How much more would you pay for Sens tickets?

Interesting little slide show over on Forbes about ticket prices throughout the NHL. A few observations:

1) Ottawa is right smack in the middle of the league, with a 15th highest average ticket price of $137.82. That’s less than the average ticket price for a non-traditional market like San Jose ($150.65) and teams who’ve been mediocre for a while, like the Islanders ($150.60) Wild ($153.82) and Sabres ($139.53).

2) There’s a pretty big drop between the top ten highest average ticket prices and 11 on. Number ten is Pittsburgh at $203.93, and 11 is the Wild–almost fifty bucks cheaper.

3) The Kings, Caps and Flyers are a surprisingly cheap ticket, considering their respective payrolls and the Kings’ recent success.

4) Is there better value in the league than a Colorado ticket right now? They’re 29th at $86.40, and you get to see Duchene, MacKinnon, and any day now Patrick Roy doing something insane.

5) The most expensive ticket is Toronto at $368.60. Obviously.

What makes this interesting for Ottawa fans is that we just emerged from a summer of reporting on the team’s financial woes. Melnyk (who is scheduled to appear on the radio later today…I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that he’ll say something dumbfoundingly ridiculous and contradictory) said the team loses staggering amounts of money, doesn’t have much in the way of secondary revenue streams, etc.

I’m sure the team has reliable market data that tells them precisely the point at which raising ticket prices will result in a drop-off in attendance, but I was surprised by how low Ottawa’s ticket prices are. Especially considering that all of the other Canadian teams were in the top seven in ticket prices. Montreal is the next cheapest at $257.06–over a hundred  bucks more per ticket than Ottawa. (Though surprisingly they’re a cheaper ticket than Calgary and Edmonton. Also cheaper than Winnipeg, though given the small size of their arena, I suppose that makes sense.)

There’s a lot we don’t know here. For instance, does this average include corporate suites? What about ticket packages that drive down the average but increase stability for a team that needs a reliable revenue stream? Does the location of those other teams’ arenas increase walk-up purchases of pricier tickets? But just on the face of it, it looks like Ottawa could include a sizeable increase in ticket prices and they wouldn’t be out of line with the trends in the NHL. This, even with ticket prices having gone up by 6% over last year.

But would Ottawans be willing to pay more? I think the Sens have been really proactive about their outreach to fans, and I recall a poll performed in the last few years that showed that ticket prices were a concern. We also all know about how difficult it can be to get out to games. (Something they’re trying to alleviate by paying for additional ramps for buses to the arena from the highway.) With so many options to watch the game downtown and spend that ticket money on beer and food instead, would a sizeable increase really damage the underlying number of people who would be willing to chant Pageau’s name on the bus for 40 minutes?

Like anything, I assume you’d have to see the money reflected in the quality of the product. While it’s nice that Ottawa has affordable tickets, they don’t spend much in the way of salary, spending less than all but four other teams. It seems to me that Ottawa is running a pretty bare-bones operation: low salary, not much in the way of fan giveaways, none of the razzle-dazzle you see in big markets like Chicago with red-carpet openings and flashy free agent acquisitions. But on the other hand it’s cheap. We’re like No Name brand pancake mix.

[UPDATE: I got an email about the home opener today – there IS a red carpet event! Touch me, Stephan Da Costa! TOUCH ME.]

Remember also that this is the average ticket price, and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. I don’t think I’ve paid more than $60 for a ticket unless it was to a playoff game. I’ll be at the home opener on Thursday and my ticket was $45.

So, what say you? If you knew that Ottawa was going to go from 25th in league spending on payroll to, say 15th (which is Chicago), would you pony up for it?

6 thoughts on “How much more would you pay for Sens tickets?

  1. It really depends on team performance. When they were lights out I wasn’t averse to spending $80-$120 per ticket. Past few years? Haven’t spent much, if anything. I got some tickets to the playoff games from a friend that works around the arena in grounds crew (seats were in low 300s). I won’t be there tomorrow, it seems like a meh opponent. New Jersey sucks and while I’m sure we’ll have a nice fan intro and all, this is a gimme game…the Sens are almost sure to win.

    TLDR: If the team is tops in the East, I’ll shell out money. If the team is middling in the East, I’ll spend less money. If the team is out of the playoff race, I’ll spend nothing. If the team is in the playoffs, I’ll probably go unless they’re playing like…Carolina or Columbus or something.

    REALTLDR: You #1? I spend for it.

    • Wow, go Sens go! Past couple of years…just a playoff team, SKIIIIIIIIIIIIIP. I personally think it’s embarrassing that we haven’t sold out the home opener. Also a little shocked that you wont go to a game because the Sens chances of winning are good yet you say you’re most likely to spend dough when “if the team is tops in the East.” Thank god the rebuild is going quicker than expected.

    • Yeah, I don’t mean to pick on you QQ – hey, it’s your cash, and you should spend it however you like – but those are some really high expectations for the team. They have to be one of the best in the league, and even then you may not go unless the match-up is just right? Wowza. Again, not trying to pick on you, but that seems like a lot to ask.

      But fair enough – I asked, you answered!

  2. You need to be a serious fan to go to a game ..
    60 dollar ticket with parking, taxes, and other fees is closer to 100 dollars than 60.
    Add the 5 hour for a game 2 hour drive there and back and 3 hours at the game.

  3. Pingback: Senators News: October 17th | eyeonthesens

  4. Pingback: Why do so many Ottawa fans feel disconnected from the live game experience? |

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