Winning changes everything. It changes the atmosphere and attitude in the First Niagara Center, and we saw that on Thursday night against Boston.
Even with the recent success, this has been one of the worst seasons in franchise history up to this point. Things are looking to turn around, but with a good grasp on last place, Buffalo has had better years.
In a season of such disappointment, how are Sabres fans reacting to all of it?
The arena holds 19,070 fans. The lowest it’s been this season is 17,645 but if you’ve been paying attention, you would have noticed that there have not been nearly that many fans in the stands for some of Buffalo’s home games this season.
While the cold weather may play a role in the lack of fans, the brisk air and whirling winds didn’t seem to matter in the past, when the team was much better.
It’s easy to see. Ticket prices are down, the Sabres are offering more deals and fans are having a hard time selling tickets, let alone giving them away for free.
We asked a few of our Facebook fans to comment on how the team’s poor performance has affected their desire to watch and attend games.
Here are what a few of them had to say:
“Attending games now has become more of who is the team the Sabres are playing and am I going to get my moneys worth out of watching the opponents talent.” – James Donovan
“I watch every game regardless of how the team plays. Attend is a different story. Kinda tough to shell out hard earned money to see a team constantly play bad”. – Violent Ed
“Being out of town, I have typically purchased the NHL game center app allowing me to watch all my Sabres games at my convenience. This year however it’s been difficult to justify the purchase. The rebuild has definitely had an impact on my willingness to spend the money to watch every game. Of course when my boys in blue and gold (or sometimes an awkward yellow and blue two tone) find themselves in the NY metropolitan area, I try to make it out to support, but it hasn’t been easy to stand up for them at away games.” – Jon Vasey
“I’ll always be proud to be a Sabres fan. I’m embarrassed though for other fans. We pride ourselves on being “Hockey Heaven” yet the arena is littered with empty seats. I look at a team like Edmonton who have been mediocre and awful for so long, yet that arena is always booming.” – Matt Patrick
There’s a reason there have been many empty seats in the stands the year. People simply don’t want to pay to watch a team that isn’t playing well.
The Sabres are building for the future, yet not all fans are as patient as others. The seats will fill up again when the team improves. It’d be nice for them to be sold out every game no matter what, but that hasn’t been the case.
Winning changes everything.