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What About the Devils?

November 6, 2009 by Big Tony 

prudential center empty seats What About the Devils?
For starters let me take a moment to point out the upcoming Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Congrats to this year’s inductees (Brett Hull, Brian Leech, Luc Robitaille, Steve Yzerman, and Lou Lamoriello) because reaching such a goal requires a lot of hard work and dedication for many years so these guys are to be congratulated. I grew up watching these guys play the game and it is their play that made me love it so much especially Brian Leech; being an American born player I felt like I could identify with him moreso than the others. Also, love him or hate him one must give credit to Lou Lamoriello for building some of the greatest teams of the last 15 years. Lamoriello is a bit erratic but the man wins plain and simple so although I am not and never will be a Devils fan I tip my cap to Mr. Lamoriello.

Speaking of the New Jersey Devils there is a lot of talk year in and year out about moving the likes of the Coyotes, Thrashers, Panthers, etc. out of their warm weather cities and back up north to where hockey is much more relevant. Those arguments all have at least some validity to them, but that said why do we not hear the same thing about the New Jersey Devils? Sure New Jersey has been very successful the last 15 years or so but despite that their attendance numbers are awful. At almost any time one can watch a Devils’ home game and see of ton of empty seats AND they have a really tough time selling out even playoff games. It may be a matter of oversaturation with the Rangers, Isles, and Flyers all taking their share of that market away from the Devils but no matter the reason the numbers don’t lie. In a lot of the warm weather cities the teams have experienced little success but when they have the fans have been there (Tampa in 2004 and Florida in 1996 to be exact) but New Jersey wins all the time and yet empty seats are a chronic problem. So while it may seem like a dumb idea when you first hear it—new building or not—why not consider relocating the New Jersey Devils to a place where they will be appreciated?


5 Responses to “What About the Devils?”

  1. ScottyK on November 6th, 2009 10:11 am

    Get a clue ” Big Tony ” Do some research. The Devils have been growing every yr sense moving to Newark. 2 sellouts already. our last 2 home games have been hampered by the Yankees. Traditonaly we draw better after the new year anyway and are near capacity every night. I understand your jealously but really… Shut the F up.

  2. Big Tony on November 9th, 2009 1:21 am

    The posting is mostly tongue-n-cheek Scotty. People always say the reason to move sunbelt teams is because people don’t go to the games. Truth be told though it doesn’t matter how few people show up it just matters if they make money. New Jersey has had attendance issues in the past and yet they remain because they make money and are successful on the ice. Their attendance has never been as bad as say Atlanta but for such a good team it had been poor. And of course you don’t take a winning team out of the New York Metro Area market that would be idiotic. Don’t worry no body is raining on your parade. Thanks for reading.

    From Scotty K:

    Get a clue ” Big Tony ” Do some research. The Devils have been growing every yr sense moving to Newark. 2 sellouts already. our last 2 home games have been hampered by the Yankees. Traditonaly we draw better after the new year anyway and are near capacity every night. I understand your jealously but really… Shut the F up.

  3. Carlos on January 11th, 2010 9:36 pm

    I love the NJ Devils and it pisses me off the fact that everytime i go watch a game there is lots of empty seat. The Devils won the second most games this past decade (just behind Detroit) i mean come on!!! The team is really good why wouldnt people would go watch the best goalie in the NHL and probably history. It is really frustraiting.

  4. Rocco on January 26th, 2010 3:31 am

    It’s hard to explain this to people who don’t live in the NYC/NJ/PA area but I’m gonna give it a shot. Yes, the area is oversaturated with teams….including the Devils and Nets there are 9 NY sports teams + 4 Philly teams = 13 TEAMS SURROUNDING NJ!!!!! So there’s alot of other stuff to keep people occupied….Second and most important….The Devils have a HUGE fan base in New Jersey. They are must more popular than the Nets, Knicks, and Sixers. Going out to any public area especially in the northern and central part of the state, you will see people sporting Devils attire everyday. Their attendance issues are due to two reasons. 1) They lack corporate sponsorship because of their proximity to Madison Square Garden. 2) and more importantly, New Jersey is a state of suburbs and most games start at 7pm. I live about 1 hour south of Newark where the Devils play and it is very difficult to get to weekday 7:00 games. It’s not like in cities such as NY, CHI, PHI, Montreal, TOR, DET, BOS, etc. where fans can get out of work and be at the arena within 30 mins. In NJ fans are spread out across the entire state stretching from NYC to Philly and all the way down the Jersey Shore to around Atlantic City. Yes, they are located just a few short miles from Manhattan but those people are Rangers fans. It is tough and would be impossible for most fans to get full season tix because of how difficult, expensive, and time consuming it is to get to the Prudential Center in Newark. Look at a map of NJ and you’ll maybe understand…..until then go screw yourself because we do appreciate our team in New Jersey.

  5. Big Tony on February 2nd, 2010 6:04 pm

    The commentary on the Devils is Tounge-n-cheek. It is mostly me pointing out (without doing it in so many words) that the NHL has a successful franchise that they are doing everything but promoting correctly. They spend so much time trying to put teams in places they don’t belong and dump millions of dollars into them when the net gain is zero is a negative. There are plenty of issues that could be easily addressed in New Jersey if the NHL put half as much effort into them as they do in failed/failing franchises. Rocco’s comments are particularly on point about what issues they face and could fix if they just try.

    Thanks all for the comments, keep them coming.

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