Mitch Albom rants about the empty seats at the Joe in a column today.
Over at BtJ, Joe Hass has a guest blog tearing into Albom for it. He said a lot of things I agree with but I feel the need to chime in.
I differ from Joe in that I like the Mitch Albom of old. Albom's columns from the 1998 run in particular. The Mitch Albom of today I hardly read 'cause I don't read the Freep anymore. I've been told I'm not missing much.
Albom gives the predictable argument of "Times are tough but if we can't sell out playoff games we shouldn't be called Hockeytown." Well, I've given my thoughts on that title before, so I won't argue with him there.
Joe touched on how the cheapest Wings playoff tickets are more expensive than the most expensive Lions tickets. Let me break down the costs a little more, using my own trip last night as an example.
I got on Ticketmaster's web site right when tickets went on sale last Friday at 10:00 AM. The cheapest seats available were $140 each. That would be section 208, center ice, halfway up the upper bowl. Great seats (aside from the people behind us spilling their beer all over the place) but that starts us at a cost of $280 for two of us to go.
Since I bought the tickets through Ticketmaster (I'm in Lansing, going down to the box office in the middle of a workday isn't an option), there was a $6 "convenience charge" on each ticket and an "order processing charge" of $4.30 on the whole order putting it at $296.30. To round things out, since I actually wanted to have tickets in my hand before leaving for the game, there was a $14.50 shipping fee. I could have left the tickets at will-call for a dollar or printed them myself for $2.50 but that puts me at a total of $310.80 just to get in the door.
Driving in from Lansing takes about a tank of gas. Given that cost these days, there's another $50, but I'll call it $40 since it wasn't the whole tank. Total so far, $350.80.
Getting to the Joe, parking is another $15 at the JLA structure. We're up to $365.80 and that's just to get to the arena and get in.
I won't count the jersey I bought 'cause anyone can cut that cost out but at this point it's 6:00 and we're hungry. Tack on $5 each for two slices of pizza (admittedly, they were rather big slices and pretty tasty) and a $3 bottle of water that we shared and didn't even get to keep the cap for. We're at $363.80.
Trying to cut costs, we didn't get any more food throughout the game, so we made it out at that number but I needed a snack to keep me awake on the drive home. Another $10 at McDonalds and we round out the night at a grand total of $373.80.
So for only two people, that's nearly $400 to go to just one game.
This was my first playoff game of the season because, while I think I make decent money, I can't justify spending that much more than a couple times (even once was a stretch but I consider myself dedicated).
So, Mr. Albom, you've got all of the answers. Enlighten me. How should I magically be able to afford this trip several times a week? Don't worry, I don't expect you to answer. There is no way. And you should realize that before you insult the Wings fans that try to make it work.