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Philadelphia Flyers raise ticket prices for first time in three years, point to rising salary cap

Mar 28, 2011, 11:51 PM EDT

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

For the first time in three years, fans of the Philadelphia Flyers will need to fork over more money to buy season tickets to watch their team. Some might reasonably call it the price of winning while the Flyers front office points to the NHL’s rising salary cap as one of the primary reasons for the price increases.

Before you jump all over the Flyers organization for raising ticket prices, they deserve at least some credit for avoiding a hike for the last three years. A cynical type might point out that it’s sad to make such a comment, but let’s face it: consistent playoff teams in hockey-loving markets can sometimes name their prices.

Moving on, CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio has the lowdown on the changes. One focus is that the team will charge different prices based on seats with a better overall fan perception, meaning that the best seats will go for the highest prices. Before we delve into the team’s PR-spin on the price changes, here are the bottom-line facts of the Flyers’ ticket hikes, as reported by Panaccio.

The average season ticket will increase $6 per ticket or $260 overall in the full season package. The top seats currently at center ice cost a season ticket holder $79 (discounted). That price will increase to $95.

(snip)

The ticket increase amounts to an average 8-10 percent. However, the lower bowl is now restructured into six different price ranges. For instance, those seats behind the south net where the Flyers shoot twice a game will cost more than the seats at the north end where the team shoots once.

The seats directly in the middle of the ice will cost more than those near the corners.

The upper mezzanine will also change. There will be 15 different prices for all 15 rows. The farther back you are, the less you pay.

Current season ticket holders will be offered a chance to move to cheaper seats if they prefer.

Flyers executive Shawn Tilger leans on the league’s rising salary cap and an urge to earn revenues that “are more in line with other top teams” in the NHL to explain the price increase. (These quotes are also from Panaccio’s report.)

“We are rescaling the arena so that our revenues are more in line with other top teams in the National Hockey League,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “This rescaling still allows us the opportunity to provide affordable pricing options for our fans.”

Tilger said the Flyers marketing and sales department researched this for eight months using statistics from the NHL, in-house and outside sales, secondary market research (StubHub, eBay etc.), plus input from a fans’ advisory board on what they felt were the best locations in the arena.

(snip)

Tilger said the price increase was spurred, in part, by the dramatic rise in the salary cap from $39 million in 2005-06 to nearly $60 million this season.

Tilger pointed out that ticket prices here have risen 5 percent in eight years, while the salary cap has increased 52 percent.

To add a little more perspective to the discussion, Travis Hughes of Broadstreet Hockey offers a calm rebuttal for some of Tilger’s points.

Hughes points out that the team’s revenues are already among the top in the NHL, citing a Forbes report that ranked the Flyers fourth in revenue with $121 million in 2010. He also soberly debates the merits of the cap-related argument.

Secondly, on Tilger’s comment that one of the big reasons for the jump in ticket pricing has to do with the salary cap. We all know that just isn’t true at all. If ticket prices are directly related to the salary cap, how come they didn’t go down dramatically in 2004 when team payroll dropped from $65 million to $42 million?

They only dropped about two dollars following the lockout, from an average of $57.06 to $54.81. By comparison, the average ticket price this season is $60.25, up from $55.93 in 2007-08. Again, increases in ticket prices are expected, especially as the team sits atop the Eastern Conference, but can’t they just tell us the real reason why prices are going up?

Ultimately, Hughes comes to the same conclusion many would get from reading between the lines: the Flyers simply want to make more money and they have every right to attempt to do that. Now it just comes down to whether or not their fans will accept the price changes with their wallets.

  1. joepags - Mar 29, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    no biggie, i have been a season tix holder for the flyers for 10 years….. the increase really isnt that big of a deal.

  2. disp350 - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Tell you what. I’ll forward my invoice to you and you can pay the 20% increase that came with my tickets cause there in center ice. Not a big deal? Can I get some of the money on your tree? For those of us that are not a corporation, a $2000 increase in my invoice, plus anoither raise in parking to $18.00 is finally enough for me to consider bagging it. And these tickets are original, date all the way back to the first season.

  3. jb14jag - Mar 29, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    @disp350

    You’re complaint is understandable but you need to think of it from a different perspective. You’re a fan of a premier team in the NHL, a team coming off a Stanley Cup appearance and a likely (and hopefully) long playoff run. This is a team that virtually always has a spot in the playoffs and is competive. You’re playing for and are a fan of the Meredes-Benz or BMW version of an NHL team. If you like the game and are just a fan of hockey but don’t want to spend that kind of money then you should jump on the Coyotes or Blue Jackets bandwagon. It sounds crazy but I’m sure a major point of you cheering for the Flyers is that they are the local team but the other part and probably just as important part is that they are always competive. That comes from them being able to play the premier players the contracts they demand. In order to do that they need to have the money to pay them. I’m sure you’re seeing the pattern here, or at least I hope you are.

    The other view is that they are giving you the option to change your seats to those which are not as expensive. If you still want to go to games then move to another row or section. That’s on you and you shouldn’t be complaining that you can no longer be a fan. I’m sure there’s another seat in that building that will be the same price as your current ticket. It doesn’t make you less of a fan or anything. And as for those being originals, that’s great, but since the move from the Spectrum to the Center there are no “original” seats. You’ve been in the same seats since ’96. So give it a rest and pony up to stay where you’re at, find seats that meet you financial means, or watch the games from home because I’m sure there are plenty of other people who will pay the price the Flyers have ever right to charge for those tickets.

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