Team Marketing Report, a sports finance and marketing group out of Chicago, released their annual Fan Cost Index report for the NHL this week. The report looks at the year-over-year costs of attending games in all 30 NHL buildings, both for families and individuals.
Just over a month removed from the end of the 2012 NHL lockout, TMR’s report has found that NHL clubs have increased their ticket prices for individuals by 5.7 percent, while a family of four attending one game has seen their night out increase some 7.9 percent over what it would have cost a year ago.
From TMR’s report,
The exclusive Fan Cost Index gives a representative look at the cost of taking a family of four to a hockey game.
The FCI comprises the price of four general (not premium) season tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-sized hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two adult-sized caps.
Premium tickets (club seats or tickets with extra amenities as determined by the individual teams) are listed in a separate category.
Season ticket packages went out as normal as the league expected a lengthy lockout, and many teams offered fans, specifically season ticket holders, deals on merchandise and
concessions once the schedule began in January.
Still, the average ticket price has gone up about 50 percent since the sport’s last lockout.
It takes some sort of gall to cancel 510 regular season games and then offer temporarily discounted concessions and merchandise as a means of pulling the wool over fans’ eyes. Credit the NHL, though, for understanding and then exploiting the strange, inelastic corner of the market that they have carved out of the North American pro sports charityscape.
It isn’t the first time they’ve done this.
Following the 1994-95 NHL lockout, ticket prices increased more than 13 percent in the 48-game year. The NHL is now playing an identical lockout schedule, and individual tickets have gone up 5.7 percent to an average of $61.01 per stub, while the cost of taking a family of four to a game (FCI) is hovering around $354.82.
Despite maintaining last year’s prices, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the costliest average ticket in hockey at $124.69 (no other team averages more than $100 for non-premium seating), while the Dallas Stars offer the cheapest average admission at $36.09.
Pittsburgh offers one of the better products in hockey, and have begun to charge accordingly. The average ticket to a Penguins game increased 7.1 percent in 2013 to $67.52, while the average premium ticket (club seating, for example) now costs $167.50. Pittsburgh’s FCI, too, has climbed, by 10.1 percent to $369.07.
The increased cost in attending a game at CONSOL Energy Center now makes the Penguins the fourth-most expensive home ticket among the 23 U.S. franchises, and ninth-most expensive in the NHL.
The Penguins might be charging more, but fans have at least been rewarded with six consecutive playoff appearances and investments in a new arena and star players. League-wide, 19 of the NHL’s 30 clubs increased their ticket prices by a percentage point or more, the Penguins among them, while eight more held their prices of a year ago.
Only three clubs actually made it more affordable to attend the fewer games that were available.