Wednesday Home Games

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insagt1
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Wednesday Home Games

Post by insagt1 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:44 am

I think this topic needs its own thread. There seems to be very different opinions about this so in the spirit of discussion, lets talk about it.

Lou, Steve and perhaps others here....you (and I) have watched Amerk hockey for decades...and that includes Sunday games...often at the end of the dreaded 3 in 3. What were your observations? My wife and I attended every Sunday home game in the late 70's and early 80's. They were highly enjoyable and decently attended....NEVER crowds of under 3,000. Never did the subject ever come up about how tired the players were. The players are pros. They train to play these games. Somewhere some stat geek could waste a lot of time looking at how many Sunday losses the Amerks suffered after playing Friday and Saturday, but if memory serves, it wasn't enough to whine about. Amerks certainly were a lot more successful then they have been over the past 25 years. But we are being force-fed that somehow now its evil to even suggest 3 in 3's.

What has changed? The attitudes of the NHL, and the players association. And toss in Sunday evening football on TV. Our Sunday games were always in the evening. We never played home games on Saturday, so fans who attended Friday would still attend Sunday, so there would be no back to back home games. Even in the 60's and 70's, Wednesday games never drew fans in Rochester. And they never will.

How much more fun is it to attend games when there are big noisy crowds? (crowd noise, not loud music) Wouldn't a game against the Bears have been more fun if there were more than 2,000 people scattered among the seats at the BCA? Heck, last night, even Joe the Usher never bothered to tell fans to wait for the whistle before going to their seats....there were so few, it didn't matter!

Eric, I know you like Wednesday games. I believe you are in the minority..based on the 'eye' test. But its your personal choice, so I'm not judging. I think crowds ramp up (at least they used to) second half. Once football is mostly over, a shift from Wednesdays to Sundays would be better for attendance overall.
Having said that its pretty clear that attendance is not as important as it used to be in the AHL. Players association and the NHL have decided otherwise and hey, one look at the stupid AHL allowing the west coast practice squads to play fewer games tells you all you need to know about how things have changed over the years.

The argument that the quality of games is worse on Sundays of a 3 in 3...is flawed and very subjective. Teams play the games to win. Shouldn't the Amerks have been exhausted and non competitive last weekend by Sunday, by that thinking? Instead, they played their best game of the weekend. They did the same thing last year...coming from behind in the 3rd period to win a road game...when they should have been out of gas. These are pros. Somehow, they dig deep. Some of our worst losses in recent years have been on Friday or Saturday, after several days off. I don't think there is any definitive correlation except in the minds of those who want you to believe that somehow the players can't handle 3 games in 3 nights anymore.

the league can tell us anything they want. Doesn't mean we have to believe it, or like it. If there wasn't anyone left who can testify to Sunday night games, then the league could enjoy smooth sailing and who would refute it? But there are still some of us old pain in the a$* leftovers, who remember.

Bottom line: Wednesdays are here to stay; Rochester will never draw flies on Wednesdays, wasting nearly 1/3 of their home schedule on empty arenas and lousy game atmosphere for the paying fans who do show up.
Solution: figure out how to get the fans out mid-week. Based on the fact they can't even provide legitimate entertaining in- between period entertainment, that option would seem to be undoable in Rochester.

And just because 'thats the way it is', doesn't mean we can't talk about it. We buy the tickets; we have watched the games, some of us for decades.
We sat in an empty arena last night, against one of our oldest rivals. Its a damn shame.

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RWB
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by RWB » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:01 am

I don’t love Wednesday’s, but they are definitely the lesser of two evils. People are too focused on the NFL on Sunday’s. Attendance is bad and the players are tired. It’s not an excuse, just a fact.

Wednesday games are nice in the middle of a week in winter. Breaks the week up and is something to look forward to.

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UncleBenny
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by UncleBenny » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:14 am

I am also in the "Wednesday over Sunday" minority, but I think I would feel differently about it if it was Sunday night vs Sunday afternoon. I feel like afternoon games have a different feel to them and lack intensity. I don't know why. And I do think an early game on the tail end of a 3-in-3 is tougher on the players than a night game would be, professionals or not. Does anyone in the league play Sunday nights any more? Doesn't seem like it, not sure why they fell out of favor either.

I don't know what you do to get people to games on Wednesdays, I would be fine with them just saying all tickets are $5 every Wednesday and see who shows up. You certainly can't be making any money off the walk up attendance right now, at least you'd put a few more people in the seats to buy concessions. Do we need tiered ticket pricing? I'd be fine paying a couple more bucks for Friday/weekend games if the Wednesdays were discounted, I think, would just want them to do it in a way that it's fair to STH as well. I'm also not convinced they really even care, Wednesdays have been empty for how long now? And they haven't really tried anything drastic to make me think they really want more people on Wednesdays.

I agree that an empty arena isn't really "fun". Sure it's nice that there is no traffic, no lines, no people sitting within 10 seats of you in any direction to bother you, etc...but it's also just not a good atmosphere for sports. Sure part of the reason to go to live events is to experience things in person, but it's also a way to get out and do things with other people. And when no one else shows up, it's pretty lame.

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RWB
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by RWB » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:25 am

By mid Sunday afternoon I’m just not in the mood for a game. At that point it’s likely been a busy weekend and I’ve been watching football. By late Sunday you sort of just want to relax before Monday comes. Wednesday’s at least give you something to look forward to in the middle of the week in the middle of winter. Even if you’re just watching at home.

They should definitely be much more aggressive with tickets on Wednesday’s. I’d offer $10 tickets, sit wherever you want. $1 beers, too.

The only other solution is to go the Syracuse route, who literally plays every home game on a Friday or Saturday. I think 95% of their games are on those two nights. They may have one or two non prime dates. But that building is a dump and there’s no events to compete with. And I don’t particularly like Friday/Saturday back to back at home, anyway.

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UncleBenny
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by UncleBenny » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:54 am

RWB wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:25 am
The only other solution is to go the Syracuse route, who literally plays every home game on a Friday or Saturday. I think 95% of their games are on those two nights. They may have one or two non prime dates. But that building is a dump and there’s no events to compete with. And I don’t particularly like Friday/Saturday back to back at home, anyway.
This is another personal preference thing, but I have other things to do and don't want that many weekend nights taken up by hockey games. Fridays are good and I just kind of know, don't make plans on Fridays. Generally I have Saturday open to do "other stuff" unless the Knighthawks are playing.

I hear you on the Sunday relaxing thing. I played Sunday night men's league for a while but gave it up for that exact reason. By Sunday afternoon, I just wasn't in the mood to go play a hockey game any more.

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Bourgeois
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by Bourgeois » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:53 am

Personally I do love Wednesday's games. Like Jason said... it's a great way to break up a a week. Also, I'm already at the office and just shoot over from work. I try to coordinate dinners/drinks with people. Really nice opportunity for that. Or to get a couple of extra hours of work in.

And personally I loathe leaving the house Sunday. Also as Jason said... things are winding down by Sunday afternoon. I couch it Sundays. But to be honest I'm not even a huge Saturday night guy. I go-go Mon-Fri and then like to be a homebody on the weekends.

NOW Personal feelings aside: Neither Sunday nor Wednesday draw during the NFL season (which goes on through early February). AND - if we're talking "old" days - in the 80's and 90's BOTH Sundays and Wednesdays drew well. I mean, we AVERAGED 6,800+ in the '89-90 season! One of my most vivid memories is Metter and Robin Bawa squaring off at center ice and fighting to a draw and then stopping and patting each other on the shoulders in front of a sold out (including stage) Wednesday night crowd in February.

So - until Football is over, again like Jason said, you choose Wednesdays because the crowds are low either way and the players are better rested. Not an opinion is that players have more energy on Wednesday than on a 3 in 2.5 on Sunday afternoon. And as UncleBenny said - day games lack intensity. Sure, we used to have Sunday night games, but the players always spoke of fatigue and the games were either a snore or sloppy. We also don't have large number of Kodak workers anymore with the 11-7 Sunday night shift who attended those games.

As many have opined here and on the Twitters - the org may not really care about attendance as much as they used too, and hockey ops likely has the final say on playing Wed-Fri-Sat VS. Fri-Sat-Sun. And they will choose 3 in 4 over 3/3 every time.

Having said all that - I DO recognize that the Sunday games after NFL season are better attended than Wednesdays. Pretty routinely kissing 5k.

I, too, would offer heavily discounted tickets for Wednesdays. Before the Pegulas owned us and before they controlled concessions I did not agree with cheap tix. We needed a business model that preserved the team and devaluing your only source of revenue wasn't going to work - even if the atmosphere was better and corp sponsors were happier. Under the current situation I would offer BuyOneGetOnes, 4 packs for $29, $5 tix to partial season ticket holders, freebies to corp sponsors, etc. I might even consider moving a game or 2 to RIT and offering $5 tix to students. I would not do any of that for Fridays, though.

insagt1
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by insagt1 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:34 am

I agree with most of what has been said, but not all. We represent a very very very small subset of fans. Whether WE find Wednesdays more convenient, or if WE are too tired by Sunday night is kinda irrelevant, isn't it? We need to get the community re-engaged and that will take a huge effort by a staff that appears to not give a darn at all. All the creative ticket options (which I agree with) won't work at all without some aggressive marketing..and that means also begging our media to get involved...whoever that may be.

I'm not sure that we were averaging 6.800 on Wednesdays, ever...for sustained stretches. I do know that in those 'old' days by mid February however, crowds were really a lot better. By March, if we were competitive, we would be getting over 6,000 routinely. In fact for many years one of our biggest crowds of the season was our last home game. (then game 1 in playoffs drew flies :( ) That is not happening anymore. People will go out on any night of the week if its something they like. Last night, GEVA drew a good crowd; the Book of Mormon at the Auditorium was pretty much sold out. Amerks need to get their share of the audience.

I think the compromise (which of course will never happen) is Wednesdays until February and then Sundays to replace...whatever time works. I have to think that the atmosphere at a Sunday afternoon game where 5 or 6K are in house will always be better than a Wednesday like last night where the place was empty. Sunday afternoon will draw more kids, which always makes the place noisier (you be the judge is thats better! :D )

I doubt back to back Fri-Sat home games would work here. The proof of that would be to check the crowds when thats happened before. Not real impressive.

those of us with season tix go to the games, even if they were played at a practice rink on Monday morning. I respectfully don't agree with the blanket statement that the Sunday games were sloppy and a snore; or that the players always complained about fatigue, to the point where it became an issue.
that is a generality that really can't be proven one way or the other, except in the minds and biases of the beholders, truthfully. Frankly, if you don't like sundays, you will find a way to convince yourself the games were sloppy. I never saw it that way. So, do our opinions cancel each other out? :) We have all seen pretty 'sloppy' awful games on Fridays and Saturdays as well.

This is a great discussion however....and it shows how much those of us here care about the Amerks...which is job 1 isn't it? I think we all agree that more work needs to be done to market this team and get fans back on board. Not easy, but other cities in the AHL are doing it and we used to be one of those elite cities. One way of course happens at the end....a playoff run that lasts more than 3 games and out. Until that happens, I fear no progress will be made. I would also think that if the Amerks were tied in a series 3-3 and game 7 was on a Wednesday....it would be a near sell-out. Agreed?

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UncleBenny
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by UncleBenny » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:08 pm

At the end of the day, I think we have an issue here with minor league sports taking a back seat in Rochester. The thing is, there are still teams out there pulling in decent crowds on a regular basis in the AHL. I know some stuff has been looked at in the past, like ticket prices across the league, but it would be interested to dig deeper into say, the top 3-5 attendance teams from last year to try and figure out what makes their franchise "work" in their city. Maybe I'll take this up as a research project at some point, I feel like it could be pretty interesting.

For reference, from 2018-2019:

San Diego Gulls - 9021
Hershey Bears - 8907
Cleveland Monsters - 8901
Ontario Reign - 8352
Grand Rapids Griffins - 8206

It could really be anything. Ticket prices(or massive amounts of freebies), greater coverage in the local media, successful teams, lack of other entertainment options, better scheduling, wider advertising, social media, etc. What's making these franchises tick, and why can't we do the same?

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Bourgeois
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by Bourgeois » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:14 pm

Let me give it a top of mind guess:

San Diego Gulls - New team and has done well
Hershey Bears - The class of the AHL/nothing else todo
Cleveland Monsters - Freebies for Cavs STH’ers
Ontario Reign - New Team and has done well
Grand Rapids Griffins - 2 recent cups & well run

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RWB
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Re: Wednesday Home Games

Post by RWB » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:22 pm

Marketing wise, the Amerks are poorly run. There’s no other way to spin it. The contrast between the Amerks and Red Wings is stark. I think it’s pretty clear that the Pegulas do not put any emphasis on promotions and giveaways for the Amerks, and that they have a limited budget in marketing the team around town. They get by on name recognition and some social media stuff.

Other than winning the Calder Cup, or opening a new arena, nothing is going to change attendance wise anytime soon.

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