Free NHL Game Not Filled To Capacity In Toronto

Toronto might be the most hockey-mad city in the world, but the hometown Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs in three seasons since the lockout and haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Now, they can’t even get a full house for a game that was free.

Maple Leafs fan

With even the club acknowledging that this might be another long year for Leafs fans, they decided to have what was dubbed the Fans First Game, with tickets being allocated for nothing to fans who went online and registered for seats. So why were there so many empty chairs?

According to Leafs CEO Richard Peddie, it has something to do with psychology. The TORONTO STAR has the details:

“It’s just classic. Anything that’s given away free, people don’t attribute as much value to it,” he said. “Anything free, you won’t get 100 per cent (of) people showing up.”

Said Peddie: “If you study psychology, if people aren’t paying for their therapy sessions, they feel it’s not as helpful.”

Wait, aren’t we talking about a hockey game? The STAR’s Dave Feschuk can’t figure out what’s with all the empty seats (estimates were that at least 3,000 chairs were unoccupied):

Considering the tickets were available by signing up online for the exact price of zero dollars and zero cents, and that all the ducats were supposedly dispersed, perhaps it made no sense. The Leafs, often criticized for charging the highest prices in hockey for an inferior product, were finally charging exactly what most pre-season evenings are worth. And though the club is said to be possessed of a waiting list for season tickets that runs 3,000 names deep, how was it possible that they couldn’t give away a single night’s worth of seats for nothing?

Apparently, enterprising scalpers decided to seize upon the opportunity to make literally infinite profits, trying to score as much as $300 for a pair. Meanwhile,  many commenters on the Star’s article say they either couldn’t get a ticket when they tried or that they didn’t know how to get one:

I work within walking distance of the ACC and *never* heard or read anything about free ticket giveaways. One would have thought MLSE marketing geniuses would have taken out ads in the “Metro” or “24hours” - read by thousands on thier commute - for the promotion. A quick poll around my office and none of the puck heads around here heard anything about it either! Sheesh, as I can’t afford regular season tickets, there goes my chance for this year! 

Jeez. The Leafs try to do something nice and they can’t even get that right. Enjoy watching some team from Florida or California win the Stanley Cup again, Toronto.

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