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Ticket prices and lack of affordability


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#1 CHodgson9

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:21 PM

So a common theme I've noticed, not just here on CDC forums, but on various Canadian hockey boards is how the average-Joe fan can't afford to attend NHL games, because the owners are greedy and only care about money. This bothers me for a number of reasons so I thought I would extrapolate these thoughts to some rational conclusions and use rhetoric to drive home my point.

At the end of the day, when the Canucks, Leafs, or Habs set ticket rates at admittedly high prices, there is still a very high demand for those tickets, and people who can afford to attend games. The Season Ticket wait list in these places are in the years to acquire, and single game tickets still sell out in a matter of minutes. Pricing should be based on willingness to pay, because that creates the most value for the economy. If ticket prices are low enough, you see a lot of scalpers who profit off the disparity in prices (especially in the playoffs), who understand that the arbitrage opportunity is one to be capitalized upon. I'll agree to the fans who want to attend 1-5 games a year at a reasonable rate, they wouldn't likely sell these tickets because they wish to take in the experience, but what if someone offered you $1000 of profit to take their family to the game instead of yours? Your cost per ticket may be $30, and he's offering you $280/ticket x 4. If you're so hard up for cash, would you not consider taking rent-money in lieu of attending a game?

For the Canucks players specifically, a lot of this money goes towards making Vancouver an attractive destination for players to come, and has allowed us to invest in team chefs, nutritionists, sleep doctors, world class travel facilities, etc. that all don't count against the cap. Apart from spending to the cap, players also stay in 5-star accommodations on the road, and are entitled to the best amenities money can buy, to assure their comfort needs are met. As a business traveler myself who flies over 100,000 miles a year (and I am air canada super elite status), I fully understand the need for comfortable travel, especially when I change time zones and have same day meetings abroad. These types of benefits allow you to focus on your core competence (which for me is my business, and for hockey players is being healthy and playing hockey).

If you were a businessperson and had a very desirable product, is it your responsibility to provide that product at a price which everyone can afford? Should apple sell their iPads for $50 so everyone can have one, even if they incur losses on each sale? What if there is only a demand for your product during some times, and at other times you have to survive the losses. In the dark era of Mark Messier canuck hockey, the demand was low and fans weren't witnessing hockey in a sellout environment. Save for Bure and a few exceptions, the on-ice product was heinous, and understandably people didn't enjoy cheering on the losers. The Canadian dollar was roughly $1.60 against the USD, and "regular fans" could afford to see games. Now that we're in one of the most rabid hockey environments globally, we have one of the best on-ice products league wide, and we are perennial cup contenders - fans are coming out of the woodwork demanding lower ticket prices. If they had held on to season tickets during the dark era, they'd have certainly reaped the benefits of this increased demand for games they didn't wish to attend. My 300 level tickets 2 years ago were $40/ticket - which I think is perfectly reasonable (I'm a half season-ticket holder).

if you're a hockey fan, and want to watch NHL games on the cheap, move to Nashville, Tampa, Columbus, Phoenix, or Miami, and you can get family packs for $100 which include hot dogs and a soda in many of these markets.

If you're a hockey fan here, and want to take your whole family out for a game - The Giants are a great WHL team, and the AHL's Heat make for affordable professional hockey.

If money is a problem preventing you from enjoying luxury goods (like Canuck's tickets), do something about your situation. Plan accordingly and save for 1-2 games a year and treat it like a vacation. Instead of complaining about a particular situation, try and do something to change it in your favor. We all make choices on a daily basis, to smoke, to drink, to eat in restaurants, to buy video games, to get a TV, or whatever the case may be. By financially planning and living within your means, it is not unreasonable to expect to enjoy 1-2 games a year. All I am trying to say, is that people should take a more proactive approach to their lives rather than do nothing about their present situations and expect life to just get better. Sow the seeds, put in the legwork, and see where life takes you.
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#2 The Bookie

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:20 AM

If you were a businessperson and had a very desirable product, is it your responsibility to provide that product at a price which everyone can afford?



I wouldn't call it a responsibility, but it would be nice!

I think the reason you hear this so often is that a good chunk of the dedicated fans do come from this low-income, blue-collar, whatever you want to call it, background. You said it yourself, it's only once the team starts to win/contend consistently that the hordes of fans come out of the woodwork, games sellout, and ticket prices rise.

I kind of feel like, despite the organization's mantra of charity, charity, charity! average fans are left by the wayside. Photo ops with disabled children are preferable to your average joe with ripped jeans and a poorly maintained beard. I'd like to see some kind of scholarship ticket program.

Let's say, at the beginning of every season, I can submit my story through the team's website - proof of my low-income, a short essay on the challenges I face in everyday life, and back-up my support for hockey and the Canucks. If I'm approved, I'm entered in a lottery to receive tickets for 1 - 5 games. For me personally, I wouldn't care which games, against which teams, provided I can sit somewhere in the lower level for under 50$ a game. It's not about the overall atmosphere of attending a game; I'd rather watch at home than sit in the nosebleeds, because I care more about closely observing the action on ice, behind the play, on the bench. For me, attending a game is about seeing all the little things I miss watching at home.

Anyways - hey! see what I did there? I tried to effect change rather than complaining.

#3 Tortorella's Rant

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:30 AM

A larger arena should be built next time. The Bell Center holds almost 22,000 people. 3 1/2 thousand more than Rogers. Obviously Canuck games will sell out so that is an extra 143000 people over 41 games attending. Prices will still be ridiculous for seats in the nosebleeds but at least more people will have the chance to attend.

The ticket prices are disgustingly high. Duh. Of course I never have to pay for them since my uncle has season tickets. The underground parking @ Rogers was jacked up to $40 I believe. That's absurd. We park outside the building now. Just because he can afford it doesn't mean he's going to pay it. People can and will pay those stupid prices however and there's no reason why Canucks Sports & Entertainment won't continue to keep jacking up the price.
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#4 ajhockey

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:28 AM

A larger arena should be built next time. The Bell Center holds almost 22,000 people. 3 1/2 thousand more than Rogers. Obviously Canuck games will sell out so that is an extra 143000 people over 41 games attending. Prices will still be ridiculous for seats in the nosebleeds but at least more people will have the chance to attend.


This. With such a strong and passionate fan base, Vancouver should have an arena with well over 20,000 capacity.

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#5 Lancaster

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:45 AM

TBH, I only go to Canucks games if I just want my gf to have the "Canadian" experience. I'd much rather watch the game at a bar/restaurant with my buddies, have a pitcher of beer for like 12 bucks and being able to hear the play-by-play, or at home watching it on HD without jerks in front blocking my view, having to wait 20 mins to use the washroom and paying 8 bucks for a beer.

To introduce my international friends to hockey, I just bring them to the Giants game. Usually lots of goals and lots of fights, they become fans immediately. Not the same caliber of hockey, but if 16000 packed into Pacific Coliseum, it would completely change the atmosphere.

#6 Lychees

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:09 AM

The only time I go to Canucks games tbh is when I'm given tickets by my Dad or his co-workers, it's just an absurd price. If Seattle does get a team I can't wait to see their ticket prices, it'll probably be cheaper to drive down and watch a game there then up here.

Also it's just silly cause you go to Tampa Bay & they have deals like buy 8 tickets and get a free TV (no joke, that's how my fam got our TV and all the tickets only cost like $150)

#7 VoiceOfReason_

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:24 AM

One of the reasons the lockout isn't overtly bothering me is that I saved 35,000 dollars on season tickets.

#8 King of the ES

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:33 AM

If you were a businessperson and had a very desirable product, is it your responsibility to provide that product at a price which everyone can afford? Should apple sell their iPads for $50 so everyone can have one, even if they incur losses on each sale? What if there is only a demand for your product during some times, and at other times you have to survive the losses.


Of course it's not your responsibility. Businesses exist to make money - that's the only reason that they exist.

RE: your point on demand, that can absolutely be said about the Vancouver Canucks. They were not that hot a ticket in the mid-to-late 90s, and even worse earlier. Things are different now, but they could well change again, and likely will, at some point.

Personally, I have zero desire to shell out that kind of cash for a regular season game. Living in Detroit between 2010 - early 2012, it was cool to go to Wings games, as you could get very good seats for $30 or so. In Canada, the prices are just crazy, but it's entirely driven by consumer demand.

#9 debluvscanucks

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:07 AM

Very well said, however, long time Vancouverites have seen the demographics change so that a lot of $$ has come into the city. With that, people who attend the games aren't necessarily all the die hard fans supporting the team - many are people who simply see it as a hot ticket item and someplace to go (drink, text, etc.). They don't work any harder than the rest of us - some is simply attributed to good fortune.

Is it unfair? - not really...just how it is and people with money can spend it how they wish. But, to those who have been there for years, showing up when no one cared/knew much about the team, it does hurt that we're being squeezed out. I think that, adding insult to injury, is that other markets almost give their tickets away and have incentives for their fans. Luck of the draw, that's all and people here are glomming on so it means some are being left out. Great for the team - not so much for those of us who can't keep up with the pace. The flipside is that we have all the games on TV, which never used to be the case. So at least we can watch the games and stay on top of things where, in the past, it wasn't the case.

I do what you say and plan for a game or two a year....by the time I'm done, it's $150 for one night out. For me, that's a significant amount and means I have to pinch pennies elsewhere (hello long, unruly hair that needs a cut), but it is a treat for me and not something I'm willing to completely give up. I'll pay the price to see my team...just wish it didn't mean PBJ's for a few days afterward!

As to:

if you're a hockey fan, and want to watch NHL games on the cheap, move to Nashville, Tampa, Columbus, Phoenix, or Miami, and you can get family packs for $100 which include hot dogs and a soda in many of these markets.

If you're a hockey fan here, and want to take your whole family out for a game - The Giants are a great WHL team, and the AHL's Heat make for affordable professional hockey.


It doesn't work that way. The die hard fan (me) can't be pacified with an alternative...the Canucks are my team and one of the reasons I don't move away from the place I've always called home....they help to anchor me here (along with the Lions). Sounds extreme - it is. I've had little in my life in the way of "extras" (vacations, etc.) so have made my teams the focal point for fun and entertainment. There's no switching off with something else to fill that void...sure, I do Giants' games and am fully on board with the Lions, but the Canucks are "it".

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#10 CanucksFanMike

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:35 AM

That is what happens when the Canucks sell out for more than a decade... so long as people are paying the rediculous price to fill the building that is all they care about.
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#11 jatylo

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:17 AM

How much is a average nuck ticket? I know when i went to Ottawa 3 years ago i saw a game against Toronto (huge rivalry game) for $40 but i was at the top of the arena. Hope florida still has a team when i retire, season tickets for $400 tax inc.

#12 AriGold

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:45 AM

I actually read your whole topic which is rare for me. Well written and it kept me invloved, that being said I go to 5-10 games a season and dont find it all that expensive. You can get upper bowl tickets for $60-$70.

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#13 Hobble

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:56 AM

http://espn.go.com/b...t-ticket-in-nhl

Not sure if these values are correct, as it is ESPN doing a story on the NHL, but the top 6 teams are Canadian (Winnipeg is 2nd highest, likely due to the smaller arena = more demand effect). Ottawa is the only Canadian team below the league average.

Not surprised Canadian teams account for 33% of league revenue, probably more now that Atlanta moved to Winnipeg.

#14 Lui's Knob

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:29 AM

I've never once paid for Canucks tickets in I'd say at least 10-15 years - I can't afford them. I've only gone to games where I was given the tickets from a season ticket holder, won them in contests or work paid tickets. I assume with raising prices in cost, I'll never buy tickets again and prefer to watch them in the comfort of home on HD.

#15 gradin123

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:25 PM

So a common theme I've noticed, not just here on CDC forums, but on various Canadian hockey boards is how the average-Joe fan can't afford to attend NHL games, because the owners are greedy and only care about money. This bothers me for a number of reasons so I thought I would extrapolate these thoughts to some rational conclusions and use rhetoric to drive home my point.

At the end of the day, when the Canucks, Leafs, or Habs set ticket rates at admittedly high prices, there is still a very high demand for those tickets, and people who can afford to attend games. The Season Ticket wait list in these places are in the years to acquire, and single game tickets still sell out in a matter of minutes. Pricing should be based on willingness to pay, because that creates the most value for the economy. If ticket prices are low enough, you see a lot of scalpers who profit off the disparity in prices (especially in the playoffs), who understand that the arbitrage opportunity is one to be capitalized upon. I'll agree to the fans who want to attend 1-5 games a year at a reasonable rate, they wouldn't likely sell these tickets because they wish to take in the experience, but what if someone offered you $1000 of profit to take their family to the game instead of yours? Your cost per ticket may be $30, and he's offering you $280/ticket x 4. If you're so hard up for cash, would you not consider taking rent-money in lieu of attending a game?

For the Canucks players specifically, a lot of this money goes towards making Vancouver an attractive destination for players to come, and has allowed us to invest in team chefs, nutritionists, sleep doctors, world class travel facilities, etc. that all don't count against the cap. Apart from spending to the cap, players also stay in 5-star accommodations on the road, and are entitled to the best amenities money can buy, to assure their comfort needs are met. As a business traveler myself who flies over 100,000 miles a year (and I am air canada super elite status), I fully understand the need for comfortable travel, especially when I change time zones and have same day meetings abroad. These types of benefits allow you to focus on your core competence (which for me is my business, and for hockey players is being healthy and playing hockey).

If you were a businessperson and had a very desirable product, is it your responsibility to provide that product at a price which everyone can afford? Should apple sell their iPads for $50 so everyone can have one, even if they incur losses on each sale? What if there is only a demand for your product during some times, and at other times you have to survive the losses. In the dark era of Mark Messier canuck hockey, the demand was low and fans weren't witnessing hockey in a sellout environment. Save for Bure and a few exceptions, the on-ice product was heinous, and understandably people didn't enjoy cheering on the losers. The Canadian dollar was roughly $1.60 against the USD, and "regular fans" could afford to see games. Now that we're in one of the most rabid hockey environments globally, we have one of the best on-ice products league wide, and we are perennial cup contenders - fans are coming out of the woodwork demanding lower ticket prices. If they had held on to season tickets during the dark era, they'd have certainly reaped the benefits of this increased demand for games they didn't wish to attend. My 300 level tickets 2 years ago were $40/ticket - which I think is perfectly reasonable (I'm a half season-ticket holder).

if you're a hockey fan, and want to watch NHL games on the cheap, move to Nashville, Tampa, Columbus, Phoenix, or Miami, and you can get family packs for $100 which include hot dogs and a soda in many of these markets.

If you're a hockey fan here, and want to take your whole family out for a game - The Giants are a great WHL team, and the AHL's Heat make for affordable professional hockey.

If money is a problem preventing you from enjoying luxury goods (like Canuck's tickets), do something about your situation. Plan accordingly and save for 1-2 games a year and treat it like a vacation. Instead of complaining about a particular situation, try and do something to change it in your favor. We all make choices on a daily basis, to smoke, to drink, to eat in restaurants, to buy video games, to get a TV, or whatever the case may be. By financially planning and living within your means, it is not unreasonable to expect to enjoy 1-2 games a year. All I am trying to say, is that people should take a more proactive approach to their lives rather than do nothing about their present situations and expect life to just get better. Sow the seeds, put in the legwork, and see where life takes you.


I see your point but I also think the Canucks are taking the whole maximizing the profits things to an extreme. The Montreal Canadiens do it right imo. They sell out every game too but that doesn't stop them from creating a family zone. In their Family zone adult tickets are $43 and children tickets are $21. The children tickets must be used by someone under 16. Therefore a family of 4 can go to a regular season game in Montreal for a total of $128 plus tax and service charges. I believe the cheapest tickets last year for the Canucks was $63.75. Therefore in Vancouver to bring a gfamily of 4 would cost $239 plus tax and service charges. Basically double what it would cost Montreal.

The Aqulini's will never ever disclose how much money they are making but I truly believe the Canucks made close to $60 million last year after all was said and done and that is despite the fact they lost in the first round. They are a money making machine right now with all their local TV contracts. They could easily afford to give Families a break on ticket prices but they don't because they simply don't care.

#16 CHodgson9

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:48 PM

I do what you say and plan for a game or two a year....by the time I'm done, it's $150 for one night out. For me, that's a significant amount and means I have to pinch pennies elsewhere (hello long, unruly hair that needs a cut), but it is a treat for me and not something I'm willing to completely give up. I'll pay the price to see my team...just wish it didn't mean PBJ's for a few days afterward!


You take the proactive approach, and by planning (despite admittedly not being affluent) you are as a die-hard fan able to enjoy the experience 1-2 times a year.

I remember when all the games weren't televised on TV, much less in the pre-HD era. Now, because I travel about 6 months a year, I love being able to stream everything to my laptop, watch highlights on CDC/TSN, browse forums, and feel like even though I'm away for work, I can remain engaged with my team. I actually enjoy watching games with friends at home, with great beer, food, and card games in between periods - I actually find this to be more enjoyable than being at the games.

At any rate, my rant was meant to inspire rather than criticize, and your actions seem to reflect exactly what I was trying to impart. Good on you deb!

Edited by CHodgson9, 05 October 2012 - 10:49 PM.

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