The Wizards are raising most season ticket prices


(Alex Brandon/AP)

The Wizards announced their 2014-2015 season ticket pricing this week, which brought news that most of their tickets are going up in price.

Monumental Sports, you might recall, instituted a three-year price freeze shortly after obtaining a 100 percent interest in the Wizards in 2011. Those three years are now expiring.

As is typical in these cases, many fans are unhappy. Others are just seeking more information. Still others are sanguine, figuring the laws of economics will dictate what the team can charge. No matter your feelings, I figured I would present a few facts.

* According to the team, the overall price increase is 11.2 percent. Also according to the team, this is the first price increase since the 2007-2008 season.

“After an independent external analysis of our pricing, we made what we consider to be fair and appropriate adjustments,” a spokesman said in a statement.

* Eight percent of the seats — mostly 100- and 400-level seats behind the baskets — are not increasing in price.

* The biggest increase — from $9.50 to $16, or 68 percent — are in the middle and back rows of some baseline 400 sections. Essentially, those sections are no longer divided into cheaper and more expensive areas. The formerly discounted back rows have been folded into the rest of the $16-per-game sections.

* If you exclude the amenities-laden VIP seats — many of which are seeing large increases in price — 76 percent of season seats sold are seeing increases of $5 or less per game, according to the team.

* Still, even $5 or less can make for a large percentage. The next biggest increase after the 68 percenters comes in the 10 center-most sections of the 400 levels, where prices are going from $16 to $20 per game. That’s a 25 percent increase.

* Another above-average increase comes in the biggest areas of the 100-level baseline sections. Seats there are moving from $31 to $35 per game, an increase of 13 percent.

* Maybe this goes without saying, but unlike with Capitals season ticket holders, renewing Wizards customers and new customers pay the same prices. (Renewing Caps season ticket holders get a sizable discount.)

* However, there are a host of enticements for renewing Wizards customers, including playoff ticket priority (with guaranteed seat locations and pay-as-we-play payment options), a renewal gift (a Wall/Beal All-Star Weekend commemorative piece), a 12-month interest free payment plan, and so on.

* At the risk of being a management toadie, I’d point out that Team Marketing Report — whose data are not always perfect — had the Wizards with the fourth-cheapest average tickets this season. Only New Orleans, Charlotte and Memphis were cheaper.

* At $16, the cheapest Wizards season ticket is still half the cost of the cheapest Caps season ticket for new customers. Those start at $32.

* At $31, the cheapest 100-level Wizards season ticket is still less than half the cost of the cheapest 100-level Caps season ticket for new customers. Those start at $80.

* Average attendance this year has been 16,763, according to ESPN, which ranks 19th in the NBA. Last season, the Wizards averaged 16,343, which ranked 19th, according to the site.

(Bullets Forever also wrote about the price increases. And one angry fan explained his anger here. Another expressed his unhappiness on Twitter, while still another just wanted the team to be more explicit about the increases.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Dan Steinberg · February 18, 2014