I’ve been pretty vocal about my hatred of the new Garden ‘experience’ this year and last.
As I see it there are really three issues:
- The renovations’ goal was to make the Garden more attractive to corporate clients, including moving the luxury boxes down from the ceiling and adding more ‘high class’ vendors. The average fan doesn’t see any real improvement.
- To offset the extra non-arena space the aisles were reduced or removed and navigating to and from seats is dramatically more difficult in a very crowded space. What used to be tunnel entrances to the bowl were reduced to hallways, and the circumnavigational aisles were removed completely.
- To pay for the renovations they raised ticket prices, and because of this they shuffled everyone to seats that are less attractive than the seats they’d had before.
So we have a process from which most people see no benefit, and in fact their experience is worse. To add insult to injury we’re paying more for less.
We suffered through last year when most facilities were taken out of service at one point or another, dealt with huge lines for everything with the promise that “things would improve”, but this year the same thing is happening and last night I made it back to my seat with 2 seconds left in the period break after doing nothing more than buying a hotdog and quickly going to the restroom.
MSG should be upset that I didn’t have any time to shop, even if I wasn’t planning on it.
Looking around online I’m surprised I haven’t seen more reviews, positive or negative, of the renovations. I did find this piece, which was written before the launch and sums things up quite nicely:
The third-party gentleman that they brought in to conduct the [focus] group asked a battery of questions, all along the line of ‘what would make it alright for them to take your seat away and give you a worse one?’ The answer, unanimously, was nothing. The fellow recommended an exclusive entrance to the building, some exclusive concession stands or minor discounts on said concessions. He was completely unable to grasp the concept that hardcore Ranger fans don’t care about the accommodations or intermission entertainment options, they care about watching the game.
They don’t get it, but what’s worse they don’t care because we’re not the market they’re after. I just sold my Saturday night Habs tickets online, something that I never would have dreamed of doing even last year.