By John Vogl
More and more Sabres fans have been choosing to stay home rather than journey to First Niagara Center. The number of empty seats in the 100 Level has been increasingly noticeable, and that's where plenty of season-ticket holders reside.
There's little reason to expect the trend to end tonight.
There are 1,066 tickets available on StubHub.com as of this writing, and they are going for as little as $11.50. Since the Winnipeg Jets are hardly a traditional rival and the Sabres have been eliminated from postseason contention, demand will be down. It wouldn't be a surprise if the building resembled the bankruptcy era of being half full.
The smartest thing the Sabres have done from a business standpoint in the last decade or so is create their Blue and Gold Club, which is a season-ticket waiting list. The Sabres say they have thousands of names on it.
I've talked with season-ticket holders who'd like to give up their seats because of the subpar product, but they're afraid if they do they'll never get them back because of the waiting list. The Blue and Gold Club has created a fear factor for some -- which is bad for fans who want out but fantastic for the struggling organization.
People will keep buying the seats even though they don't want to use them.