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Posted at 11:29 AM ET, 03/30/2011

How high is too high for ticket prices?

Last week, the D.C. Sports Bog reported that next season the Caps will offer standing-room only season tickets. I was thrilled! Shouldn’t a hockey crowd be loud, enthusiastic and gritty? Don’t we want to make Verizon Center a fearsome place? Don’t woo your clients here! This arena is for everyday people who are tired of wearing their jerseys at home on the couch! Not to mention, isn’t part of an effective community relations program making sure that the game is accessible to everyone?

Well, at $60 a ticket and $2,550 for the whole season, suffice to say these standing-room only tickets are hardly going to open up this game to every fan.

Truth be told, expanding the audience able to afford tickets wasn’t the intention here. By offering these tickets, the Caps are hoping to meet the growing need for season tickets, a product that’s considered a luxury at any price point. So let’s first talk about this season ticket option, and then get into the issue of ticket prices more generally.

Box Seats being a fan blog, I thought I’d offer a fan perspective. When I was in high school, my father and I were privileged enough to share season tickets, allowing us to attend 10 games per season, sitting in fabulous section 100. Going to those games afforded me an opportunity to get to know this team and its fan culture in a special way.

But would I buy standing-room only season tickets in order to be a part of the Verizon Center experience every night? Certainly not for $60 per game. Being only 5-5, I’d need to record the games at home just in case I get a bad spot on a given night. Long story short, standing-room only season tickets are a pass for me.

Whether because of the practical issues or the price point, Caps fans seem to agree with me. In a poll of 1,500 readers of Capitals Insider, only 14 percent were interested in the standing-room only season tickets, with 37 percent completely uninterested, and 47 percent saying they might look into it if the tickets were cheaper.

So season tickets aside, how much does it cost to go to a Caps game? According to Ticketmaster, the cheapest tickets in the house have a face value of $55. The most expensive? $300. That’s right, for $1,200, your family of four can go to a Caps game! Too steep? That’s OK, in the upper deck it will only cost you $320. Plus $90 for hot dogs. Stop me if I’m taking this one too far.

I had planned to close out this post with a paragraph outlining opportunities for discounted Caps tickets - student nights, for example, to show that while prices are high, there are still options. I enquired using the “Live Help Chat” from washingtoncaps.com, and was promptly told that the Caps no longer offer a student discount. When I pressed for more information on any kind of discounted tickets, I received no response.

What do you think: Do higher ticket prices simply come with the territory of being a successful team? Do prices strike you as too high, either for these standing-room only season tickets or on a single game basis? Does it disappoint you that there aren’t opportunities for discounts outside of large group rates?

By Nicole Weissman  |  11:29 AM ET, 03/30/2011

Tags:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman

 
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