Attending professional sports in Chicago is not cheap. You have to cough up $100 for a standing–room–only ticket at a Hawks game and $150 for a nosebleed seat at a Bulls game nowadays. Most people want the option of having amazing seats for decent prices so they will usually head to the guest venue to receive better deals.
As the playoffs have come around, these opposing teams have set regulations to not let visiting fans find seating in the arena. In the first round matchup between the Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators, Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena rolled out a new policy that Blackhawks (yes, just Blackhawks fans) would have to attend three Nashville home games instead of buying single–game tickets.
This situation has been worse for fans wanting to attend a Tampa Bay Lightning game. The folks at Tampa’s Amalie Arena will not accept ticket purchases from anyone with a credit card number not registered in Florida. According to the Lightning’s ticket policy, if fans are wearing visiting team apparel, they will not be allowed in certain parts of the facility.
Hostility with visiting fans has been seen all over professional sports, but has been expressed in different ways. In the first round series between the Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks, 100 Bucks fans were offered free tickets if they exchanged their red Buck’s wear for green Buck’s wear. This has been done to distinguish the red Bulls’ colors from the arena and display more Buck’s green colors.
The presence of visiting fans in your home arena is annoying, but these organizations should not bar anyone from supporting their team. The whole situation with the Bucks is fine as it is only to show more fan support, while allowing visiting fans to enjoy the game. There is a whole sense of “We don’t like you,” but that didn’t stop Bulls fans from coming to games.
Fan discrimination is not acceptable. The situations occurring in Tampa and Nashville are ridiculous. It’s nit picky when a team goes as far as finding out where a fan is from.
Overall, as long as the visiting fans are not being stopped from entering the game, home fans are good. Otherwise, if ticketmaster and stadiums say traveling fans can’t go to a game because they don’t live in the volunteer state, that’s not okay.
Sports teams should welcome all fans to an environment that is about the love of the game, not turn away fans of the opposing team just for the sake of exclusion.