I, For One, Welcome Our New Amway Overlords (ok not really)



I predicted as soon as this was announced (the Wings being “sponsored” by Amway) that the Wings would be playing at Amway Arena in about 5 years.  Ugh, saying Amway Arena just hurts my soul.  It started when the Wings started allowing Amway to sponsor their practice jerseys.  Soon after, the Wings hired Tom Wilson from the Pistons, who have been sponsored by PNC Bank (formerly National City) for a while.  Money talks.  Ugh.

The Wings have been on record as wanting a new arena in the downtown area for quite a while.  I can’t really blame them.  As a person who has been to the Joe around 100 times the last few seasons, I am quite aware of its shortcomings – the crowded concourse, the horrible bathrooms (new ones have been built, however!), and the horrible location.  I know everything is about money these days (and those who know me and what I do for a living realize I shouldn’t be saying this…), but some things are more important than money!

I just really hate Amway.  Basically, they are a pyramid scheme that happens to be legal.  Type “Amway” into google and the third auto-fill option is “scam”.  I always felt the Wings were supposed to be about honor and tradition, not selling their soul for another dollar…unless it was back in the days when we could just buy a cup.  Ahem.  2002 FTW!

It’s one thing to have a less than ethical “Presenting Sponsor” for your team and have their ads ALL OVER your home arena.  But to name the arena after said company?  That’s where I get pissed.  At least if was GM Arena or another Detroit company, I’d care less since it might do something for the Detroit area.  I would just prefer to not help support a “direct selling”  company.  Terrorists.

There are two other main problems with the plans of this building.  The first is that it will completely favor the suites.  According to the American Airlines Center seating chart(the building built by the same firm the Wings hired), there are about 26 rows in the lower bowl.  There are about 18-20 at the Joe lower bowl, so this means the upper bowl ends at the current 3rd or 4th row at the Joe’s upper bowl (taking into consideration the stairs to the upper bowl –  not an exact science, but you get my drift).  Instead of the upper bowl starting, the suites would then happen, since they could charge more and make more money!  According to the chart of AAC, this accounts for about 7 or 8 rows.  So, the new “upper bowl” would begin somewhere around the current 12th or 13th row of the Joe upper bowl.  Those are actually great seats, but the top of the upper bowl will be near where the suites are at now without the overhang, so..enjoy that view!  Stupid cheap seats…

The other problem I have is that the Joe is at about 20,000 seats and they are looking to build an 18,000 seat arena.  WTF?  I know the Wings have “sold out” 70 or so games in a row, why have less seats?  Oh I know, so they can charge higher prices!  Maybe the seats at the top of Amway Arena’s upper bowl won’t be that bad since there will be fewer seats.  Of course, all of this means tickets will be more expensive, leading to only people with money and business that buy season tickets will be able to afford the closer seats.  Judging by other new arenas (think of Toronto), the first few rows are full of people in suits, showing up halfway through the first and on their cell phones the whole damn game.  Road players admit it’s not that tough to play in these arenas since most of the actual “fans” are in the top where it’s harder to hear them.

I get most of this from game one of the 2007 playoffs against Calgary.  My friend Jason and I spent $130 on a third row seat in section 203b (I think) before I used to go to games all the time.  I was in college at the time, so $130 was a hell of a lot of cash (and still is now).  Obviously, we were going to enjoy the game but still be respectful to others around us.  Almost everybody with 20 feet or so of us had a suit on and has not paying attention at all to the game.  After anytime we high-fived or commented on a nice play or yelled something non-profane, we got dirty looks.  One guy was pissed because his “rent-a-date” was getting annoyed.  Not kidding.  Just a bad crowd experience with no enthusiasm outside of the two of us.  I don’t want that to be a regular thing.

Of course, there are actual fans that sit close – I’ve done it before, I just can’t afford to do it with regularity.  Hell, I bought a 20 game plan this season and I hope to get the $38 a seat game (upper bowl center ice).  Couldn’t exactly afford season tickets in the lower bowl while still afford food.  But, I’m also a business person and work in the finance and accounting field (for obvious reasons, I can’t exactly say on here where I work…might get me canned especially after reading this (no I don’t work for Amway)).

I know this wasn’t my best writing or a well researched and thought out post, but I felt the need to rant.  you know the drill – tell at me on Twitter and tell me how you would have done it better.  You probably would have.