Hockey hits Dodger Stadium on Saturday, and there won't be a bad seat in the house.
The NHL Stadium Series event, the first of its kind in Los Angeles, will have some good views from the reserve and upper-reserve levels but many difficult views and hard-to-see angles for the historical Kings-Ducks game. For many people who paid $200 or more for one of the 54,000 seats, that makes not a bit of difference.
The best seat in the house is simply in the house.
“These seats are a far cry from my seats at Staples Center,” said Kings season ticket-holder Mark Cardella. “I don't think it's about where you sit. It's about being at the event, that's the coolest part. This is a bucket-list moment. I've always wanted to see this. I bought my tickets months ago, the first day they went on sale. Like my wife said, `You're going to go one time. Get the best seats you can.' I wanted to be part of this largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game in Southern California.”
To go, you must pay much more than you're used to for a hockey game. Some tickets were originally priced at $249, and those were later reduced to $199 in a post-Christmas sale. The $50 price reduction was given to fans who had already purchased tickets as well.
“We've done a lot of research over the years for the hockey games we've had in baseball stadiums,” said Don Renzulli, NHL executive vice president of events. “The best seats are behind the goals but in reserve and upper reserve. Those are awesome seats. The sight-lines from down low are difficult. As you go up, they get better.”
The least expensive tickets were $79, according to Renzulli.
The stadium is nearly sold out. A spokesman said 90 percent of the tickets were sold and that the NHL is expecting a sellout by Saturday. Reducing ticket prices on those high-priced tickets helped.
“The decision to lower the price was because they missed the mark a little bit on those higher level seats,” said Kings spokesman Mike Altieri. “There were certain price levels that completely sold out. The highest level tickets at $279 weren't moving, so that was a clear indication they weren't priced (right).
“One of the misconceptions when fans look at Dodger Stadium is why they're paying that price at the highest level. Those are the best quality seats. You need to be above and looking down into the ice. It was a little confusing.”
In comparison with other Stadium Series games, these Dodger Stadium tickets were the lowest, according to Vivid Seats, a secondary ticket marketplace. The median price of a Kings-Ducks ticket at Dodger Stadium is $195. The Penguins-Blackhawks game scheduled for March 1 at Solider Field has a median ticket price of $320, according to Vivid Seats.
“I think it's going to be a wonderful event as far the as event goes, but the game itself I think will translate better on television than in person,” Cardella said. “I'm ecstatic to be able to do this and go. I've been so jealous of everybody going to the Winter Classic Jan. 1 and sitting in the cold. I've been begging for this for the longest time.”
Cardella won't be sitting out in the cold, but he will have a seat.
They're not glamorous like his Staples Center seats. Cardella has seats in Section 111 at Staples Center, which are next to what are considered the best seats in Section 110.
Lee Silverman has Kings season tickets in Section 110, and he was emphatic about not going to the hockey game in a baseball stadium.
“There's got to be a good reason to go because we live in Santa Barbara,” Silverman said. “We love the Kings, but I definitely don't want to go to sit a long way away. I'll watch on TV. Other guys took them, but you're a long way away and it's in the middle of the stadium.”
There aren't as many suites at Dodger Stadium as there are at Staples Center, so suite-holders had the option to buy suites or other tickers. Kings season ticket holders were given the option to buy before the public, and that went based on seniority.
Kings fan Lindsey Morales didn't consider going to the game when she learned about it through an advertisement on the JumboTron at Staples Center.
“It's just not affordable, so it's not easy for fans to get to,” Morales said. “It's exciting, but it challenges what a hockey game should be. It will be interesting to see how the crowd noise is because it's not an enclosed arena.
“L.A. fans are devoted to the Kings and Dodgers, and I think they would be more excited to go if the tickets were more affordable.”
Cardella is such a big fan that he's using the Kings to try to help his grandson become potty-trained. It didn't happen in time for this game.
“I told my grandson Joseph, who's 3, that if he would get potty-trained, I would take him to a Kings game, just him and I,” Cardella said. “I believe in bribery.”
Cardella is flying his son and daughter-in-law from the Bay Area for the game.
Many couldn't afford seats. That didn't stop Thousand Oaks resident Marcus Silverberg — a Kings fanatic — from buying a seat for his fanatical friend who couldn't afford a ticket.
Los Angeles resident Matthew Lemberger, 29, asked for a ticket for Christmas. He was given money to buy a ticket, and after the holidays he bought one when it went on sale. He had two friends who wanted to go with him but only one could afford a ticket.
“Since I heard about this game happening I've really wanted to go,” Lemberger said. “The fact that the Kings are playing a game outdoors is most likely a once-in-a-lifetime thing for us Kings fans. Also, that it's being played at such a great setting at Dodger Stadium is even better. “(My) seats are in Section 14 of the reserve level. I wanted to be up higher so I would have a better view of the whole ice. I felt if I sat lower the view would have been obstructed.”
StubHub, an online marketplace for tickets, makes note of this on its Web site: “Please keep in mind that this is a baseball stadium, not a hockey rink. Some tickets close to the field may have partially limited views based on their proximity to the rink.”
Parking may not be in close proximity if you don't purchase it online before the game. Premium parking is $35-$50 and general parking is $20. Since Kiss is playing a concert, and there are events within the event, carpooling or shuttles from downtown are other methods that are encouraged.
And don't forget your sunglasses.
“This is a different look,” Renzulli said. “We're playing to that Southern California feel.”
The best seat in the house might just be in the house.