Watching Hockey in Chicago to get More Expensive

Just as gas is hitting the $4.75 mark in Chicago, it’s going to be getting a little expensive to watch the Blackhawks play next season according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reported yesterday the team will be increasing ticket prices by an average of eight percent across the board next season. The cheapest 300-level seats move from $24 per game to $28, and the most expensive in the Private Bank Platinum Seats go from $320 to $335. This isn’t the first increase in ticket price with the recent success of the team. In 2008, there an average hike of 16 percent and some tickets nearly doubled at an 85 percent increase. That increase was the first spike in ticket prices in a decade. Since then, Chicago fans saw ticket increase of 20 percent coming off their Stanley Cup championship in 2010.

Next season, season ticket holders receive a little bit of a break as their ticket prices will have a deeper discount off the face value of tickets. Case in point: if you want to see them several times next season, it might be more economical to invest in a season ticket plan versus paying more for single-game tickets. Team President John McDonough said they have been sensitive to ticket prices and the fan base, but only recently they have crept in the top half of NHL franchises in relation to average ticket prices. He also linked the season ticket increase to the high quality product he has helped put on the ice. “We want the product to continually improve, and we’re going to do everything we can to do that,” McDonough said to the Chicago Tribune. “(The increase is) also commensurate with the caliber of product that we put on the ice, so we want to make sure that there’s consistent excellence going forward.”

According to a Team Marketing Report, the average ticket price in Chicago for 2011-12 was $55.72, slightly below the NHL average of $57.39. Chicago has had a 99 percent renewal rate the last two seasons and have a waiting list in excess of 10,000 for season tickets. With those numbers behind them, they should have no problems filling each of the $22,248 seats and standing room spots at the United Center. The Hawks’ home attendance at an average of 21,532 fans per game is on pace to lead the NHL in per-game average for the fourth consecutive season. Counting regular season and playoffs, the team has played in front of 186 consecutive home sellouts, a franchise record.

VP of Ticket Operations Chris Werner said 26 percent of the seats at the United Center will be under $30 for season ticket holders. To translate that he could be saying “All the seats on the top half of the upper level are the only ones families, college students, young professional-working class hockey fans will be able to afford.”

It has yet to be determined whether single-game seats for the 2012-13 season will increase similarly. Look for prices of those to come during the summer. Single-game tickets in recent years have had an increase similar to season tickets.





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