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Commentary
NHL prices in check
October 2, 2001: 2:12 p.m. ET

Many hockey teams are holding or cutting ticket, concession prices
A twice-weekly column by Staff Writer Chris Isidore
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Ticket and concession prices for the upcoming National Hockey League were basically held in check this year, as eight of the league's 30 teams did not raise ticket prices and three others will see lower average ticket prices.

The price survey is not only good news for the sport's fans, but it may be a sign that there is a ceiling on sports prices, especially with the current slowing economy.

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Many hockey fans, including these in Atlanta, will be paying less or the same for tickets this year, according to a survey of prices.
According to Team Marketing Report, which does an annual survey of fan prices in the nation's four major leagues, the average ticket price this season is up only 4.5 percent to $49.86.

The publication's fan cost index, which estimates the total ticket, food and extra costs for a family of four to attend a game, saw a 3.7 percent increase to $274.66.

The two teams cutting ticket prices were the Atlanta Thrashers, which debuted three seasons ago, and the Carolina Hurricanes, which moved from Hartford, Conn., in 1998.

The Hurricanes' average ticket price fell 6.2 percent to $38.70. The Thrashers, a unit of AOL Time Warner (AOL: up $0.09 to $32.86, Research, Estimates) which also owns CNNfn, cut three season ticket package prices, reducing the average ticket cost by 2.7 percent to $49.91, just above the league average.

A third team, the Calgary Flames, raised some ticket prices, but the addition of a number of lower priced seats to their arena led to a 0.3 percent decline in average ticket prices. The Flames also have the lowest average ticket price of $32.79 in American dollars, as well as the lowest fan cost index of US$188.41.

Slowing economy may be factor

Kurt Hunzeker, editor of Team Marketing Report, said that numerous factors influence team pricing, but the current slowdown in the U.S. economy maybe showing itself in this latest set of prices.

"When the economy started pulling south in January and February, baseball and football had their prices set for this year. Basketball and hockey had not," he said.

The NHL prices are also held down by having so many teams in Canada, where fans are paying with Canadian dollars worth only about 64 U.S. cents. Of the six Canadian teams, only the Toronto Maple Leafs have prices above the league average.

The report's survey of NBA prices is due out later this month. The NFL survey showed an 8.7 percent increase in average ticket prices and an 8.4 percent increase in the fan cost index. Baseball, the least expensive of the four team sports, showed a 12.9 percent increase in ticket prices and a 9.5 percent hike in the fan cost index.

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Staff Writer Chris Isidore covers the business of sports for CNNfn.com.
There were some hockey teams posting significant increases in prices and concession costs. At the top of the list was the Dallas Stars, whose fans will pay 34.5 percent more for an average of $75.91, for tickets to the team's new arena. That is also the league's most expensive average ticket. The team's fan cost index rose 32 percent to $386.12, also the highest in the league.

Four other teams the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightening and the Pittsburgh Penguins posted double-digit percentage increases in tickets.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche will have the league's fourth most expensive ticket and third most expensive fan cost index, although both increased by about 3.5 percent from last year's level.

Two of the teams holding the line on prices play in the New York area the New York Rangers and Long Island-based New York Islanders. The others not raising prices are Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Nashville Predators and the Philadelphia Flyers. Even Hunzeker said he was surprised by the number of teams holding prices down.

"We always have three or four, but I don't ever remember this many," he said. graphic

  RELATED STORIES

Football fans hit by price hikes - Sept. 5, 2001

Baseball ticket prices going, going...up - Mar. 30, 2001

  RELATED LINKS

Business of Sports column archive

National Hockey League

Team Marketing Report





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