By Mike Harrington
Why are Sabres games not selling out? Why are tickets to games previously announced as sold out (like the Super Bowl Sunday contest with Florida) suddenly becoming available? Why is the team sending out e-mail blasts and text alerts about last-minute ticket availability?
It's because the new CBA requires teams to reserve an increased number of tickets for players, referees and league officials. When these tickets go unused, they become available for purchase the day of the scheduled home game. The Sabres announced Wednesday they are trying to streamline this process by the creation of the "Sabres Standby" program (think airlines).
The program gives fans an opportunity to be part of a queue of potential ticket-buyers that are eligible to purchase from a limited quantity of tickets for home games. Starting tonight at 7, fans can sign up to be part of the queue for Friday’s game against Boston.
Fans must sign up at Sabres.com/standby and can only do so beginning 48 hours prior to each desired game. Enrollment will consist of providing contact information, first and second option for seating locations, desired price range and number of tickets requested. After enrolling, patrons will be sent a confirmation message with further instructions.
The team will contact individuals directly about their requests once tickets are released (usually by 1 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game). Selected fans have a 30-minute window to accept or reject the ticket order.
The team is planning to have a dedicated customer service rep to serve as a sort of gameday concierge for the program, as well as a dedicated phone line.