expect to pay. Also, what are the favorites? I've heard of the 'Dodger Dog' and the 'Fenway Frank' but are they really worth the money? Is the import beer selection below average or extensive at the arena? 
  • Atmosphere - If you've traveled to a number of different venues in a variety of leagues, you'll know that the atmosphere varies from place to place. You could be walking into a venue as dead and calm as Nassau Coliseum in Long Island or as lively as Yankee Stadium when the Red Sox are in town.
  • Neighborhood - From what I've read, many stadiums and arenas are erected into undeveloped areas of the city because they know other businesses will follow suit. Should you worry about leaving your car parked in a distant lot in a sketchy neighborhood? Or should you expect a thriving district like Wrigleyville in Chicago with bars and restaurants on every street corner?
  • Fans - This is a concern for a lot of fans, especially in the Northeast where fans tend to be a little more hostile than other fan bases. Will I get beat up for wearing my Yankee jersey into Fenway Park? Do the Duke students at Cameron Indoor Stadium really have that much of an impact? Do fans arrive to the game late like at Dodger Stadium? Or do they try to beat the traffic and leave 10 minutes before the conclusion of the game? Fans are different, you get the picture. Some cheer louder than others.
  • Access - Accessibility is very important. Parking is a headache in almost every city and it's expensive. Not every city has a light rail system and some venues are even in the suburbs and not in the downtown landscape (Scotiabank Place, Marlins Park, Palace of Auburn Hills). Stadium Journey will let you know the easiest way to get to where you're going.
  • Return on Investment - OK, so you paid $300 for two tickets to a game and was it worth it? Some tickets are a bargain and some tickets are a complete ripoff. The fan cost index should always be taken into account when venturing into any of these stadiums and arenas (total cost of taking a family of four to a game).
  • Extras - That Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center is pretty darn cool. And so is the Wayne Gretzsky statue outside of Rexall Place. Or how about the festivities at the Buffalo Bills practice facility before the games at Ralph Wilson Stadium? Some organizations do just a little more to add icing to the cake for the fan experience.

 

All factors are then rated on a scale of 1 to 5 by the correspondent. Those numbers are then averaged in to both the 'FANFARE SCORE' AND 'CROWD SCORE'.

Did I mention Stadium Journey covers much more than just the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB? You'll likely find your favorite venue documented if you are a fan of Nascar, college sports, minor league baseball and European soccer. You would never book a stay at a Motel 6 without reading it's reviews online first. Your next trip to the ball game should be no different.

StadiumJourney.com

July 19, 2012

 

Even if you're a casual sports fan or concert goer, you may have heard about the oncoming of 'paperless ticketing', a concept implemented primarily by ticket giant Ticketmaster. What exactly is paperless ticketing? Paperless ticketing is a system in which the credit card used to purchase tickets to an event takes the place of the actual tickets. The overall idea is to prevent tickets from hitting the secondary ticket market for resell. Ticketmaster et al. claim that the system is a more convenient alternative to will call, mail in and print at home options.

 

Speaking as a fan, there is nothing more convenient than printing your tickets at home. It completely eliminates the worries of whether or not your tickets will arrive in your mailbox on time or if they will be waiting for you when you get to the venue.

 

How does the system work upon the fan's arrival at the venue? The fan presents that same credit card used to make the purchase and a government issued I.D. at gate entrances. The name on the credit card and the I.D. must match exactly or problems will arise at the gate. A slip with the seat’s location is printed after the credit card is swiped and entrance is granted which means the process isn't exactly paperless.

There are only two obvious advantages with paperless ticketing; fans will be able to purchase tickets at face value and tickets can no longer be lost, forgotten or stolen. What are the disadvantages of using paperless ticketing? Well, how much time do you have to read this article?


  • No gift cards. The appeal of gift cards is that it allows fans to purchase tickets to events they know they will be able to attend. Gift cards won't grant access to the venue, only a credit card will.
  • Makes the ticket market more difficult to forecast; will fans purchase last minute due to fear of being unable to attend?
  • Issues will present themselves at the gate when credit cards are expired, lost, declined and when the names don’t match the I.D.
  • Threatens the livelihood of Ticket Brokers, Stubhub, Ticket Scalpers, Ebay.
  • Allows the promoter, venue or artist to decide which events will be paperless and which will be traditional. What is their criteria in making that decision? Either make all events paperless or don't implement it at all.
  • Less incentive for fans to purchase season tickets with the inability to get rid of the tickets.
  • Once an event is sold out, that’s it. A fan has virtually no chance to attend the event. Tickets can be transferred but there are fees involved.
  • No more bargains from ticket holders wanting to get rid of their tickets.
  • No more ticket stubs as keepsakes. When the Fenway Park's and Wrigley Field's are long gone, what will fans have as mementos?
  • No cash or check transactions at the box office- Believe it or not, many fans still do not have credit cards which means they will be unable to attend an event using paperless ticketing.
Fortunately for fans, there is a nonprofit organization going to bat for fans and fighting for their rights. The Fan Freedom Project, based in Washington D.C., has been raising awareness against paperless ticketing nationwide over the past year. FromThisSeat.com was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with two of their prime leaders this past week at Ticket Summit Las Vegas and was able to learn a little more about their duties and responsibilities.
 

  Here is brief video of Director of Public Affairs Telly Campbell discussing the Fan Freedom Project at Ticket Summit New York. 

 

In conclusion, could you imagine purchasing a vehicle and being told you could never trade it or sell it? When you make a purchase, you own it. Implementing paperless ticketing eliminates the secondary ticket market completely and could potentially leave thousands jobless. To learn more about what you as a fan can do to fight paperless ticketing in terms of legislation, you can visit the Fan Freedom Project's domain at http://www.fanfreedom.org.

 

Lebron James Photo Source: Cleveland.Com

June 22, 2012

Since joining the NBA in the fall of 2003, all eyes have been on Lebron James; the self proclaimed 'Chosen One'. Aside from his inability to win an NBA title until last night, he has been under constant criticism for little things he has done both on and off of the court. Things that 'Jordan or Magic would have never done', although I am a firm believer that social media has magnified the actions of today's sports figures worldwide and we never knew of their shortcomings and habits.

Let's begin back in his high school days when he accepted a Hummer SUV although it was common knowledge that both he and his mother were unemployed and on welfare.
Lebron Inherits Hummer

He was also believed to have accepted a number of throwback jerseys from a local sports store, more specifically a Wes Unseld jersey. The jerseys were rumored to have retailed for a combined $845. Nothing wrong with accepting gifts, just not when you're a highly touted high school athlete. It just doesn't look good and could jeopardize their amateur status.

Or how about the time he rocked the Yankees hat at the Cleveland Indians game? Aren't you from Cleveland, bro? Disrespectful.

Most importantly, who could forget the way he exited Cleveland? Rather than having your agent announce the decision to news outlets like everyone else, Lebron had to have a one hour special on a weeknight to announce his decision. Perhaps the most angered by his decision was Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Only because Lebron's exit hit him right in the wallet, though. What are the attendance numbers for the Cavaliers since Lebron's exit? Extremely poor.

Perhaps the most bizarre action Lebron has taken was the PowerPoint he had made to attract sponsors to his 26th birthday party which you can see at the following link.

Lebron James PowerPoint Slideshow

Was all of that necessary? A PowerPoint for your birthday is just straight up arrogant, sir.

Whether or not this guy still disappears during the 4th quarter is an unknown but he has a title now so let's let Lebron enjoy it. But for some reason, I have a feeling that the haters are still lurking. If not, why do some headlines read 'Is Lebron's title bad for the NBA?' Every professional athlete has the right to play their sport for whatever franchise he or she desires. And in no way did Miami purchase this title. It was earned.

 

Joe Louis Arena Photo Source: Score Hockey Tickets

May 25, 2012

It has become common knowledge in the world of sports that new stadiums and arenas rarely yield the economic impact forecasted. Take for example, Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati; a debt Hamilton County taxpayers will have looming over their heads for years to come. And although the city of Detroit still has a fragile economy, Hockey Town's Joe Louis Arena has began to show it's age after it's 33rd season. Hence, a proposal for a new venue that will possibly host both the NBA's Pistons and the NHL's Red Wings as tenants.

The franchise has already selected an architect for the new NHL arena in Detroit's downtown region; HKS who also helped construct the American Airlines Center in Dallas (home of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks). The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Pistons, has also seen better days as it has been home to the Pistons since 1988. The arena also stands a good 40 minutes from downtown in a distant Detroit suburb. Relocating to downtown would increase accessibility to the Pistons for fans which means higher attendances and more revenue. Being able to split the rent with another professional franchise provides an even greater incentive for a new venue for both parties.

The Red Wings are still considering renewing their lease with 'The Joe'. Other possible options would be to temporarily play their home games at the Palace for a few seasons while awaiting the new arena's construction. The city of Detroit should love the idea of a new NHL arena simply because of the businesses that would set up shop upon the arena's construction. Such businesses would likely include restaurants, hotels, retail and office spaces which means more jobs in a city with a sky-high unemployment rate.

Yes, 'The Joe' has perhaps more history than any other hockey venue standing today. But as other NHL arenas are constructed, so too must one of the game's most popular franchises.

 

  Photo Source: Warriors Team Store

June 12, 2012

Many basketball franchises have begun to keep up with the Jones' when it comes to the need for new NBA arenas and the Warriors are next on the list. By 2017, a new NBA arena will be erected on the scenic San Francisco waterfront in a neighborhood known as Piers 30-32. The constructions costs of the arena are expected to range anywhere from $450 to $500 million dollars. In addition to the expensive construction costs, the Warriors will be required to spend money on redeveloping the site before construction can even begin.

The Golden State Warriors have had a long run in Oakland dating back to 1966 but has always called the Bay Area home. Not since 1971 has the franchise played their home games in San Francisco which is only a stone's throw from the city of Oakland. It has been suggested the the majority of Warriors season ticket holders actually reside in the San Francisco area. Additionally, San Francisco will be able to offer more corporate sponsorship for the franchise than if the franchise were to remain in Oakland. That is indeed often the appeal of building a new NBA arena, attracting sponsors and profiting from the club and luxury seating options.

There has been little proof that the constructing new arenas provides economic benefits to a downtown area; often because of the debt looming over the city's taxpayers. But what usually follows the completion of new sports venues is new hotels, restaurants, shopping and office spaces. Oakland could use the supply of new jobs much more so than the neighboring city on the other side of the bridge. Whether or not the Oakland Athletics will be able to gain approval for a new ballpark has yet to be seen but it would be a shame if Oakland were to lose the Athletics as well.

 

Kris Brannon, Chris Hansen  Photo Source: Tri City Herald

May 19, 2012

Economists suggest that there is little evidence suggesting that new sports venues create a positive impact on a city's economy. However, Seattle is choosing to ignore that theory and has finally reached an agreement on a new NBA arena in the SODO section of town. The new arena will cost upwards of $500 million dollars depending upon whether or not an NHL franchise will be in the picture. Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, pictured far right, has a group of investors that will contribute $300 million towards the arena's construction while the city of Seattle will contribute more than $100 million derived from bonds.

The deal has been met with plenty of skeptics, primarily officials associated with Seattle's Port Authority. A new NBA arena with potentially two professional franchises brings heavy traffic to the area. Additional traffic will also welcome the opening of new hotels, restaurants, offices and retail. The ports plan to expand their operations in the future and doubt that the area could sustain the freight and constant transportation of supplies. Adding an NBA arena could threaten the thousands of jobs the Port plans to add in the future.

Let's also not forget that both Safeco and Century Link Field are also in the SODO neighborhood and boast huge audiences as well. The city doesn't see much of a problem with the arena's proximity though, with only eight Seahawks games per season. Additionally, the NBA and MLB seasons end as the other begins their respective season. Wouldn't hotels, restaurants and other businesses create new jobs as well? Why sure. But it's industrial jobs that helped shape and expand many American cities; not retail and hospitality and certainly not professional sports franchises.

The old Key Arena could house the Supersonics II when an NBA franchise is inherited. The most likely possibility is the New Orleans Hornets now that the Sacramento Kings have secured a new NBA arena in Sacramento's city center. The NHL franchise that could land in Seattle is now extremely uncertain; the Phoenix Coyotes were purchased earlier this month by a group of investors headed by Greg Jamison.

Phoenix Coyotes Logo Photo Source: Newpaper.LI

May 15, 2012

Formerly the Winnipeg Jets, May has been a historic month for the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes. Shortly before edging out the Nashville Predators for a Western Conference Final berth, the league found a businessman that has agreed to purchase the franchise that filed for bankruptcy three short seasons ago. Former San Jose Sharks General Manager Greg Jamison has a group of investors that have agreed to shell out more than $170 million for the franchise which would likely eliminate any hopes of the Nordiques returning to Quebec City. Jamison has a proven track record of success by eventually building a strong fan base in San Jose; a franchise that was also once irrelevant.

After the NHL revived the Coyotes in 2009, essentially rescuing them from bankruptcy, the franchise has consistently been dead last in attendance among the 30 NHL arenas. The fact that the franchise continues to lose millions of dollars in the desert raises the question of why anyone would consider the Coyotes a good investment. The city of Glendale will begin paying the franchise nearly $15 million per season to remain in the city; a decision that still needs to be voted on by the Glendale city council.

The main incentive to keep the Coyotes in Glendale is that they're the primary tenant in a relatively new NHL arena. Jobing.com Arena all of a sudden becoming vacant would cost the city millions in the taxpayer dollars used to construct the venue. Area residents are excited of the Coyotes new lease on life while many others also could care less if the Coyotes were to relocate to another city. A relocation would further place a burden on the National Hockey League via various relocation costs.

NHL logo Photo Source: The Hockey Writers

May 4, 2012

1. American Airlines Center - $420 (M)

2. Staples Center - $375 (M)

3. Prudential Center - $375 (M)

4. Consol Energy Center - $321 (M)

5. Bell Centre - $270 (M)

6. Air Canada Centre - $265 (M)

7. Verizon Center - $260 (M)

8. Wells Fargo Center - $210 (M)

9. Bank Atlantic Center - $185 (M)

10. Jobing.com Arena - $180 (M)

11. United Center - $175 (M)

12. Nationwide Arena - $175 (M)

13. Scotiabank Place - $170 (M)

14. HP Pavilion - $162.5 (M)

15. Rogers Arena - $160 (M)

16. Pepsi Center - $160 (M)

17. TD Garden - $160 (M)

18. PNC Arena - $158 (M)

19. Bridgestone Arena - $144 (M)

20. Tampa Bay Times Forum - $139 (M)

21. Scottrade Center - $135 (M)

22. MTS Centre - $133.5 (M)

23. Xcel Energy Center - $130 (M)

24. First Niagara Center - $127.5 (M)

25. Honda Center - $123 (M)

26. Madison Square Garden - $123 (M)

27. Scotiabank Saddledome - $97.7 (M)

28. Joe Louis Arena - $57 (M)

29. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - $31 (M)

30. Rexall Place - $17.3 (M)

 

Summary

Of the 30 NHL arenas listed, it's important to note that some of the venues were constructed with Canadian dollars. I didn't convert those costs into what they would cost in American dollars. It's obvious that the older NHL arenas such as Nassau Coliseum (Islanders) and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit (Red Wings) had meager construction costs only because they were built many years ago.

Why did the American Airlines Center cost so much to erect? I would have to guess because the plaza is complete with retail and office spaces. Implementing businesses into a sports complex is a bright idea. It encourages a corporate presence and also encourages many of the businesses to attend games after work with clients and guests.

After the second phase of renovations to Madison Square Garden is completed this Summer, their ownership will have spent more than 850 million dollars on the arena's facelift. While the renovation costs seem outrageous, MSG is the oldest NHL arena and the ownership has no intentions of constructing a new arena for the Rangers and Knicks.

Of the 30 NHL arenas, the Staples Center is the only venue that is home to three professional sports franchises; the Kings, Clippers and Lakers. Additionally, 10 of 30 NHL arenas also host an NBA franchise.