What Your Season Ticket Holder Dollars Get You Around the League: A League-Wide Comparison of Perks

USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever wondered how your STH perks compared with other packages around the league?

Editor's note: today's guest post was written by community member SensForLife11.

As a kid, there was no bigger thrill than getting to meet players from my favourite NHL team in person. Unfortunately, these opportunities were few and far between. As I grew older, the thrill of meeting players didn't diminish. When I finally had the money available to buy Ottawa Senators season tickets I was ecstatic. I knew it offered the opportunity to attend the team's exclusive season ticket holder meet and greet event with the players (including many who didn't do any public autograph sessions). This was actually one of the main reasons I decided to become a season ticket holder. The discounts off ticket prices didn't make much of a difference to me (especially now with the emergence of StubHub), but the chance to meet some of the players along with other exclusive perks were more than enough to convince me.

I've now been an Ottawa Senators season ticket holder for the past four years and have thus been able to attend a meet and greet event each of those seasons. As such, I saw how the events slowly became worse, with fewer players being made available along with season ticket holders being limited to only meeting a single player. It was disappointing to say the least to have my favourite perk of being a season ticket holder become a shadow of its former self. It lead me to begin wondering if other NHL teams' meet and greet events were getting worse as well, or whether they even had them.

I finally decided to figure it out by conducting a study to rank all thirty NHL teams' season ticket holder perks (based on the current 2013-2014 season). I found a minimum of at least one season ticket holder for each team and asked them questions about the type of perks that their team offered them. Once that information was compiled, I had to determine a way to rank them. With perks it's tough because they can be subjective to the individual depending on what they prefer. There's no real statistical comparison that can be done.

Evaluation Criteria

Since the inspiration for this article was based on my curiosity of other teams' meet and greet events, I decided to put the largest ranking weight on whether a team held a meet and greet event or not. I then narrowed down the specifics of what makes for the best meet and greet experience. First off I had to know whether all the players are available. From my experience, teams sometimes keep the stars out of these events. Next I asked how many players are you able to meet. It's not much of a meet and greet event if you only get to meet a single player. I then asked if you could get autographs and/or photos. Offering both will obviously make for slower lines, but also provides the better experience. After that, I just had to know whether or not there were any extra activities and/or free food at the event. Not everyone cares to only meet the players, so knowing if there was anything else to do was something to consider.

When it came to deciding what was most important when ranking the meet and greet events, the biggest weight was put on the number of players you were able to meet. I then decided that photos would be the next most important, because those are priceless when compared to autographs that can easily be obtained on the memorabilia market. After that I took extra activities into account. If these activities involved the players, even better. Nothing more fun, especially for kids, than being able to interact with your favourite players instead of seeing them sitting behind a table. Free food is nice, but I barely took that into consideration because that's not a make or break for a meet and greet event.

Besides the meet and greet event, I had to also take into account all the other perks available to season ticket holders. These could vary so much between teams, but I managed to divide them into nine sub categories.

Extra Events: Additional events offered such as being able to skate on the arena ice.

Extra Tickets: Does the team offer additional free tickets to games.

Team Gift(s): Does the team provide a free gift such as a jersey or yearbook. I didn't count small items like pins or pens as gifts.

Parking: Do you get discounted or free parking.

Food Discount: Do you get a discount off of concession food.

Store Discount: Do you get a discount at the team store.

Rewards Program: Does the team have a program where you accumulate points that can be used towards various perks such as memorabilia or exclusive experiences.

Credit/Cash Back: Do you get credit or cash back that you can use towards additional purchases of food, tickets, or team store items.

Giveaway Draws: Does the team do random draws for substantial prizes.

Obviously, in each of these categories, the differences between teams could be quite substantial. When it came to ranking them, I pretty much had to decide if given the choice, which team's additional perks (all added together) would I want most. Keep in mind I did not take into account any ticket related perks such as discounts from gate price, discounts on additional tickets, ticket buying priority, guaranteed seats, ability to print off e-tickets etc. I felt like they belong in a separate article for those who buy their season tickets solely for attending games.

STH Team Rankings

Combining these additional perks with the more heavily weighted meet and greet events; I was then able to rank each team from 1 to 30. I based the rankings on a typical full season ticket holder of several years (so I did not take into account the additional perks that 100 level club seats are usually offered). One thing to note is that this is in no way a fully accurate study. There is the potential for a large margin of error when it came to accumulating this data. I got firsthand information from season ticket holders, so there is the chance of bias, not knowing all the perks actually available to them, or accidentally giving me some inaccurate information. I could have also misinterpreted what they told me. Regardless, this article should give you a good idea of the best and worst of the perks available to NHL season ticket holders. A reminder again that the rankings are only based on the current 2013-2014 season.

Note: The rankings below only contain a quick mention of the best or worst of each team's perks. The more detailed list can be found in the accompanying appendix here.

1. New Jersey Devils: The Devils host three separate meet and greet events, a Team BBQ, a Team Skate, and a Private Practice.

2. Washington Capitals: The Capitals host their meet and greet event at the local Six Flags amusement park giving you the opportunity to ride a roller coaster with your favourite player.

3. Nashville Predators: The Predators have a meet and greet event which offers the chance to play air hockey and foosball against players from the team. They also have a Rewards program to boot.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets host two meet and greet events, one at their arena and another at the local zoo.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning provides a free jersey with an embedded chip for discounts off concessions and at the team store along with hosting a meet and greet.

6. Florida Panthers: The Panthers offer additional free tickets to games or concerts as well as a meet and greet with their players.

7. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers provide a meet and greet along with a large variety of assorted perks.

8. Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks host a meet and greet event that spread out across the entire arena including the outside parking lot.

9. Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks host an extravagant holiday meet and greet event at Navy Pier with incredible decorations.

10. Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes offer a meet and greet event that offers the chance to get both photos and autographs with all the players on the team.

11. Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers host a meet and greet event where they have professional photographers who take the photos with you and the players and deliver them to you online.

12. Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche meet and greet event offers the opportunity to participate in events with the players as well as get photos and autographs.

13. Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes make all their players available for their meet and greet, but limit you to one of the two star players.

14. Detroit Red Wings: The Wings host a large meet and greet event, but limit the photo opportunities to one per season ticket holder who has paid in full.

15. St. Louis Blues: The Blues offer a team party for full season ticket holders on top of the meet and greet event.

16. Dallas Stars: The Dallas Stars have all their players available for their meet and greet and you can usually catch 75% of the team if you're fast.

17. San Jose Sharks: The Sharks host a meet and greet event with all their players, but only allow autographs. No photos can be taken with them.

18. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings offer a meet and greet event, but you can only meet a single group of 4-5 players.

19. Ottawa Senators: The Senators only offer a single player meet and greet, but have an event to get autographs/photos with all the prospects at the development camp during the summer.

20. Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks have a large variety of events to choose from, but it's the luck of the draw that determines which you get to attend.

21. Minnesota Wild: The Wild have a rewards program and host two road game trips which you have to pay extra to attend.

22. Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs do host a few small meet and greet sessions with a few players during the season.

23. Calgary Flames: The Flames do not host a meet and greet event, but have a skate on the arena ice event where a few players are usually present.

24. Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres offer the chance to skate on the arena ice as well as the chance to win an exclusive game day experience.

25. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins host a skate on the arena ice and usually host viewing parties as well.

26. Boston Bruins: The Bruins host a skate on the arena ice and select home and away game parties.

27. Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens offer the chance to skate on the arena ice at the end of the season.

28. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets offer minimal perks, but do have a rewards program.

29. New York Rangers: The Rangers have very few perks, many which are tailored for kids.

30. New York Islanders: The Islanders actually offer better perks to those who buy smaller ticket packages than those who get full season tickets.

STH Perk Charts

Below are the two tables that show the team comparisons for the meet and greet events and all the additional perks. For the meet and greet events, when I say "All" for the "# Of Players You Can Meet", it means that you can meet any of the players you want in the time frame of the event. You won't likely be able to meet them all. When I say "Discouraged" for "Photos", it means that the team will officially say no photos allowed, but if you ask the player you can usually get away with it.

MEET AND GREET EVENTS

Players Available

# Of Players You Can Meet

Autographs

Photos

Extra Activities

Free Food

1

NJD

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

For Kids

Yes

2

WAS

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

3

NSH

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

4

CBJ

Full Team

All

Yes

Discouraged

Yes

No

5

TBL

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

6

FLO

Full Team

All

Yes

Discouraged

No

No

7

PHI

Full Team

All

Yes

Discouraged

No

Yes

8

ANA

Full Team

All

Yes

Discouraged

Yes

Yes

9

CHI

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

10

CAR

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

11

EDM

Full Team

All

Yes (No stars)

Yes

Yes

Yes

12

COL

Full Team

All

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

13

PHX

Full Team

Choice of 1/2 stars + rest of team

Yes

Discouraged

No

No

14

DET

Full Team

All

Yes

One Group of Players

Yes

Yes

15

STL

Full Team

All

Yes

Discouraged

No

No

16

DAL

Full Team

All

Yes

No

No

No

17

SJS

Full Team

All

Yes

No

No

No

18

LAK

Full Team

Group of 4-5

Yes

Yes (if early in the line)

Yes

Yes

19

OTT

Six

One

Yes

Yes

No

No

20

VAN

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

21

MIN

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

22

TOR

A Few

A Few

Yes

?

No

No

23

CGY

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

24

BUF

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

25

PIT

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

26

BOS

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

27

MTL

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

28

WPG

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

29

NYR

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

30

NYI

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

ADDITIONAL PERKS

Extra Events

Extra Tickets

Team Gift(s)

Parking

Food Discount

Store Discount

Rewards Program

Credit/Cash Back

Giveaway Draws

1

NJD

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

10%

Yes

No

Yes

2

WAS

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

10%

Yes

No

No

3

NSH

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

20%

Yes

No

No

4

CBJ

Yes

No

Yes

Discounted

20%

15%

No

Yes

No

5

TBL

Yes

No

Yes

Discounted

25%

35%

No

No

No

6

FLO

Yes

Yes

No

Free

15%

20%

Next Season

No

No

7

PHI

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

10%

No

$50

Yes

8

ANA

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

10%

Yes

No

No

9

CHI

Yes

No

Yes

Discounted

No

10%

No

No

No

10

CAR

Yes

No

No

No

No

20%

No

No

No

11

EDM

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

15%

No

No

No

12

COL

Yes

Yes

Yes

Discounted

No

15%

No

No

No

13

PHX

Yes

No

No

Discounted

No

15%

No

No

No

14

DET

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

15

STL

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

15%

No

No

No

16

DAL

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

15%

No

No

No

17

SJS

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

15%

No

No

No

18

LAK

No

No

No

Discounted

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

19

OTT

Yes

Yes

No

Free

No

20%

No

Yes

Yes

20

VAN

Yes

No

No

No

No

20%

No

No

No

21

MIN

Yes

No

No

No

No

15%

Yes

No

No

22

TOR

Yes

No

No

Discounted

No

Yes

No

No

No

23

CGY

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

25%

No

No

No

24

BUF

Yes

No

No

Discounted

No

20%

No

Yes

Yes

25

PIT

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

No

26

BOS

Yes

No

No

Discounted

No

10%

No

No

No

27

MTL

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

28

WPG

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

29

NYR

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

30

NYI

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Conclusion

There were some interesting observations that I noticed from the rankings. The majority of teams that have a waiting list for season tickets don't hold meet and greet events and provide very minimal perks. The one major exception seems to be the Chicago Blackhawks. You'll also notice all the Canadian teams are in the bottom half, except the Edmonton Oilers. On the flip side, most of the Southern teams are in the top half. You'll see as well that both New York teams landed in the bottom two spots. Overall, I think this study will definitely help potential and existing season ticket holders see how their team's perks hold up against the rest of the league. Maybe it will even encourage some teams to improve their perks if enough season ticket holders provide feedback. It would definitely be worthwhile to do this again in several years to see if any of these rankings change.

Please see the appendix for full team breakdown.

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