Hey, remember back in 2012 when the Nationals unveiled their “Take Back the Park” initiative by blocking fans outside the DMV from purchasing tickets at Nats Park, and how ticked off fans in Philly got because of it?
Well, the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying a similar tactic for the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks and the hockey fans in Chicago aren’t too happy about it.
In a statement by the Lightning, the club explains that Amalie Arena is located in Tampa -- wow, really? – and goes on to say:
Sales to this event will be restricted to residents of Florida. Residency will be based on credit card billing address. Orders by residents outside the selected area will be canceled without notice and refunds given.
Here’s the funny thing. Most of the fans that will fill Amalie Arena tonight will not be Florida natives, but northern transplants from New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and … uh … Chicago.
But that’s not all.
Even if you’re a fan of the Blackhawks living in Florida – or heaven forbid you buy your ticket on StubHub or Craig’s List or some other outlet – you better not wear a Blackhawks jersey to the game, because, according to the Lightning:
Chase Club and Lexus Lounge ticket holders: Please note that for all 2015 NHL Playoff Games at Amalie Arena, only Tampa Bay Lightning apparel (or neutral) will be permitted in these club and adjoining seating areas. Fans wearing visiting team apparel will be asked to remove them while in these areas.
I can’t speak for everyone, but if the Caps were playing Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight in Chicago Stadium and you had the opportunity to feel the heart-pounding experience of drowning out the national anthem while wearing your Alex Ovechkin jersey, should anyone stop you?
I mean, isn’t taunting out-of-town fans as much a part of professional sports as indulging in unhealthy food?
The Lightning aren’t trying to “Take Back the Park” by preventing droves of Blackhawks fans from entering their half-empty arena. They’re preventing diehard hockey fans from making a memorable road trip to a beautiful city to watch an incredible spectacle.
And that’s just … well, you tell me.