NHL

Locked out of Smashville

Today I woke up at 4am to buy hockey tickets when really I should have just stayed in bed.

I will be in Nashville for three days next month and lucky for me, or so I thought, the Pittsburgh Penguins would also be in town to play the Nashville Predators. Tickets to that game went on sale at 4am NZ time. Nashville’s P.K. Subban is one of my favourite players and the Penguins are my childhood team – it seemed like the timing was perfect.

I found two decently-priced seats in the upper level and made my way to the final stages of payment when I was blocked.

“This is a restricted event – At the request of the Nashville Predators, tickets are not available for sale in your area for this game. This order will have to be cancelled. To purchase tickets, you need to be a resident of the Nashville Predators television viewing area – Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.”

I knew coming into this that this was the case. However, I was naive enough to think this would only block US residents. Wrong.

I completely understand why the Nashville Predators do this for games against the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re looking out for their home fans and don’t want rowdy rivals coming in and ruining the fun. It shows respect to their own and says ‘We’ve got you.’

But as a foreign hockey fan I enjoy seeing games at various NHL arenas experiencing the different atmospheres because we just don’t get this back home in New Zealand. So far I’ve been to games in LA, Anaheim, New Jersey, Toronto and Pittsburgh. Unfortunately it seems like Nashville won’t be added to the list on this trip. Sure, I could brave the secondary ticket market and pay the inflated prices set by Preds fans looking to profit off this situation, but that’s not a realistic option for the budget-conscious traveler.

If this lock-out becomes a regular practice for NHL teams, perhaps this ‘foreign hockey fan’ situation can be taken into consideration. I wonder if it were possible for Ticketmaster to create an algorithm where US residents are blocked based on their area code, but international customers can still get in? It’s all controlled by credit card billing address anyway. I’m dreaming now, the NHL or Ticketmaster won’t do anything.

As for Smashville, unless StubHub prices go down when I’m in town, I’ll be down the road on Broadway watching the game over a few beers while tucking into some hot chicken.

Stop eating that catfish! Photo: Peter Diana/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Main photo: Puckprose.com

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