Earlier today on Twitter I asked fans to help me think of ways to make Sabres games more fun, given the lowly quality of this year's team so far. I'm glad to say many fans took part. I'll share some of their ideas in a moment.
I humbly suggest the Sabres open their wallets up and, directly or indirectly, pay fans back during these trying times. Season ticket-holders like myself have already spent significant money on this year's team, so the question of whether or not to do so has passed. Our money is spent already and we don't want to eat these tickets.
Many of these ideas are about giveaways. I do not consider them greedy or out of line, given certain comments by owner Terry Pegula after buying the team in 2011. We heard about money being no object for the Sabres, yet all we've seen since are higher prices for tickets and concessions for a team that has gotten progressively worse.
The Sabres are now more expensive to watch than ever and perhaps also worse than ever.
What are they going to do for their customers?
Here are some of your ideas, and mine:
@laxblusam "live music pregame. Set it up in the lobby or top of the escalators." Easy. Get people in there early and feeling good.
@knowthe7 "Fans vote pregame on music. Intro music, goal song, PP song, etc. Fans voting (in) game on '4th star'." The world is interactive. Fans are on their phones through these games anyway. Engage them.
@chindogg "what happened to center ice shot for a car?" Put a big prize out there. Little-kid hockey is a bit tired (unless of course it's your kid out there).
@drgroat77 "Shutout, by either team = free parking." I love this type of idea, tying team performance (good or bad) to fans. I'm not sure parking could work but a store voucher would. We win by shutout, congrats. We lose by shutout, sorry, here you go. When you have a bad meal the restaurant doesn't charge you.
There were several gambling-related ideas that may or not be feasable. They would add fun though. Contrary to Pegula's famous claim, the Sabres' actual reason for existence is to entertain fans. They exist without winning, or even coming close. They would not exist without fans.
@GMisener11 "hand out tickets with player photo on it. If that player scores, you win $50 to the Sabres store."
@mrbocce "pick random fan to win $100 if sabres score. fan can keep or let it ride. if sabres score again, pot doubles. repeat."
@schopptalk "mystery musical guests". I'm finding room for my own idea here. I'd love to sit down for this game tonight and have some famous or even semi-famous singer surprise the crowd with his or her entrance. There are thousands to pick from. Then have them do a short concert during intermission at some spot in the arena.
All this would be a fun topic for fans to talk about and would do something the Sabres should want right now -- have them talking about the hockey less.
@buffalogal "they do need to start being more creative...hand out free bacon or something." Kansas State and Colorado have taken recently to giving bacon to fans. For real. I'd rather the Sabres do something fans would not be inclined to throw, but still.
There are five months left in the hockey season. The Sabres are the NHL's worst team and there isn't yet good reason to see that changing anytime soon. May they realize that fans feel stuck with them right now and do more to appease them (well, us).
Team president Ted Black recently said publicly that "fans signed up for this". No they didn't, and any such notion is ludicrous if not offensive. What we signed up for is some presumption of attempting to entertain and competing to win.
Let's at least have one of those things.