With self-service kiosks giving guests the chance to order before reaching the counter, and with mobile ticket sellers posted outside, lines at The Garden are shrinking.
Mike Creed never had training as a maitre d’, but there he was on a recent evening in a Madison Square Garden blue windbreaker, poised at the front doors, gently guiding guests through their ticket options.
Huddled around him were four young men visiting from Hamburg, Germany, who regarded a pilgrimage to The Garden as an essential part of their trip.
“I have good ones here, a bit upstairs with a good center ice view,” Creed said, pointing to the screen on an iPad. “You’ll get a great panoramic feel.”
“Yes,” said Jan Feddern. “That’s what we want.”
Then, with a swipe of a credit card the deal was done, and the four tourists, eager to see the drop of the puck, bound up the stairs to see the Rangers play. This is now a familiar moment.
For the first time, The Garden — as part of a larger effort to shorten lines and enhance the experience of its guests — has deployed mobile ticket sellers before Knicks and Rangers games to act as an extension of the box office. Guests can purchase tickets on the spot, which are then sent electronically to their phones, ready for scanning. And others, who end up deciding not to buy, are spared having to enter the building and pass through security.
With the exception of sold-out contests, two ticket sellers are dispatched about 90 minutes before game time to the breezeway leading to the Seventh Avenue entrance. Before the recent Rangers’ game, Creed also sold Knicks tickets for the following night to Samanta and Cesar Pereira, in from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Creed’s sales partner, Mike DeRisi, said it had been a brisk evening, adding that he had sold 76 tickets before a recent Knicks’ game.
Lines have thinned all around The Garden. There are two new entry points on Eighth Avenue, as well as canopied entrances on 31st and 33rd Streets for Club and Suite guests. And everyone is encouraged to arrive early and leave bags at home to help the security check run smoothly.
Fans can also now use self-service kiosks stationed near food and beverage concessions to place and pay for their orders before moving to the counter. The kiosks have successfully reduced the swell of lines, both pregame and during intermissions. And fans are no longer confronted with missing chunks of the game while languishing on line.
With a few taps of a broad screen along a row of kiosks, Nick and Loren Stravino, newlyweds from Oceanside, L.I., selected two orders of chicken tenders, a diet soda and a beer. In no more than two minutes, they were served.
Meantime, the Garden’s Alexandria O’Shaughnessy cheerfully answered any questions that came along, which also helped quicken the wait.
Nick Moura, a self-described hockey junkie from Orlando, Fla., said that in visits to several other arenas this season, he had not come across a similar convenience. This was his first trip to The Garden, and order in hand, he could barely contain his excitement.
Pausing before entering the passageway at Section 110, he said, “I can’t wait to get inside.”
About The Madison Square Garden Company
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL) and the New York Liberty (WNBA); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com