Buffalo is a city of two major sports league teams – the Sabres (NHL) and the Bills (NFL). Given the Bills consistently disappointing results with a corresponding lack of interest from fans, the burden falls on the Sabres to present a respectable team for the city. Unfortunately, the team has not made the very simple task of making the NHL playoffs since 2010, putting them in the same sad state as the Bills. In its 48 years of existence it has yet to win a Stanley Cup.
But is this the year for a turnaround? The team currently holds a solid position to make the playoffs, posting a record of 21-13 and 48 points, keeping it ahead of the wild card competition. Those 34 total games mean they are approaching the halfway point with optimism. If you want to be a fan and create some momentum in person to push them beyond season ending mediocrity, here is some information that will be useful.
Ticket prices are average when compared to the rest of the league.
The history of ticket prices to attend a Buffalo Sabres game has steadily risen over the past decade. Though some moderation has been seen in recent years, it will still cost you $49.72 for a single game ticket. Given the performance of the team over the last decade this is overpriced, and if you are not going alone it will cost you almost $100 to sit for a game. The biggest price jump saw the cost of a ticket go up $8 in the 2012-2013 season. But being the only show in town currently with any hope, you will at least get to see a competitive team.
Concession prices are low compared to the rest of the league.
When it comes to having a beer or two along with a hot dog, spending $10 for a couple of beers and $10 for a couple of dogs is not all that bad. Then there is the quality issue. The stadium has a long history of serving bad food, which really makes the price irrelevant. How can you screw up a hot dog? As for the beer, there have been no major complaints. There is some scuttlebutt that the team is thinking of giving ticket season holders a discount on food and concessions, and if that is the case it makes being a season ticket holder worth something.
Parking prices are very cheap – if you know where to look.
This caveat is based simply on the fact that if you are willing to walk a third or half a mile – a few blocks – then you can easily find parking for about $5 per single game. To get this deal you have to purchase a parking pass in advance, which shouldn’t be a big deal. Of course, if you factor in the potentially brutal Buffalo winters, maybe that short walk is more like a Siberian dog sled competition.
All of this brings the total cost to attend a Sabres game to about $125 for two people if you plan ahead. If you are making close to minimum wage that is about a day and a half of work – before taxes. If Buffalo had a professional basketball team then at least there would be some completion for your sports entertainment dollar.
To end this game guide, a recent study of all NHL teams found the Sabres ranked seventh when it came to getting the biggest entertainment bang for your buck. It didn’t factor in fan satisfaction but was based on the basic costs above to attend a game combined with how full the stadium was. But when team success and franchise value was factored in, the Sabres came out on the other end – as being the seventh worst team in the NHL.
They say you can’t argue with numbers, and this study really sums up the fan experience. But the deception is that though the average ticket price is in the lower half of the league, it doesn’t matter because fans pay to see their team win, not just play. So the question is, will the Sabres break through this year and give fans a few more games to watch that are actually meaningful?