The Buffalo Sabres have announced their variable pricing schedule for the 2012-13 season. Compared to last season, the Sabres have added games in the bronze and value categories while taking away a handful of gold and silver games in the process. But, if you only had a certain amount of money to spend on Sabres tickets this year, what are the best games in each of the tiers? We strive to find that out.
Value Games (Tickets range from $29-113)
There are six value games this season, up from five last year, and each of the games have the same common theme. Most of the games are weeknight games against opponents that don't seem to draw well to begin with (Florida, New York Islanders, New Jersey). But there is one game that stands out from all the rest.
Best Value - Sunday February 3rd vs. St. Louis
The St. Louis Blues have been in the bottom of the Western Conference for many years and aren't normally a large draw when they come to Buffalo every other year. But, the Blues have emerged as one of the top teams in the Western Conference last year behind the goaltending duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Add to that the talent of David Backes and T.J Oshie and the Blues are an exciting team to watch.
On top of that, the game falls on a Sunday afternoon which means that parents can take their kids to a game for a reasonable value. The 3:30 pm start means that kids can enjoy the entire game without having to worry about bedtimes and it also gives parents from outer regions of the Sabres fanbase a chance to see a game without having to get home at one or two in the morning.
There is one drawback to the game, it falls on Super Bowl Sunday. If you are willing to possibly miss the kickoff of the big game, then this a fantastic game to attend.
Bronze Games (Tickets range from $39-127)
There are a total of nine bronze games in the 2012-13 season, which is up from five last year. The difference between bronze and value games usually deals with the opponent as all of the games fall on weekdays. There are solid opponents on the bronze list including games against teams that only come to Buffalo once a year such as Detroit and Phoenix, games that will see a large Canadian influx in both meetings with Winnipeg, and games against division rivals Boston, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Best Value - Tuesday February 5th vs. Los Angeles
The Stanley Cup Champions only come to town once in the 2012-13 season and they happen to come during the week. The Kings were led by solid goaltending from Jonathan Quick and have superstars in Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty.
Coming in a close second is the game on Thursday December 6th against the Montreal Canadiens. Going to games against Canadian rivals usually takes a strong stomach just in case the Sabres are losing. But, with a sea of red dotting the arena, the back and forth between Sabres and Canadiens fans gives the game a different feel.
Silver Games (Tickets range from $53-146)
The vast majority of games fall within in the silver and gold range due to quality of opponents and time during the week. There are a total of 15 silver games, down from 18 total last year. Most of the silver games are either against high quality opponents or they fall on the weekend. In the silver tier, there are games against Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, Vancouver, Chicago, and Nashville among others. There are duds in this tier, the weeknight game against the Columbus Blue Jackets being a silver game as well. With 15 games to choose from, picking a best value is difficult but our choice comes from the Western Conference.
Best Value - Saturday March 2nd vs. Nashville
The Nashville Predators may not be all they were in the past couple of seasons and with this game coming after the trade deadline, they may look completely different from their roster at the start of the season. But, the Nashville Predators only come to town once every few years, and this year the game happens to fall on a fan friendly Saturday night.
Gold Games (Tickets range from $64-185)
All 10 gold games that occur this year are quality games. The home opener, Tucks and Pucks, the season finale, and all three Maple Leafs games are among the list of games in this tier. When it comes to finding value in an expensive tier, it depends on the type of game that a fan likes. Whether they enjoy the pageantry of the home opener or the perks of going to the season finale, there is a type of game for every fan out there. Plus, with tickets starting at $64, it starts to price out the value conscious fans.
Platinum Games (Tickets range from $80-240)
In a tier that was normally reserved for Maple Leafs fans, there is one game in this tier, Wednesday December 26th against the Washington Capitals. The Sabres appear to be capitalizing on the after Christmas crowd that will be in the area to see family and adding in a quality opponent such as the Washington Capitals helps as well.