Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Capitals Ticket Increase

Since I moved to the Washington DC area several years ago, I have attended the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins games whenever possible. There are thousands of other Pittsburgh transplants living in the area, so I have even arranged to buy group tickets through the Capitals for these games. For Capitals fans out there who aren’t happy about this arrangement of having Penguins fans buy tickets (that of course help pay the salaries of Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin and Cristobel Huet, I mean, Jose Theodore), you’ll be glad to know that there are generally a couple of token Caps fans as part of our group.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I contacted my Caps’ ticket representative about purchasing tickets for the Penguins-Capitals games for the 2008-2009 season. Unlike the past few years, where we would receive discounted tickets for purchasing in bulk, this is not the case anymore. Apparently, the Penguins games as well as several other games during the season (I believe the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers games, but I have not confirmed this) are now considered premium games. Therefore, not only are there no discounts for buying group tickets for the Penguins games, there is an additional cost of $15 per ticket. Furthermore, to purchase group tickets for the Penguins games, you would also have to buy group tickets for another non-premium game. So where last year tickets cost about $20 for a Pens-Caps game, you would now need to spend $65 for two games. While I would still consider paying the $65 for two games since I really enjoy watching Ovechkin play, I doubt that I can find enough people in my group who would be willing to spend this much when they really want to see Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins.

I would say that I’m upset about this ticket increase, but I understand that Ted Leonsis needs to make some money. It’s not just Leonsis as this is part of sports today. I saw the Cincinnati Bengals do this a few years ago when they finally got tired of seeing tens of thousands of Steelers fans in their home stadium. In addition, the Student Rush program for Penguins games in Pittsburgh has been cut back dramatically. Until the end of last season, the only Capitals games I have seen sell out since I moved here are the Penguins games, primarily because of the influx of Pittsburgh fans buying tickets. Now that the Capitals are good for the first time in years, they feel like they can force fans to spend money on games that won’t draw as well (ex. Florida Panthers). They may be right too. Any hockey fan in Washington wants to see the Capitals and Penguins in person, so they will sell out regardless of the price. I guess that I’m just a little disappointed seeing that I have purchased tickets for the Capitals for the past few years, and now that they finally made the playoffs, the prices are going up.

Update: Puck Daddy, the best hockey blog out there, has more about the ticket increase.


Anonymous said...

ticket prices are going up across the board for all sporting events, and it's getting to be a bit ridiculous... the nats' new park is definitely on the expensive side... even worse, the pricey seats at the new yankee stadium will evidently run $2500 a pop... yikes!

Anonymous said...

Yeah it's like this ever where but you also have to pay the price to see a good team. The Buffalo Sabres don't have $20 tickets...you be luck if you can get a cheap one for $40

Anonymous said...

Quit yer whinin' ya pansy. Caps tickets are incredibly cheap compared to other hockey teams, and for season ticket holders who are cheering on the Caps all year long for many seasons couldn't care less if you transients from Pittsburg, Philly (yuk) and NYC, etc. have to pay a premium to watch your home team at Verizon. I call that smart thinking on Ted's part.

We thank you for supporting Ovechkin, though.

Ron W said...

Sean, I point out that 34 games are not a premium prices and include games against the Rangers, Flyers, Bruins (who should be a lot better), Canadians, Sabres, Bruins and a bunch of other teams other than the Panthers. I understand your point about hard to find a group that wants to go to one of the Penguin games and not other games, but that group also means less tickets for Cap fans and as the Playoff series against the Flyers demonstrated, we can fill up our house.

Sean said...

Thanks for the comments. Ron W - I agree with you that there really should be more tickets for Caps fans and you are correct that the place was filled during the Flyers playoff series. It's a great atmosphere when the place is filled and everyone is supporting the home team. I just wonder what attendance will be like if the Caps struggle early in the season (as they did last year). Will all of the folks who attended games in April come back in January?

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