CBS Chicago's Dan Bernstein labeled the Tampa Bay Lightning's ticket policy, which limits purchases to Florida residents, as "ridiculous" in his June 1 article.
CBS Chicago's Dan Bernstein has labeled the Tampa Bay Lightning's ticket policy as "ridiculous."
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"Pleae note: Amalie Arena is located in Tampa, FL. Sales to this event will be restricted to residents of Florida. Residency will be based on credit card billing address. Orders by residents outside the selected area will be canceled without notice and refunds given."
In addition, the Lightning forbid visiting fans from wearing their team's apparel in the arena, per Ticketmaster.com:
"Chase Club and Lexus Lounge ticket holders: Please note that for all 2015 NHL Playoff Games at Amalie Arena only Tampa Bay Lightning team apparel (or neutral) will be permitted in these club and adjoining seating areas. Fans wearing visiting team apparel will be asked to remove them while in these areas."
According to The New York Times' Tom Spousta, visiting fans who do not comply are given clothing which is similar to the Lightning's. Amalie Arena security takes those who refuse outside the club area.
Spousta says the Lightning do not kick fans outside of Amalie Arena.
Bill Wickett, Tampa Bay's executive vice president for communications, told The New York Times on May 20 "very few people, less than a handful" refused to comply with the team's policies.
He also told Spousa the Lightning will not apologize for these rules they set:
"We're not going to apologize for the policy. We want to create as much of a hometown environment for the Lightning players and our season-ticket holders as we can, and we've been somewhat successful at it."
Wickett also stresses the Lightning are flexible when it comes to selling tickets to the team's fans who reside outside Florida, per The New York Times:
"We've taken several calls, emails and social media posts from Lightning fans that are outside Florida. If they reach out to us and we have a conversation with them, we have no problem selling them tickets.
"We understand some general hockey fans don't like it, but the Lightning team and Lightning fans need to come first. We wanted to do anything we could to make sure to make sure the building is blue and fans inside are Lightning fans."
Bernstein then chimed in on the matter in his CBS Chicago article:
"It's fashionable now for lesser NHL cities in this country to act petulantly like this, assuming they can use policies to somehow create more people who actually like their team and also assuming the vocalized loyalties of fans have a tangible effect on winning or losing.
"Nashville adopted this silly strategy earlier this year, particularly to ward off (Chicago) Blackhawks fans who seem to enjoy spending for plane tickets and hotel rooms to watch a hockey dynasty in full force. Imagine that.
"The (Nashville) Predators are back in their respective homelands now, fishing and golfing, so whether the attempt to protect their precious home-ice advantage worked or not is questionable, at best.
"But what's good for one small market is good for another, apparently, so the Lightning instituted similar rules for the playoffs.
"This kind of ridiculous behavior ignores the speed and power of the secondary market to get tickets in the hands of those most motivated to attend, which in the end will be a contingent of Chicagoans large enough to unsettle the nervous Mr. Wickett and others.
"The Lightning were ninth out of the 30 NHL teams in total attendance this season but ranked 19th in percentage of capacity. The Blackhawks were tops in the league in both."
Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning will be on Wednesday, June 3, at Amalie arena with an 8:00 p.m. ET face-off.
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