The Buffalo Sabres are giving preference to its hometown fans for the 2023-24 season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Buffalo Sabres have a great fanbase, and there is no question about it. But after going so long without a playoff berth, it’s understandable to see why Sabres fans simply lost interest in their team as the 2010s wore on and into the 2020s.
The result? Too many fans of other teams invaded KeyBank Center, wearing the jerseys and colors of the opponents. I personally talked with a few fans who were season ticket holders confirming this, and of course, I’d see it occur on a nightly basis from the TV screen.
This season, you may not see it happen as often, as the Sabres are giving preference to fans in Western New York for ticket presales. The desired result is to see more fans cheering on the Blue and Gold at KeyBank Center as opposed to Toronto fans, for example, entering the place in droves.
Buffalo Sabres limiting presale tickets couldn’t have come at a better time
Since I live in the Pittsburgh area, the bad news is that I’ll likely be barred presale if I wanted to make the four-hour drive to Buffalo to see a game. But that’s okay, because I can tell you from experience that several of my friends, most of whom are Penguins fans, often talk about seeing their team playing not just at PPG Paints Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, but also in (somewhat) nearby Buffalo.
That said, I’m beyond cool with this if it means seeing more fans rocking Sabres merchandise in the stands. And the timing couldn’t have been more impeccable, with the Blue and Gold putting the league on notice last season, as I’ve mentioned several times.
And they did this with a subpar record at home, so imagine what will happen now that fan interest is trickling back in. Oh, and there’s the fact that the Buffalo Sabres are in the process of upgrading KeyBank Center, so with this coming in conjunction with a better product on the ice, I’m expecting the hometown fans to take advantage.
Overall, this is a defining moment for the Blue and Gold, and I can’t wait to see more Western New York hockey fans return to the arena. Note, that this move by no means prevents fans residing in opposing regions like Pittsburgh and Toronto from buying tickets – the Sabres are just giving their own fans initial preference.
Source: Sabres planning experiment to make sure their fans get first chance at tickets by Mike Harrington, Buffalo News