NHL clubs changing ticket pricing policy

I’m not so sure that I disagree or agree with this idea. Right now I “think” that I more agree with the current ticket pricing style as here in Dallas where tickets remain the same price at each and every game of the Regular season.

Well, there are a few cities that will charge more when “certain” teams come to town. That is when a supposed “better” team comes. Well, what if that team just flat out sux that night? What if a great player is injuered? What if this is the night they sit out their starting goalie? Was it worth the extra 10-20%?Canadian Press


VANCOUVER (CP) – The Vancouver Canucks have joined at least two other NHL clubs in gambling fans will pay more to watch the league’s best teams.

The Canucks, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will all use variable pricing this season, charging 10 to 20 per cent extra for single-game tickets for marquee teams. It’s a practice already used in major-league baseball and American college football.

Fans may grumble they don’t receive a discount when the Atlanta Thrashers or Minnesota Wild come to town, but team officials maintain charging more for certain games helps hold the line on ticket prices.

“Rather than do an across-the-board, four-or-five per cent increase, we thought we’d get a little bit more selective and try and keep the prices frozen for as many games as we can,” Dave Cobb, Vancouver’s chief operating officer, said Monday.

“We think it’s a more effective way of getting the same amount of money because it allows us to maintain all our discount ticket programs that are in place now and also freezes prices on a majority of our games.”

Phil Legault, Ottawa’s vice-president of communications, said only seven of the Senators 41 home games will carry an extra price.

“By having premium-game pricing on a few high-demand games, that allowed us to keep the ticket prices unchanged for our other 34 games,” he said in a telephone interview.

“There is ample opportunity to take advantage of the regular prices.”

In both Vancouver and Ottawa, season-ticket holders won’t pay the premiums.

Sports economist Andrew Zimbalist said variable pricing for athletic events isn’t that much different than what airlines do with seats and hotels with rooms.

“It’s simply responding to demand,” said Zimbalist, a economics professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, who has published 12 books.

“Among those people who have the most intense desire and can afford it, it’s charging them closer to a market price. It will make it possible for the team to generate more money and maybe come out financially better.”

A Penguins spokesman said variable pricing is similar to a team scalping its own tickets.

“In the music business, we used to always say the reason we hated scalping was that we weren’t in on the action,” Tom Rooney, president of Team Lemieux LLC, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“And, to a certain extent, there’s something about that here. If we’re going to be cherry-picked, people should pay the freight.”

Canucks fans will pay extra for just six games.

Single-game tickets for Toronto’s two visits to GM Place will cost 20 per cent more than other tickets. Games against Detroit, the New York Rangers and one of the Colorado Avalanche’s three visits to Vancouver will cost 10 per cent more.

Single-game tickets to watch the Senators play Toronto and Detroit will cost 20 per cent more. Games against Montreal and Colorado will cost an additional 10 per cent.

The Penguins will charge $5 US extra for certain games against the Rangers, Detroit and Philadelphia. Other games may be added.

Last season, the Penguins set the single-game price for weekend games at $5 more than for those on week nights.

In Vancouver, the extra prices will be added onto tickets already costing between $27 and $80. In Ottawa, the prices will be applied to tickets starting at $40 and ranging up to $165.

Baseball’s Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants all have variable pricing.

The Cardinals charged an extra $1 US for games between May 21 and Sept. 2, a move expected to generate $750,000 US in revenue.

This year the Giants started charging $1 to $5 US more for weekend games, which could result in an extra $1 million US.

Both Cobb and Legault said they have received few complaints about the increased prices.

Both teams will review the policy after the season.

“If it allows us to maintain our family discount programs and allows us to freeze the pricing on the majority of our games, we would look at doing it again,” Cobb said.

“Whether there would be more games I’m not sure.”