Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parking changes; IceBox renovations

As we patiently wait until the Lincoln Stars release their 25-player protected roster, I wanted to touch on a couple of topics that have some Stars fans talking as of late.  For those fans who are season ticket holders, we received our renewal paperwork this week, or last week.  Included in the paperwork was a pamphlet which contained a ton of really good information about the upcoming changes to the inside/outside of the IceBox, and it all folded out into a Stars poster.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Anyway, one of things mentioned in the renewal paperwork was that UNL will be charging ($3) Stars fans to park next season around the IceBox.  I don't think this was anything that caught people off-guard.  I believe most of us figured that with dollar-hungry UNL taking over the former state fairgrounds, they would eventually start charging people to park there.

The good news for season ticket holders is that they will get to park for free ($90 savings).  For those who have 1-4 season tickets, they will receive one parking pass.  Those who have 5-8 season tickets will receive two parking passes.  The bad news for the casual Stars fan who doesn't have season tickets is that they will have to pay $3 per car to park in the former state fairgrounds area.  Will this parking fee drive away those casual fans?  Personally, I don't believe so.  We're passionate about our Stars hockey here in Lincoln, and I believe even the casual fans will not have a problem with this fee.  I'm guessing the Stars organization is hoping this newly created parking fee will encourage those casual fans to become season ticket holders, and save some hard earned cash on parking. 

Logistically, I have no idea how UNL plans to accomplish the task of checking for passes, and collecting monies.  There are quite a number of entrances into the  state fairgrounds "UNL Innovation Campus" area. Will UNL only allow fans to enter through a couple of entrances?  I can't imagine it will run like an well-oiled machine.  What happens when UNL basketball games at Devaney are played at the same day and time as Stars games?  I'm not optimistic at all.  I really hope the Stars organization and UNL are working together with this, otherwise it could turn into a giant traffic mess.  We'll have to wait and see how it is handled.

The second topic discussed in the renewal paperwork I want to touch on are the renovations currently being planned to the north stage area inside of the IceBox.  I'm going to copy and paste a couple of paragraphs taken right from the Lincoln Stars website, and from the renewal pamphlet:
The Lincoln Stars are excited to announce this upgrade to the stage area. As outlined in the season ticket renewal mailer, this area will include the removal of the bleachers and transformation into a three-level spectator zone. Pricing and benefits are yet to be determined, however an increase in cost compared to both rinkside and mezzanine seating is likely. Seats will be limited and distributed through a lottery system.
The most visible change you'll notice inside the IceBox will be the renovation of the north stage area.  We're currently in the planning and design phase of transforming the north bleacher area into a three level spectator zone.  This renovation will combine improved seating with excellent sight lines, and elevated "social" area for stand room patrons, and convenient bar service.
In the renewal paperwork, there is a drawing which illustrates how this "three-level spectator zone" will look like.  Basically, it looks like two rows of folding chair seats, with two rows of bar-like seating behind that.  Those last two rows appear to allow fans to stand, sit, or move around while they watch the game.  I assume this area will have it's own bar and concessions.  That's my take on it, but I could be off.

I've already heard from a few fans who were bleacher season ticket holders that have been forced to relocate because of this new area.  They don't want to pay more to sit in this new area, and they aren't happy that they need to find a new "home."  It will be interesting to see the amount of interest this new "spectator zone" gets from the fans.  I do not know how many seats will be lost to this renovation.  Last season, the capacity of the IceBox was 4,610.  I'd guess that number will be reduced by 100 to 300.  Just a guess.

So, what say you?  Do you think the parking fees will have a substantial negative impact on attendance next season?  How long will it take fans to enter into the "UNL Innovation Campus" area with the UNL parking clowns running the show?  Are you interested enough in this new "spectator zone" area to switch your present seats?  

****

I'm really hoping we hear something soon from the Stars organization in regards to the 25-player protected roster which must be turned into the USHL on, or before, 7/1/10.  Last season, we didn't hear anything until 7/8, and then it was reported by the Lincoln Journal Star's Blueline Blog.  That particular blog is a virtual ghost town now, with the last article written way back in April.  No articles about the two USHL drafts, no articles about the tryout camp, no articles about roster news, nothing.  It seems as if the LJS has given up on the Stars.  I assume this time around, the roster information will probably be posted on the Stars website.  If anyone associated with the Stars organization would like to post that information here (since we're not a ghost town and we support the Stars), they can email me at: lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com

Thanks.  Go Stars.

14 comments:

lincolnfan said...

great to see this blog still being updated! this is basically my news source when it comes to the Stars.

the parking charge is a bunch of crap if you ask me. the lot is not in good shape at all.. the lines are faded, there are potholes, bumps, etc. maybe they are planning to do some work on it if they are going to be charging for parking? they should just charge for their events at the Devaney center and leave Stars fans alone. it's just going to be a huge profit for somebody.. and it's only going to cause problems with likely closing down some entrances. i believe it was a couple seasons back the 27th street entrance was closed off due to the Antelope Valley project. it took literally an hour to get out of the parking lot with that being closed off. and that was a weeknight playoff game with only about 3,000 in attendance. although i suppose they could reopen entrances as exits.. who knows.. anyway, i would hope they don't close off any entrances and work with the Stars organization to make this go well, but i'm not getting my hopes up. i don't think it will really hurt attendance though. they aren't advertising this change on the website, just in the renewal packet.. many casual Stars fans may not even know about it. it's very nice of the Stars organization to pay for it for season ticket holders though, they certainly didn't have to do that.

i'm not sure about the renovations.. sounds interesting. how long have they been planning that i wonder? i know they typically have groups at that end or in the corners, don't they? it seems really interesting that they are renovating that. it will be interesting to see. i certainly won't be relocating there or know of anyone who will...

looking forward to the schedule being released and possibly the roster within the coming days/weeks!

StarsFans7177 said...

I talked with Micki the other day when I went down to get another season ticket holder form and she said that they are trying to work things out with UNL to make it easier getting into the games. They suggested a lane for the season ticket holders to pass thru that they can show the parking police the pass to go in and not have to wait for those paying or something to that effect.

It sounds like the Stars organization knows it's going to be a hassle but they are trying to make it easier for us. I also agree it is very nice of them to provide us with the free parking pass. It's also appreciated that the prices did not go up...there aren't too many things you can say have remained the same price the past 4 years!

Thank you for continuing to keep us 'in the know' with the Stars...with the super long off season this year, this blog has made it a lot more bearable to get thru!

Keith Stone said...

With the decline in attendence last year I agree with changing the stage. It will fill in the sides so it doesn't look as empty in there. A few games last season it looked like we were Tri City on one of their good nights.

Anabear76 said...

Well Micki said they are losing 300 seats due to new stage area. That much I do know. The cost so far season ticket holders save is costing the Stars organization quite a bit of money, and the price did not go up either so cannot really complain. We do love our hockey in Lincoln so most will pay the parking fee but it will also depend on how it is handled. If I get there in plenty of time to watch practice (which we usually do) and have to wait for the University to get us in (or even out of there) then what is the point. If this is a service others have to pay for ( and we may have to in the futur as season ticket holders) then a system should be in place to keep the flow moving in or out. Just an observation of the obvious. Don't make a consumer pay for something that is not going to change.

How about a shuttle system in and out to a close parking lot or even just park somewhere else and ride witha ticket holder willing to let you ride in with them. There are ways around it if the $3.00 is that big of a deal, but ont the other hand if $3.00 is that big of a deal to you per game either you cant afford it or You just flat out dont want to ...... Either way if you are dedicated fan you will become a season ticket holder, pay the $3.00 each game you come to, or listen for free on the poor radio quality (with a 10 minute delay) at home and save ticket cost and parking fee but not get the same affect and do what you need to save your money. Either choice..... as long as you are dedicated fan (and none of these makes you any less a fan as long as you are not complaining about it)...... you should do what is best for your situation.

tzweeb said...

i want to start by saying that i know brent wagner, who writes and runs the LJS blog and articles on the stars.
he will be getting married in august and does have some things on his mind.
i agree that their blog is dead, but an article or two would be nice as he has always done a great job covering the stars.
i will ask him and get some insider info to post here as to whats going on.
now onto the parking issue... i was one of the first to say UNL will completely screw things up and it will take an hour to get in. as in the past they are the last ones you would want to run the lots!! when they make it a 1 lane road to get in and then have to check each car or collect the 3 bucks. we would be much better served by the state fair people, atleast they could handle counting out change for a 10!!!
i am planning on going thru the "old fair grounds" to see what might happen with the supposedly new areas from buildings being torn down... maybe we could have a few more spots closer to the box.. doubt it!!!
the only way i thought it would work is if they built a parking garage and charged to park close, and maybe even a tailgate party area..hmmmm
does anybody know if the simulcast horse racing people are also paying to get in? how are the 30 cars that go there going to pay for a full time employee getting paid 200 bucks a day to sit on their butt collecting 3 bucks a car.. 30 x 3 bucks = 90 bucks!!! typical of a management with no clue...
i agree that they should only charge parking fees for the events that UNL has at the fair grounds.
the basketball people screw everything up for the rest of us so charge them!!!
and now WE are paying to build a crappy team a new arena... yes i hate basketball..lol takes 20 minutes to play the last 30 seconds.
glad we still have yeti and bells to run a quality site for us to get on a soapbox and rant away!!!
thanks guys

tzweeb said...

i forgot to add somethings... i hate mike the realist, the lancers and our team sucks!! oh wait that was a hold over from last year.. and shouldnt we be bitching about a player or two???
just had to add something negative to remind people where we were and how great it will be to move on to the next season!!!
how about we all pack the place in omaha when we play the exibition game???
we can do this and show omaha that WE ARE THE BEST FANS!!!

Yeti said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Keep them coming.

tzweeb,

This isn't a slam on Brent, because I know he has other responsibilities. However, aren't there other reporters at the LJS who could help with the Blueline Blog? Two seasons ago, the blog was kept up to date year round with all kinds of great info. It just seems like in the past year, that blog has just gone downhill...fast. No updates at all since April. Why? Again, Brent isn't the only reporter there. To me, it seems as if they've given up.

What was nice about the Blueline blog was that they were allowed access to the coaches and players for all kinds of great interviews and insider information. We're a fan blog, so we can't get that info (unless someone in the Stars organization wants to grant me that access). All I know is that if I were in the Stars organization, I'd be a little ticked at how the LJS have abandoned that blog. The Stars put a link to it on their home page, for what? It's a ghost town.

Anyway, that's my rant. I'm happy to hear that the Stars are working with UNL to make this parking transition as smooth as possible. And yes, I'm also very happy that season ticket prices will not be raised. Fourth consecutive season in a row that season ticket prices have stayed where they are at.

Hey Hey Whadda Ya Say said...

Parking fees SUCK...but $3 is about the least I've paid to park anywhere...Thanks STARS for paying this for me this year (maybe this will become an annual Season Ticket Holder perk).

The LJS coverage of Hockey (in general) SUCKS...a brief update now and then should be expected...not blaming BW...but...??

Need...Some...HOCKEY...

LETS GO STARS !!!

starstruck said...

The challenge of collecting parking fees from the large volume of cars trying to enter the former fairgrounds is a bigger concern than the fee itself. Traffic flow is not the best on game nights even without vehicles having to stop to pay or show passes. It will be a nightmare on nights with games at both Devaney and the Ice Box. Imagine the day last season when there were men's and women's basketball games back-to-back along with a game at the Ice Box...compounded by the parking fee. I am glad to hear the Stars hope to come up with a system that works. I also wonder what kind of restrictions there will be on where we are allowed to park once we make it through the gate. Another poster mentioned a shuttle – someone may have to resurrect the old P.O. Pears bus for people who want to avoid the hassle. My guess is the Stars are picking up the cost for this year to give us a little time to adjust to the idea of paying for parking. Maybe I am wrong, but I am not counting on this the following season or as an annual perk. It is definitely a plus to see the cost for season tickets remain the same and to have the cost of the parking covered.

Relocation to the renovated area – a lottery with "yet to be determined" ticket price & benefits - sounds a little vague at this point, but the option may attract some people. Personally, I would rather see the bathrooms renovated :)

Day 1 of the annual Roster hostage situation is almost over. When will it end and will there be casualties? Sioux City, Chicago, and Omaha have released their protected rosters – probably others. Not sure why this has to be an issue here...

Yeti said...

starstruck,

Very good points. Thanks for the comment. I remember that game last season when the Stars played on the same day the mens and womens basketball teams played. What normally was a 10 minute drive turned into an hour and a half nightmare. Like you said, that was without having to stop a pay a parking fee, or check for a pass. I really, really hope I'm wrong...but I have a feeling this could turn ugly...especially with the incompetent clowns UNL hires to "direct" traffic.

New Hockey Fan said...

I do wnat to thank the Stars organization for paying the parking this year. Perhaps in the future they could find a sponsor to pick up the cost for season ticket holders. Isn't that what Omaha is doing this year?
I like the idea of an express lane for season ticket holders who have a pass, that would help. Perhaps UNL could sell monthly passes at a bit of a reduced cost for others to keep down the number of people who have to stop and pay.

Don't forget, we also have an exhibition game at Tri City, hope to see lots of fans at both games. Any inside information on the Fall Classic yet? Can't wait for this season-G
o Stars!

Anonymous said...

Where can you find other teams rosters along with the stars roster???

Yeti said...

Anon @ 12:38pm,

The Stars protected roster hasn't been released yet. It will probably be next week until they decide to release it. Once it is, we will post it here.

Some other teams in the USHL have already posted their protected rosters on their websites. I would check there for those rosters. Go to the ushl.com main website for all of those team websites.

lincolnfan said...

there has to be some reason that the Stars are so much later in releasing their roster.. surely it's not just a lack of knowing how to format it and upload it to the website.. the Stars have some of the more dedicated and knowledgeable fans, you would think the organization knows that the fans want to see the roster. i just don't get why it's so difficult for them to release it when the other teams do...