Questioning the Oath—What’s at Stake with Becoming a Smashville Citizen?
By: Miranda Martin
This morning, the Nashville Predators unveiled their new “Citizen of Smashville” oath, assumingly to be a pledge of allegiance to the Nashville Predators fanbase into the playoffs. The oath is as follows: “As proud citizens of Smashville, we vow to show our gold, wave our rally towels, and be the loudest fans in the NHL. In Gold we trust.” Like every good wolf in sheep’s gold jersey, the front office followed it with their new “security” implementations instated for the playoff season…
Personally, the only thing more offensive to me would be if they forced me to swear it on a Bible in the ticket line.
Ten years ago, I would have been very quick to make my pledge and take my vow as a citizen of Smashville, even during the lockout. I would have done anything to pledge ‘hockey.’ I was Now, looking at the team from a casual fan perspective… I don’t think I can comply with what the new oath entails. They’re showing this positive nature of being a good citizen of Smashville, but what they’re forgetting is the casual fan just warming up to a successful Predators team. And that’s a huge problem.
In the press release of the oath by the Nashville Predators Front Office, they also oh-so casually mention underneath it what is necessary to “maintain home ice advantage” for the playoffs. These new changes include requiring the credit card used for the ticket purchase to enter the game, no second market purchases (StubHub, scalpers, etc), and Season Ticket Holders must use their season ticket pass. They mention “home ice advantage” more than once in these new protocols, even though the team has gone 2-7-1 in their last 10 games and are in dangerous territory for losing that playoff home ice advantage. The St. Louis Blues have already taken over the Central Division, and the Chicago Blackhawks have gone 8-1-1 in the last 10 games. Home ice is never guaranteed in the Central Division or the Western Conference in general, and while the front office is trying to keep morale up, utilizing a phrase that may not be true 2 weeks from now is incredibly dangerous.
Or do they mean “home ice advantage” as an advantage from every other arena, no matter if its games 1 & 2 or 3 & 4? Let me tell you straight up—the Predators already have quite an impressive resume to be one of the best arenas in the NHL and beyond. The new renovations, the new humidifiers, the new food, the new pro shop… Trust me, the Predators have an impressive advantage already. People are coming in the doors, some for the first time… do you think they’re ready to take that oath? Let them take in the new scenery for a season or two before you get them to swear their life and blood pressure away.
What has made this home office so insecure that they had to instill these “securities”? Is it really the fear of another teams fans coming in during playoff time, or the fear that someone may make a few extra bucks that doesn’t go in their pockets?
These new “securities” are also hurting the new Predators fans hoping to attend their first playoff game. With the new necessities for “home ice advantage,” playoff tickets may be purchased online with a credit card, but that credit card must be used to enter the building. Is this where the Bible comes in? Is this where I have to swear my allegiance to the flag of the 7th man of Smashmerica? It’ll definitely prevent the last minute casual fan as well as the broke fan. Believe it or not, many people don’t have a 9-5 Monday-Friday set schedule job, and they can’t commit to a playoff game that may not correlate with their work schedule. When it does miraculously happen and a game can be attended, they have the option to purchase on the out of market websites, purchase from a friend, or purchase from identified scalpers. It’s how I’ve been going to playoff games since I got into the work force. Moreso, if they jump the gun and get tickets, then what happens when a freak accident forces them to miss the game? The casual fan is out what’s easily the cost of a monthly cell phone bill and they can’t just give or sell their ticket to a friend. That’s going to leave a very nasty memory of gold for them.
This doesn’t even advantage season ticket holders, either, other than some snazzy pin that cost them at least $1,000. If the ticket holder can’t attend the game and makes plans accordingly to give their seat away, now they must call a phone number to give the ticket to someone else because they are requiring them to do so. Does this mean the Nashville Predators are going to pay someone to be on that clock past 5 or 6 PM to accommodate these changes when they happen last minute? How much extra work does this put on the ticket reps that are already up to their necks in policy changes and handling next year’s All-Star Season Tickets requests. This is the only way I have been able to attend games this year, thanks to some friends that had work scheduling stipulations and offered me the ticket. Now that can’t happen for playoffs—the most exciting hockey there is and can ever be.
Also, from someone who has had a lot of experience with high traffic jobs and very faulty machinery, paper tickets at least have the security of the numbers on the side should they not scan. What about if the Season Ticket Pass gets a scratch on it, is lost, or will not scan for some Murphy’s Law of reasons? Same goes for the credit cards—and with all of the identity thefts of Target/Home Depot/Chase, who’s to say it couldn’t happen to the arena’s security system? All this is going to do is create more traffic at the front door (or, more specifically, the back door, where they usually only have 1 person security-wanding people to begin with).
All of these things have a similarity: there’s a risk that may prevent the casual fan from not attending a playoff game—the only thing many fans look forward and save their money to attend. Casual fans become these loyal fans that fill the seats when the team isn’t doing so hot (like they did the last 2 seasons, remember? Oh how short-sighted our memories are.) Already Loyal Smashvillians won’t have their “golden ticket” (SERIOUSLY WHY ISNT THIS A THING? SOMEONE GET WONKA TO SPONSOR THE PREDS) to remember the amazing playoff game. I still have my ticket stub from April 27, 2004—it’s pinned up in my childhood bedroom, along with every other playoff ticket stub from 2004-2011. Those memories go away if you require a piece of plastic.
This team used to cater to the good, blue collar nature of its fans. Now, with this oath and new securities, I beg to differ. The team needs to focus on securing that home ice advantage on the ice and stop worrying about who’s in the seats. This is a cheap scam to prevent other teams fans from coming and seeing their team in the playoffs, the most exciting and stressful time of the year. It’s simply obscene and offensive to all hockey fans. This is going to make Nashville the laughing joke of the playoffs (as if the way they’ve been playing lately hasn’t been dong that already), when all the team wants is to be taken seriously. You want to be taken seriously? Focus on the team on the ice that has only won 2 games this whole month. Win a few games, maybe secure a real home ice advantage, and don’t be seen as the team that choked in March.
Smashville is fine without this oath. It’s already one of the loudest, proudest, rallying fanbases in the NHL, and they don’t need to prove anything. If anything, the Predators front office needs to pledge allegiance to Nashville, which includes the casual fan. The front office needs to stop governing the fans they already have loyalties with and focus on marketing positivity with new fans, which will get them their gold. Then you won’t have to worry about other teams coming in and taking your gold away.