Sabres Parties in the Plaza: Bring team spirit and $55
blog by Ben Kirst • October 29, 2011 @ 10:10am
Remember in hockey seasons past when the Buffalo Sabres would throw a big pre-game party in the plaza outside of the First Niagara Center and the world was welcomed? Hundreds—sometimes thousands—of fans would hang out after the first puck was dropped to watch the game on big-screen TVs, drink beer and revel in the spirit that a winning hockey team brings to this glory-starved community?
Yeah, they’re not going to do that anymore. At least not for the poors! Yes, the Sabres will continue to throw pre-game “tailgate” tent parties outside the area prior to most home games throughout the season, according to a recent team press release. These exclusive celebrations will be limited to ticket-holders—if you haven’t plunked down the appropriate chunk of change for game ducats, then you can keep your distance, thank you very much.
These “tailgate” parties will include live music by local bands (is The Rig—tonight’s act—local? Never heard of them) along with a cash bar and food options. It will be just like most tailgate parties that you attend, in that you will have to deal with expensive drinks, wary strangers and the servant class. Oh wait—no tailgate party is like that. Update: Your $10 ticket does include your first drink, so that sort of makes it better. I guess.
Great news—you can buy Sabres and Labatt Blue Light merchandise at this kickin’ party, too. How convenient. Get your new gear autographed by injured Sabres forward Tyler Ennis, who is going to make an appearance at the pre-game party tonight before the 7 p.m. matchup against visiting Florida.
But yeah, no more stragglers—or kids. If you want in on this heated and enclosed tent party, you a.) need to have a game ticket and b.) will be required to buy another $10 ticket for the two-hour event. Ticketless? No worries. For $55, you can buy a tent party ticket and a seat in the 300 level for the game. Tent access is restricted to fans 21 and over.
It’s the Sabres right to do what they want with their team, their building and their product, but it is disappointing that they took the Party in the Plaza brand—something that had exploded organically with the rekindling of this area’s love affair with the club over the past five years—and have turned it into something strictly fiscal. Again, that’s their right! But don’t pretend this is a “tailgate” or some kind of rockin’ fiesta when the hoi polloi have been consciously excluded.