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Posted at 09:44 PM ET, 03/08/2011

Capitals raise ticket prices again

As you might have heard, the Capitals recently sent out ticket invoices to season ticket holders, and the headline is that prices are going up for the fourth straight year.

Wait, that sounds kind of familiar? Oh yeah, I wrote nearly the identical sentence about a year ago. Because people seem to be interested in such matters, I will provide a very similar Q&A to the one I provided last year, bearing in mind that these are complicated matters with lots of numbers involved. If you have further questions, please note them below.

How much are prices increasing?

Like last year, there are two sets of season-ticket prices: one for existing ticket holders who renew by March 16, and another for new season-ticket holders. This is the second time the Caps have offered a discount to existing plan holders.

For people who renew their existing packages by the deadline, prices are increasing anywhere from 4 percent to 21 percent. For people who sign up after March 16, prices are increasing anywhere from from 6 percent to 19 percent.

What else is new?

The biggest change, I think, is the introduction of different prices for “attacking” and “defending” seats. This means that season-ticket plans on the end of the ice where the Caps shoot in the first and third periods are now more expensive than plans on the end where the Caps defend twice a game.

How much is the difference? It depends. For lower preferred renewals, the attacking end seats ($80) are five bucks more than the defending end seats ($75). Same thing for loge preferred renewals ($65 instead of $60). Upstairs, the difference is smaller. For mezzanine end renewals, the attacking end seats are $34 instead of $32. For mezzanine corner renewals, the attacking end seats are $29 instead of $27.

A team spokesman told me that there is a greater demand for attacking end seats, and that about half the NHL’s teams have a similar two-tier pricing structure.

How much did prices increase in recent years?

Two years ago, they went up anywhere from 5 percent (lower bowl) to 20 percent (Goal Zone) for season-ticket holders. Last year, they went up anywhere from 13 percent (lower bowl) to 33 percent (corner 400 level) for existing plan holders, and from 16 percent (lower bowl) to 50 percent (corner 400 level) for new plan buyers

What about gate prices?

The team hasn’t announced what gate prices will cost next season, but they’re also expected to increase, and will remain significantly higher than season-ticket prices. Those numbers won’t be out until July.

How will the new ticket prices compare to other teams in the NHL?

Impossible to say. Since the lockout, the Caps have said that their season-ticket prices have been in the bottom third of the NHL. As I wrote last year, that’s a pretty good deal, considering the wealth of the team’s fanbase and the team’s status as an annual playoff contender.

It’s too early to say, but it’s possible that the Caps will no longer be in the bottom third after this latest increase. A team spokesman, though, said the team would certainly remain in the bottom half of the NHL in season-ticket pricing.

Team Marketing Report publishes an annual study on NHL fan costs, although many people in the industry are wary of the study’s accuracy. This year, TMR said the Caps average ticket price was $55.57, which ranked 12th in the NHL and was about a dollar more than the NHL average. TMR said the Caps had the NHL’s biggest ticket price increase for this season. It also said the Caps’ average premium ticket cost $166.27, which ranked third in the NHL.

Any free plugs for the team

Don’t forget their great payments options: 12 months, no interest!!!!

Conclusions

The larger (and obvious) point is the same one I made last year: supply and demand have still not reached their equilibrium. The Redskins haven’t raised season-ticket prices since 2006. The Caps obviously are still catching up to reality.

The Prices, for March 16 Renewals

VIP Row A: Increase from $246 to $275 (12 percent)

VIP Row B: $156 to $175 (12 percent)

Center Preferred: $96 to $110 (15 percent)

Center Preferred Attack: $96 to $105 (9 percent)

Center Preferred Defend: $96 to 100 (4 percent)

Lower Preferred Attack: $71 to 80 (13 percent)

Lower Preferred Defend: $71 to $75 (6 percent)

Loge Preferred Attack: $56 to $65 (16 percent)

Loge Preferred Defend: $56 to $60 (7 percent)

Mezzanine Center: $40 to $44 (10 percent)

Mezzanine End Attack: $29 to $34 (17 percent)

Mezzanine End Defend: $29 to $32 (10 percent)

Mezzanine Corner Attack: $24 to $29 (21 percent)

Mezzanine Corner Defend: $24 to $27 (13 percent)

The Prices, for post-March 16 Buyers

VIP Row A: Increase from $251 to $280 (12 percent)

VIP Row B: $161 to $180 (12 percent)

Center Preferred: $99 to $115 (16 percent)

Center Preferred Attack: $99 to $110 (11 percent)

Center Preferred Defend: $99 to $105 (6 percent)

Lower Preferred Attack: $74 to $85 (15 percent)

Lower Preferred Defend: $74 to $80 (8 percent)

Loge Preferred Attack: $59 to $70 (19 percent)

Loge Preferred Defend: $59 to $65 (10 percent)

Mezzanine Center: $43 to $47 (9 percent)

Mezzanine End Attack: $32 to $37 (16 percent)

Mezzanine End Defend: $32 to $35 (9 percent)

Mezzanine Corner Attack: $27 to $32 (19 percent)

Mezzanine Corner Defend: $27 to $30 (11 percent)

By  |  09:44 PM ET, 03/08/2011

 
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