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Retailers, consumers and prices

NHL teams put freeze on ticket prices

October 7, 2009

caps1National Hockey League teams put the freeze on ticket prices this season.

The average price for general tickets in the NHL ticked up just 0.1 percent to $51.41, according to Team Marketing Report (TMR), a sports marketing firm that tracks ticket costs in the major North American sports leagues. After adjusting Canadian prices to current exchange rates, the average cost of a ticket rose by just 5 cents.  

In the previous three years, the average NHL ticket cost rose 5.1 percent (2008-2009), 7.7 percent (2007-2008) and 3.7 percent (2006-2007), TMR said.

Fourteen teams kept prices unchanged from last year and six saw their averages decline, according to TMR.

Meanwhile, the average Fan Cost Index (FCI) – the cost of a family of four to attend a game — rose 1.7 percent to $301, TMR said. The FCI includes the cost of four tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two game programs and two caps.

The average premium ticket is $118.63, TMR said.

The recession has forced sports leagues to rethink prices as consumers cut spending on tickets as well as food and souvenirs once at an event. The National Football League has had to black out local broadcasts in some markets due to a lack of sellouts, while the cost of tickets in the secondary market for Major League Baseball first-round playoff games are down as much as 50 percent in some markets. 

In the NHL rankings, the highest average price belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs at $117.49, up 10.2 percent from last year, TMR said. The team’s FCI also is the highest at $585.87. The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins raised their prices 8 percent on average to $55.55.

Teams with double-digit percentage declines in average price were the Boston Bruins (off 10.5 percent), New Jersey Devils (off 15.9 percent) and the  Tampa Bay Lightning (down 16.5 percent), TMR said. The Dallas Stars had the lowest average at $35.66, a decline of 5.7 percent from last season, while the Lightning’s FCI was the lowest at $221.04, down 12.4 percent.

(Reuters photo)

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