Joe Sakic has retired, the Avs sat out the free agent frenzy, and they are still trading high ranked prospects for career minor leaguers.
I understand. Teams have to rebuild. The salary cap has changed the game. One would think that a team would have some foresight and get some creative marketing to keep the fans coming, or at the very least interested. No so for us Avalanche fans. Below you will find the letter I sent to the Avalanche (complaints are not welcome in the Avalanche organization and the only email on their or the Pepsi Center website is ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and it specifies that that it is for tech issues only – all other correspondence is directed to – get this – snail mail!).
Screen shot of the Avs website’s “Contact Us” page as seen on July 18, 2009 (click the image above to see full size).
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Dear Colorado Avalanche,
It is with a touch of sadness (yet more frustration) that I write this letter. We are wishing to rescind our initial 2nd set set of season tickets, the ones that were to be located in the “Avaholic” section. Although it is quite a deal, we feel that we can’t invest any additional money in an organization that quite frankly does very little, if anything, for its fans. For now, we are going to hold on to our current season tickets, although at this point we are uncertain as to what we will ultimately decide as we approach the beginning of the season.
My husband and I are long time hockey fans. We come from families whom had season tickets for the original NHL team here in Denver, the Colorado Rockies. We have been season ticket holders for almost 10 years, and since the inception of the team, before our incomes would allow for full season tickets, we were 14 game holders, our total investment equaling thousands of dollars. We love the team and the sport, yet the attention given to fans in Colorado is one of the poorest in the league.
Several times a year we travel to other cities to see the Avs. Each time, we’ve had an experience that far exceeds any we have had in Colorado. From San Jose to Atlanta, L.A. to Boston, Dallas to Calgary, and may others between we have seen organizations that care about their fans.
Little things such as allowing fans to go to the lower level and sit by the glass to take pictures or cheer on the team during game warm-ups are allowed everywhere we have been – except Colorado. In fact, one is not even allowed to go sit by the glass with lower level tickets, unless you are going to sit in your assigned section. Practices are much the same, with no access to the glass. Instead, fans are forced to sit in the stands, obstructed by netting. We have been told this is a liability, yet I can name at least a dozen venues I’ve watched practice at the past two years and not a single one denied fans the chance to watch from the glass. Even in this years rookie camp, we were not allowed to watch from downstairs by the ice.
Other examples abound. Special events for season ticket holders and other fans are nearly non-existent. Go to other cities and you will find charity events such as casino nights where one can interact with the players. Even a huge market team such as the New York Rangers has such events. Yet in Colorado, there almost nothing, save for a fashion show where players are highly protected from the constituents. Game promotions are few and far between, and the quality just isn’t what it is in other cities. I would be happy to expand on the above issues to any interested party.
Pierre Lacroix has asked the fans to be patient while he rebuilds the team, yet what incentive do we have to be loyal? Sometimes, promises of a good team just aren’t enough. Look at a team like the Washington Capitals, whose organization even in tough times has marketed the team to the fans and made them feel like the team truly is theirs. Various programs, promotions, and simple access to the team (something that costs nothing), has lifted the team to new heights and was well on its way even before the arrival of Alexander Ovechkin.
I have considered writing this letter many times throughout the past few years, and have finally reached the point where our concerns should be heard. In times of such economic strife, why should anyone spend their hard earned money on a team that quite frankly, has shown they care very little about us. And, in a city where the economy is actually much more favorable than most other cities in North America, the already pathetic attendance supports our concerns.
Thank you for your time, and we wish the team better times in the future.