This past weekend, my wife surprised me with a couples trip to Niagara Falls, for my birthday. Priority one was finding a venue to Watch UFC 145, Jones Vs Evans. I knew that Boston Pizza carries the UFC, as an exclusive carrier and sponsor of the event in Canada. They paid big bucks for the rights.
As luck would have it, the largest Boston Pizza in Canada was a 5 minute walk from our hotel. So we got dressed up and the four of us headed down to the restaurant to catch dinner and the fights.
When we arrived, I asked the waitress if the bar would be carrying the preliminary fights. She said no. But she was sure they could change one TV to Sportsnet if I really wanted to watch. Already at this point i'm raising an eyebrow, as there are easily 100 TVs and it's fight night!
So I notice that all the TVs are cranking the NHL playoffs at full volume. I ask the waitress if the UFC event will have volume.....she smiles and says "No, not ever." I explain that we are from out of town and that Boston Pizza is the exclusive rights holder for UFC in Canada...... and I'd really like to hear the fights, as advertised by their restaurant
She smiles and asks if i'd like to speak to the manager.
So a few minutes later, I get a bar manager.......not the main manager. I explain my issue and he says "There's nothing I can do"......and I ask him if he isn't interested in the UFC in general or just doesn't want my money? He tells me that "Boston Pizza is not interesed in THAT ELEMENT (me?) and doesn't want to have THAT ATMOSPHERE in the restaurant"
I said....um....do we look like we will start a fight because we hear Joe Rogan telling us about OTHER people fighting? Do you plan on turning down the volume if there is a fight during the hockey game?
I get a patronizing smile and he tells me that I'm welcome to speak to the manager. I smile back and say "send him over please"
I sat there for 20 minutes. He didn't come. So I paid our round and we went across the road and dropped $400 at Dave and Buster's.
This is what it is to be a UFC fan in corporate Canada? I am riff raff. And so are you. I should add that my wife and I, along with the other couple, were well dressed, sober, courteous and willing to be reasonable. At no point was I rude with anyone, whatsoever.
We were embarrassed.......and poorly treated....when all I wanted to do was have dinner and drinks and watch UFC with my friends, on my birthday.
100 TVs. No prelims. No volume. And I was called " an element" who would create a "bad atmosphere"
Needless to say, I will never spend 5 cents at a Boston Pizza again. Ever.
I just hope that every now and then, when a UFC fan googles Boston Pizza and UFC, they will read this and go spend their money elsewhere, rather than be looked down on by a company who supposedly embraces MMA and it's fans.