Here is another letter sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets from a season ticket holder. We were given permission to post this under the condition we did not use he or she's name:
Per our phone conversation last week I wanted to follow up with an email and give a little background as to where I stand on renewing my tickets for the upcoming season.
I grew up 30 miles north of Columbus in Licking County and have always wanted a professional team in Columbus to root for ever since I was a kid playing little league baseball. I remember dreaming of a day when Columbus would get a professional baseball team or maybe an NBA team, so when Columbus was awarded a NHL franchise in the late 90s while I was a student at OSU I was ecstatic that I finally had a team to root for. While in the beginning I could not afford season tickets I would find a way to go to about 3-5 games a year and have a good time with friends. After graduating from OSU in 2003 I moved to St. Louis for work and got the pleasure of watching the St. Louis Blues extend their 25 year streak of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs with players of the caliber of Keith Tkachuk, Al Macinnis, Chris Pronger and more. After the lockout I bought season tickets with a co-worker for 2005-2006 season to see some of the worst hockey the Blues had ever played but supported them(except when Columbus came to town) and had a good time at the games. I have been a season ticket holder with the CBJ since I moved back to Columbus in 2006 and I was excited to be home and be in a position to enjoy watching my team on a regular basis.
Now that you have a little background let me dive a little further into our conversation from last week. At that time you asked if I had received my renewal package and if I had any questions. I let you know that I had indeed received it and had no questions. You then asked if I was going to be renewing this upcoming season and I informed you that I am at a crossroads on if I am going to renew or not. I am not going to lie to you and tell you I am not going to renew as there is still a chance that I will but I will put that chance at 50/50 right now. My problem with renewing and spending the money that the CBJ is asking is as follows:
1) After 5 years at the helm, Scott Howson and Mike Priest have not proven that they can build a consistent winner. I applaud JPM of giving the green light to these men to spend extra cash to ice a competitive team and even with that they did not. Scott Howson has made multiple bad decisions that have backfired and put this team in a position where they are in as bad or worse of a position than when he took over. He has signed young, unproven players to long term deals(Mason, Brassard, Jake V), he has made trades of good young NHL talent for aging vets that did not pan out(Tarnstrum, Clark), and he has left holes on this team year in and year out that were not addressed in the off-season (Goaltending this year, #1 Center/Defensemen in years past). Mike Priest has not acted on weaknesses in the front office from less than par scouting (No 2nd round picks on the roster and only 3/5 Priest first rounders still on the team), turnover at the coaching position(4 coaches in 5 years) and no action in change at the GM position with less than desirable performance.
2) Pricing of concessions is out of control. If $10.00 wasn't bad enough for a cheeseburger basket, the CBJ felt that they had to raise the prices this year on multiple products. Any free concession night during the year was easily made up for with these increases so I see this as no added benefit.
3) Promotions for single game events continues. Please let me know how I am supposed to enjoy paying the prices I did for my seats to see people with as good or better seats with a free hat, hot dog, soda, popcorn and ice cream for the same price or less.
4) Service outside of yourself this season has been trying. I felt like at times your staff at the arena were not adequately trained as I knew the Arena policies better than them and while these policies normally were not a big deal, let me give you two examples of how the lack to training impacts me. 1) As you may remember on a Friday night game during the season I had 17 clients and their wives/girlfriends from one of the engineering firms that I call on at the game. When I went to purchase drinks for those clients we had 17 IDs and I had my company credit card. The server at the beer stand would only allow me to run 2 drinks per transaction. I explained to him that it was two beers per ID and not per transaction and he refused to run the transactions on my card. As we spoke that night he was wrong and was not properly trained. While this may not seem like a big deal for most people the problem I have is that one round equated to 9 transactions on my expense account at work. When I went to fill out my expense account those 9 transactions took me over 20 minutes to enter in lieu of the 2 minutes it normally takes. If would of had to continue this throughout the night it would have taken me between 1-2 hours to fill out the expenses just for this one venue and one event when it normally takes about 10-15 minutes. I can assure that someone that works on 100% commission is not happy to lose 1-1.5 hours of productivity due to a NWA training issue as that could equate to thousands of dollars of income for me. 2) During the last game of the year my wife and I were able to enjoy our first CBJ game since our son was born just over 2 years ago. While we had a great time, we had to leave early during the third period to get home to our son as the sitter had sent a text stating that he was starting to breakdown a bit. On our way out of the North-East Rotunda we were informed by the security guard that we could not exit there and had to go to the main gate. When I explained that we were not re-entering and started for the door he once again stated, more firmly this time, that he was not to let us exit through that door. My wife and I then had about a five minute walk back to the main entrance to then retrace our steps back past the North-East exit that we originally tried to leave through. While 5 minutes may not be much to you or me, please try explaining that to our 2 year old son at home.
So that brings me to where I am today. As a six year season ticket holder I have found it more frustrating than rewarding being a season ticket holder and that mainly has to do with the product on the ice. During this time I have watched the St. Louis Blues go from the top of the hockey world to the bottom then back to the top again all the while Columbus has been near the bottom. The old saying really rings true "Winning cures everything." If the team was in the hunt for the playoffs and had a chance of winning one playoff game the high concession prices and the lack of training of the staff may be a little easier to take. With Howson and Priest still running the show I have no confidence that they will be able to bring the results I desire and I leave you with this question:
Those positions are performance based positions just like my sales position is. If I were to miss the sales figures that my company expects me to hit for 5 years and my numbers were not improving but in fact were trending down......would I still have my job?
The answer is NO! As a public company my shareholders do not accept failure or they pull their investment. My superiors understand that and if someone is not performing they are let go and someone who will perform is brought in. This is how it should be with the CBJ. As a shareholder of the CBJ I am on the fence on whether or not to give the CBJ one more year of my investment of (4) full season tickets. If I see that ownership is willing to make a change and fire Howson and Priest, I will renew the next day. If not, then I am 50/50 on if I will renew. Currently I am waiting to see how ownership responds.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
We have no idea if letters such as this even reach the eyes of the decision makers in this organization which is a big reason why this advocacy group exists - to provide a voice/visibility for those frustrated with the direction of this franchise. Will continue to do so until this franchise's honor is restored and maintained.
We would like to encourage all fans who have sent in letters to email them to PR@JacketsFANS.com. We will post them all in the way were sent to CBJ management.
For A New Start (F.A.N.S.)