Devils’ Website Urges Home Fans to Keep Rangers’ Backers Away

The New Jersey Devils are urging fans to avoid traditional means of re-selling tickets for home games to keep New York Rangers fans out of the Prudential Center during the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference finals.

A majority of tickets for Devils home games in the best-of-seven playoff series were sold to New Jersey fans through exclusive pre-sales, the team said yesterday on its website in a post titled “No Blue.” Those looking to sell tickets were encouraged to avoid the secondary market and seek blogs that can put sellers in touch with Devils fans.

“You can ask for pictures or meet them to deliver tickets to ensure where their loyalty lies,” the team said in the post.

The post directed fans who were unsure about using blogs to sell their tickets to call 855-DEV-ARMY to ensure the tickets go to New Jersey fans. A call placed to the line about 11 p.m. last night was greeted with a recorded voice saying all representatives were busy.

The post was removed last evening, and the link now leads to an error message on the team website. Devils spokesman Mike Levine failed to provide an explanation for the post’s removal in two telephone interviews, two voice mail messages and an e-mail seeking the information.

The Rangers won the first game in the series 3-0 two days ago at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Prudential Center in Newark, a 25-minute drive or 17-minute train ride from Manhattan, will host Game 3 on May 19, Game 4 on May 21 and Game 6 if necessary on May 25.

Higher Price

Tickets for games in New Jersey cost an average of $615, compared with a pre-series average of $931 at Madison Square Garden, according to TiqIQ, an aggregator of the online resale market. Transactions for those games have seen a roughly 4-to-1 ratio of New York to New Jersey buyers, according to TiqIQ spokesman Chris Matcovich.

“A lot of these people were probably able to buy more seats than they had season tickets and are probably looking at it as a way to make a couple extra bucks and defer the cost of the seats they are actually going to sit in for the game,” Matcovich said yesterday in a telephone interview.

The Devils’ post was similar to the “Take Back the Park” campaign that the Washington Nationals began to keep tickets away from Philadelphia Phillies fans during a Major League Baseball series in Washington this month, Matcovich said.

“When you have a team with a smaller fan base, such as the Nationals or the Devils, it doesn’t surprise me that they have to put together some type of initiative like this to try and get their fans in the stadium as opposed to their cross-river rivals,” he said.

The Devils ranked 24th in the 30-team NHL with an average 15,396 fans at 41 homes games this season, 87 percent of the Prudential Center’s capacity, according to ESPN. The Rangers ranked 14th, with an average of 18,191 fans per home game, which is Madison Square Garden’s capacity.