Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Holy Crap Capitals Games Are Expensive

Like shockingly so. For a franchise that has all of one Stanley Cup Final appearance in four decades, no championships and really very little historic greatness to speak of, it is amazing how much they can charge for a marquee game at the Verizon Center.

Then again, I guess they do have this guy.

I found this much out this week as I painstakingly monitored eBay auctions and kept a watch on Stubhub to guarantee that I might actually get to sit somewhere in the crowd for this Sunday's Blackhawks-Capitals game, a game I had pegged since past summer as my preferred visit at long last to see the Caps play hockey. I was hoping I might be able to swindle the ducats through work, but when that avenue dried up I had to resort to the secondary market to find that the Capitals, last year's Presidents' Trophy winners, have instituted a tiered pricing system for this season to get more money out of the more desirable matchups.

I don't really have a problem with this. After all, the Mets and just about every other Major League Baseball team has the same system, but for some reason it didn't occur to me that a game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, which could very well serve as a preview of this spring's Stanley Cup Final would be one of those pricier games.

And boy howdy is it pricey.

I had anticipated that a markup would cause me to part with somewhere between $40-50 for a spot in the upper deck, but after looking at eBay auctions aplenty, I found that this would be nearly impossible and that face value for upper deck seats for this particular game -- behind the goal -- is $95. That's almost $100 to watch from the nosebleeds for a regular season game. Egads.

Now granted, I understand the magnitude of this Sunday's matchup. Both teams are suddenly on incredibly hot tears and happen to have some fo the best young players in the World, one who is younger than me and has already captained a Stanley Cup champion, and another who is younger than me, might be the best player on the planet and appears to have way more fun than I do.

That said, I really didn't want to pay $95 for a ticket, and it took some emotional convincing to finally find tickets that, while overpriced to start with, were still somewhat reasonable considering. In the end last night I purchased a pair of seats in section 407 for a total of $147.50, which, working out to $73.75 each, is technically lower than face value even if it is outrageous. Of course, there were some sticky issues with this. First of all, they're print out e-tickets, and for purposes of building up my personal collection of entertaining ticket stubs, I loathe e-tickets when it's my first time seeing a team.

I managed to convince the original ticket owner to mail me his hard tickets afterward so that I can keep them as a souvenir, so on that front all is well. But because this person obviously had season tickets they aren't victim to ills of tiered pricing which means they pay a flat average rate for each game over the course of the year, and that rate happens to be far lower than face value for this game if you bought it individually, and that rate -- which is a mere $29 -- happens to be plastered in the top left corner of my printed out e-tickets. This begs the question on how I can justify asking a friend to pay me back for all or even part of their ticket when it was more than twice what is listed on the ticket itself.

Conundrums abound.But it could be worse. After all, I still get to see this guy for the first time.



Of course, while I will be seeing two of the hotter teams in the League this Sunday for Team No. 39, I won't be seeing the hottest team, which of course remains the New Jersey Devils who are humming along after cutting down the current deficit to 8 points with 17 games remaining after a 20-2-2 stretch in their last 24 games. The miracle run is still alive, although some jerk is spreading doom and gloom about the Devils' legitimate postseason prospects, but lately talk has sprung up from some experts that New Jersey is not just a possible playoff participant, but a certain one. Even if the Devils don't make the impossible possible, some are saying, in my mind legitimately, that Jacques Lemaire should still be considered for coach of the year.

My guess is that unless New Jersey makes the playoffs, the award will go to Tampa Bay's Guy Boucher, but in any event, watching the Devils right now is a lot of fun -- something it hasn't been for a while.

Finally, and in news that none of you will care about other than me, something else that I haven't been able to watch for a while, Aussie Rules Football, is just over two weeks away from starting its season, and after finding this picture on the twitters yesterday, I'm hopeful there might be a new fan. Yes, that's President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard testing out their best handballs with an authentic footy, known by many fans as a "Sherrin" in the oval office during a state visit by the Aussie head of state. Gillard, as I've mentioned before, apparently has quite the knack for prognostication when it comes to footy, and rumor has it she's an enormous Western Bulldogs supporter. During the visit she gave Obama a cultural education that, according to Barry, nearly cost the U.S. goverment a bust of Abe Lincoln.

Surely that's a joke, just like the price I paid for my tickets for this weekend. But either way, it should be a good visit, if for no other reason than to scratch a team off the list. And apparently it'll be a good visit for the Blackhawks even if they don't wind up coming away from the Verizon Center with two points Sunday. They may not have a Sherrin, but they have a big silver bowl. As a result, they get a day with the President, too.

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