Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Complaint Box Is Open

Well supposedly I'm a management shill -- though I think the person accusing me of such should actually bother reading the archives. I'm not a management shill, but frankly, I'm tired of reading complaints about the business/marketing/ticket office in post after post after post.

I can't speak for Andrew or Heather, but this blog was established to discuss the Aeros, the AHL, the Wild, and how what the Wild does affects the Aeros. It wasn't meant to be a forum for dealing with the ticketing folks or your complaints with them. It was to discuss hockey.

That said, I, and I alone, have opened up the door for that discussion time and time again as I have made my displeasure with certain things known time and time again, like the game in St. Paul, or moving the game day in St. Paul after people had made flight arrangements. I've made my displeasure with the morning kiddie games known, and I noted that I didn't like some of the season ticket plans they came up with after lots of other season ticket holders had already renewed.

But apparently I'm just a puppet for management. So, tell you what...

The complaint box is open. I want to hear your actual complaints about the ticket office/business office/marketing office. I want specifics. I don't want any of this stuff like they don't respect us, or they don't treat us like they used to. I want specifics. What is it that they used to do that they don't do now? Or what is something they're doing now they didn't do in the past? Did they screw you on a deposit? Did they make you change seats? Did they pull a bait-and-switch? Throw in the stuff about the game in St. Paul, or the kiddie games. Put all of your complaints here. Just give me some damn specifics. And yes, you can throw in the lack of Ice Girls if you want.

Let me hear them. I can't promise anything, but let me have the complaints, and I'll see if I can get some answers. But I need something specific to work with.


AiH said...

Lack of Ice Girls.

Forecheck said...

I'm gonna stand up for the ticket reps. Very smooth transactions, and they are able to handle last minute emergency needs for extra seats with the tickets sent electronically.

My main problem, apart from the lack of talent usually sent down here each fall (and the corresponding lack of concern if the Aeros are even competitive or not) is that the presentation of the package comes off as amateurish and cheap.

1) Kiddie choirs for enteratinament. Of course, this helps the Aeros revenue since the entertainers (and parents) must buy tickets to get in.

2) National anthem singers (or Kiddie choirs) who often can't sing. Allie is of course an exception - beautiful, trained voice.

3) Microphones which aren't on when they are supposed to be. Spotlights which have to hunt for their target. Get your act together, people.


5)The food service.... marginal food at inflated prices. At least at the Wildcatters games I could get marginal food for much less. My response is I stopped eating at the TC this season after the latest increases (ie., not including fries with sandwiches).

6)Lack of imagination in intermission entertainment. The same 5-6 things over and over again. They can't even do human bowling ball / slingshot right.

7)Using an in-arena announcer who knows little about hockey and reads scripts word for word no matter how idiotic the often error-filled script makes him look. Oh, by the way - it's "Grand Rapids"!

8)Too much cheerleading over the PA by the irritating rover guy.

9) Radio advertising for games/events that have already occured. This makes the whole organization look, ah, minor league. Worse, it could lead to people showing up for games which don't exist.

10) Issuing conflicting schedules - different game times for the same games. I show Sunday's as being at both 4:05 and 5:05. Ditto.

11) Apparently no outreach to the conventions occuring at the near-by GRB. No presence by the team at Wings Over Houston or other events darwing tens of thousands where you might find someone who might be interested in hockey. To be frank, the organization simply isn't trying very hard to get more people in the stands - other than to give freebie Kiddie game tickets to mostly low-income children whose parents can't afford to bring the family.

12) Where are all the billboards around town this season?

13) Changng the terms of the season tickets after they are purchased (e.g., extra Kiddie game, game in St. Paul). Not to mention changing the game date in St. Paul after people bought airline tickets to see it (probably a Wild screw-up). That's a mistake worthy of a college intern - a professional organization should not make it.

14) No real feedback solicited from season ticket holders by the organization. They must feel pretty smug about themselves, or else they don't really care at all. After all, it's just the minor leagues.

The Aeros would do well to hire some people from the Chicago Wolves or Colorado Golden Eagles front office so they can see how a top-notch minor league team is run. Or for that matter one of the dozen or so really successful minor league baseball teams (it was a while back, but I heard great things about the Louisville Redbirds).

John Royal said...

@FC, thank you. That's what I'm looking for. And as I'm sure you are well aware, I agree with you on just about everything involving the in-game activities, from PA to roving Steve to the mikes and loud volume and kiddie choirs. I for one am not able to understand the need an anthem before every single game, but if we're going to do it, I'd like to see Allie doing it every game. She is really good. Damn good, better than that Ferraro dude, even.

I think I can provide answers without asking around to most of your comments, but let me ask around and see if I can find out some stuff, though I suspect most of the answers will be that's not us, that's the people who run TC, i.e., the Rockets.

Bryan said...

Clearly, I am not an Aeros expert, but let me add a couple things I know to be true.

1. The date change on the Aeros game in Saint Paul was not a "screw-up" per se. It was a purposeful shifting of the date of the game. The original plan was for the game to be played on "Hockey Day Minnesota" before the Wild played.

Discussions with season ticket holders determined that most of them were not going to sit at the X for 8 hours, so the building would have been empty.

Also, FSN had some say in it, as they wanted to the coverage for HDM, which had games already scheduled throughout the day.

I am not, in any way, condoning the schedule change. Just wanted to clear up that it was not a screw up, but done knowingly. Take that as you will.

2. Game ops should not be controlled by the TC. That should be the Aeros. We have a NLL Lacrosse team here in Saint Paul, and their game ops are completely different from those of the Wild.

Prices for food is a different story. It is likely part of the lease with the TC that they use the same pricing and food as the Rockets. The TC management likely doesn't care to have different prices or items than for the Rockets, because then they have to deal with Rockets fans getting pissy about the prices being higher for them than Aeros fans.

That's the view from Saint Paul, any way. Sorry if the Wild are screwing anything up with your squad. No one up here wants that, trust me.

Hockey Wilderness.com

John Royal said...

Let me follow up on some of Bryan's comment. The Aeros do have their own gameday ops. So they're the ones that handle finding the anthem singers, the intermission activities, etc. But the Rockets are charged with running and operating TC, so they staff the video and audio operations things, i.e., camera guys, video directors, sound techs, lighting guys, etc.

The people who work as ushers, at the actual TC boxoffice, and in concessions all either work for the Rockets/TC or are contracted by the Rockets/TC. And yes, the Rockets/TC are responsible for the food choices, and the prices, and the lack of choices, etc.

Anonymous said...

Yes, definately the ice girls. I see this primarily as a saftey issue. That piled up shaved ice could cause serious player injury. Or image a severe ice buildup sending a high speed puck careening into the seating area. I hesitate to image the carnage. Yes, for everyone's sake, bring back the ice girls before its too late.

Anonymous said...

Concerning my above previous post.

Oops, another spelling mistake on my part. Should read imagine not image in both locations. Ice girls could possibly prevented these two errors.

Forecheck said...

@Anon - If safety is truly the issue, in the spirit of the EEOC, shouldn't you be asking for Ice Persons?


B2 said...

My grousing was not intended to be toward our very favorable John Royal. I do appreciate you taking some of our "grievances" to the fore.
I agree that the biggest "turd on the sidewalk" was the Minny game. How in the world can that be called a "home" game and be charged for the ticket? So I'm charged for 40 games but will have travel out of state to see one.
The second stinkiest turd was the season ticket discount offered before the season. I understand it's much the same principal as buying a big screen television at one price and seeing it on sale the following week, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.
Fan appreciation night has become a joke. I remember getting nice goodie bags with items and discount offers that were genuinely put together with thought and care. I was at San Antonio's fan appreciation night last year and their offerings should make the Aero's front office hang their heads in shame. I would almost rather they not have one as to insult the season ticket holder with such crap as they've done the past three or four years.
I agree with Forecheck that my rep is very good this year. No complaints in that department but I do have a gripe with the TC ushers in my section. There usually isn't one or become invisible during the game and I get tired of people going up and down during the game at will. My wife and I have end aisle seats and it gets damned annoying trying to see the game when there are people standing in the aisles. I've complained every year for the past two or three. Nothing seems to be getting better.
I also wish our National anthem would be sung by someone who can sing without embellishment. I don't know the ladies name but there is one that does a stand up job without turning it into a yodel. Maybe it is Allie. I cringe when I hear the "Star Spangled Banner" butchered no matter if done so children or adults.
Bring back the Sonic Boom and the "original" Chilly. They were entertaining at least. I envied the one's arm. Man, he could hurl a t-shirt over the end net without straining.
That's enough for now. Thanks John for the opportunity to weigh in.