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Buying Blackhawks-Caps 2015 Winter Classic tickets via the secondary market

Those looking to buy 2015 Winter Classic tickets through resellers like StubHub or NHL TicketExchange should focus on two things right now if they’re wondering how much they might have to pay for tickets:

  1. Where the game will be held: The venue for this game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the host Washington Capitals has not been determined but, when it comes to ticket prices, a football stadium would be preferable over a baseball stadium. As you’ll see below in data from SeatGeek, this often results in lower secondary market ticket prices since the football stadiums have a larger seating capacity. 

  2. When to buy tickets: Based on previous Winter Classics, the key to buying tickets through the secondary marketing will be to wait. History shows that if you can wait until just under a week before the Winter Classic to buy your tickets, you’ll likely pay less for them.

Here’s some data and insight from Jason Weingold at SeatGeek that dives deeper on this:

  • “The Washington Capitals will be participating in the Winter Classic for the second time, and will be hosting the game for the first time. While the location is yet to be announced, prevailing speculation says that the game will take place at Nationals Park over FedEx Field, which does not bode well for fans hoping to score cheap tickets. Nationals Park can hold 41,418 fans — less than half of FedEx Field’s capacity of 85,000 – which means there would be less supply and higher prices on the resale market. For the last Winter Classic held at a baseball stadium (Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia in 2012), the average price paid for a seat on the secondary market was $471, nearly double the combined average ticket price of the 2011 and 2014 games held at football stadiums ($245). [Author’s note: See the next bullet point from SeatGeek for how last year’s game in Michigan had a big effect on this].”
  • “An average ticket for the 2011 Winter Classic featuring the Penguins and Capitals at Heinz Field (capacity of 68,111) cost fans an average of $409 on the secondary market, and there were a total of about 11,000 tickets resold. The 2012 game pit the Rangers against the Flyers at Citizens Bank Park (seats 46,967) in Philadelphia, and the average price of a ticket rose 15% to $471; there were also more tickets resold — an estimated total of 13,000. The next Winter Classic in 2014 featured a long-anticipated matchup between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at the Big House, Michigan Stadium, which welcomed a record 105,491 fans, and that increased supply of tickets (an estimated 24,000 were resold on secondary markets) brought the average resale price down to $172 per seat.”
  • “The NHL has also experimented with other outdoor games in the past. The 2013-2014 season featured five other outdoor games: the Heritage Classic in Canada and four games in the United States collectively called the “Stadium Series.” The first Stadium Series game took place at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, where the average ticket cost $190. The Rangers then played twice at Yankee Stadium — first against the Devils (average ticket price of $231) and second against the Islanders ($141). The fourth game was between the Penguins and Blackhawks at Soldier Field in Chicago (average ticket price of $248). The 2011 Heritage Classic featured the Flames and Canadiens at McMahon Stadium in Calgary (average ticket price of $253), and the 2014 game set the Canucks against the Senators at BC Place in Vancouver (average ticket price of $153).”
  • “The 2015 Winter Classic should end up being a record-breaking home game for the Capitals in terms of demand. Since 2010, the most in-demand regular season home game for the Caps was on Feb. 6, 2011 against Pittsburgh, when fans spent an average of $166 per ticket on the secondary market. Even in the playoffs, the highest average ticket price we’ve recorded for a Caps game at the Verizon Center is $221 for Game 4 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Rangers.”
  • “The Capitals have only hosted the Blackhawks once since we began collecting pricing data, and that came on April 11 earlier this year. The average ticket to that game at the Verizon Center cost $122 on the resale market.”
  • “By taking a look at pricing trends for the past three Winter Classic games, we’ve found that the best time to buy a ticket has been a little less than a week before the game. In 2011, the average ticket price bottomed out at $343 five days before the game, having fallen 24% in 17 days from a peak of $450. Prices for the 2012 game followed a similar pattern, dipping to a low of $391 six days before the drop of the puck (down 22% from $500 with two weeks to go before the game). Last season, the average price fell continuously throughout December, dropping 57% from $239 with 30 days to go before the game to just $103 per ticket the night before.”

Thanks to Jason and SeatGeek for pulling that all together. They also provided the chart below, which illustrates how waiting until just under a week before the game is often the best approach for finding the lowest secondary ticket market prices for a Winter Classic.

 
Winter Classic resale ticket prices
 

Washington Capitals hockey tickets at lowest average resale prices since 2010

Prices for Washington Capitals tickets on the secondary market, the term used for platforms such as StubHub or Ticket Exchange where individuals can resell seats to sports and other events, have seemed extremely low as the 2013-14 hockey season has gotten underway. It turns out, prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2010.

An analyst with SeatGeek, a ticket search engine that looks at “dozens of the biggest ticket sites and present the results all in one place,” was kind enough to put together some numbers for me on secondary market prices for Caps tickets. They have data going back to the start of the 2010-11 season and it shows just how low prices currently are.

From SeatGeek:

  • Two of the Capitals’ next three home games — Thursday against Carolina ($37 average resale price) and next Monday against Edmonton ($38 average resale price) — are the two cheapest Caps regular season home games since the start of the 2010-11 season. In fact, only one other game — an October 13, 2010 matchup against the Islanders ($39 average resale price) — has drawn an average resale price under $40 in that span.

To put that in perspective, for that October 13, 2010 game against the Islanders, which was the last time the average resale price for Caps tickets was this low, Tomas Fleischmann was on the team, DJ King was in the line-up for the first time as a Capital, and Matt Bradley, though scratched due to an injury, was still with Washington.

Another stat from SeatGeek:

  • The average resale price in the 400 level is $40 or less for each of the Caps’ first 11 home games of the season, including last Thursday’s home opener against Calgary. That’s by far the longest such stretch since the start of the 2010-11 season; in that time, we’ve never seen more than three consecutive Caps home games with an average 400-level resale price of $40 or less. For the Carolina and Edmonton games, 400-level seats are reselling at an average of just $18 per ticket.

And one final SeatGeek point:

  • The secondary market for Capitals tickets as a whole is down considerably this season. Washington currently ranks 21st out of 30 teams in overall average resale price at $73 per ticket, falling from 14th at $90 per ticket last season; that’s a 19 percent dip in average resale price. In the 2011-12 campaign, the Caps ranked 15th at $101 per ticket, and in 2010-11 they were 12th at $90 per ticket.

It’s a great time to be a buyer, Caps fans.

Sorry Caps, but this is bad marketing

Caps fan packs

On Friday I got the above email from the Caps, offering two 400 Level tickets for $69 to either the October 10 game against the Hurricanes or October 14 versus the Oilers. That’s $34.50 per ticket for seats that cost $51 at full price, which might seem like a pretty good deal at first glance.

But if you visit the TicketMaster website to buy those Fan Packs from the Caps and then click on the “Resale” tab instead, you’ll find that upper level seats to those games can currently be purchased for as low as $11 through the NHL Ticket Exchange, which the Caps have promoted by email, as recently as a week ago, as a place to “buy or sell worry-free.” Seats for October 10 and October 14 are plentiful there, with over 2,000 available to each game.

Hurricanes Ticket ExchangeOilers Ticket Exchange

When I can buy tickets in the same sections of the arena for close to 70% less through the “Verified by TicketMaster” NHL Ticket Exchange, a platform that is accessible from the Caps’ website, why would I take advantage of a $34.50 sales offer from the team? The Caps are promoting a Fan Pack that is nothing more than two seats together at a discounted price that can be had for far less money just a couple of NHL-approved clicks away.

If the Caps want people to buy their remaining 400 Level inventory for these two games, they’re going to need to do better than this. Dropping their prices down to the levels of the resale market wouldn’t make much sense, but they could add more value to the Fan Packs. For example, they could throw in food and drink vouchers or add something unique to this promotion that a fan can’t get anywhere else, giving people a reason to want the team’s offer more than the far cheaper options available through resellers.

Otherwise, the Caps will have to count on some fans buying these Fan Packs because they’re unaware of options like the NHL Ticket Exchange. And depending on your customers being uninformed doesn’t strike me as a great marketing practice.

Caps email: “Limited Tickets Available for Caps Home Opener” — Secondary market has far better options though

The Caps sent out an email this morning titled “Limited Tickets Available for Caps Home Opener.” That’s true, there are still some tickets available via TicketMaster for the team’s Thursday, October 3 match-up against the Calgary Flames. And those aren’t just scattered singles. You can buy multiple seats together in various locations, mostly in the 400 Level of Verizon Center.

Caps opening night 2013-14 tickets

But in reality, there are plenty of tickets available for the Caps home opener and other games through the secondary market and, in many cases, they’re far cheaper than if you buy them from the team. As of this posting, you can spend $57.90 via TicketMaster for a full price ticket to the home opener in Section 426 or you can get a seat in that same section for $30 through StubHub and for $25 via Ticket Exchange, “the official resale partner of the NHL,” which the Caps link to from their own website.

There’s nothing wrong with the Caps pushing their remaining tickets for the home opener; they’re a business and have inventory to sell. But a well-informed consumer could get in the door for about half that price if they take advantage of the deals available through resellers, where availability is far from limited. As of this posting, there are 1,518 seats listed on Ticket Exchange for that first home game and 2,409 on StubHub.

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With hockey season one week away, plenty of cheap Caps tickets are available through the resale market

Caps tickets on StubHub

There are many opportunities to see a Caps game for less than face value in October.

The Washington Capitals took a break from raising ticket prices this season after being pretty aggressive with some of their increases for several years in a row. I’ve spoken with more than one person who feels it’s become a bit expensive to go to a Caps game during the Rock the Red era and that’s certainly something I can relate to as a father of three.

Demand rose as the team got hot and the days of $10 top row Eagle’s Nest seats at Verizon Center are gone by miles. It would cost about $250 for my family to attend a Caps game this season in the 400 Level seats furthest from the ice (which I don’t mind sitting in at all), if I purchased them through the team. And that’s just for the tickets.

Park the car or pay for Metro, buy a snack and we’d be at over $300 for one family night out at a regular season game in the cheapest face value seats available. People are right to say a trip to Verizon Center has become a pricey experience over the past five-plus seasons or so.

But here’s some good news if you enjoy going to Caps games, yet don’t have a budget that allows you to spend the equivalent of a car payment for your family to attend a sporting event. Washington opens the 2013-14 NHL season next week and tickets to most of the team’s home games are available at big discounts on the resale market, including several in October.

First, the most expensive of the upcoming games: For the Caps home opener against the Calgary Flames on Thursday, October 3, tickets currently start at $32.20 on StubHub and at $27 on the Capitals Ticket Exchange, prices that are well below face value. There are 2,594 available for that game on StubHub and 1,818 on Ticket Exchange. Those $32.30 seats available through StubHub, which includes all fees in that price, are in a section of the 400 level at Verizon Center that would cost $57.90 total with fees through TicketMaster. That’s close to half-price for the first home game of the season, which I’ve always found to be a fun event.

From there, most of the October tickets get even cheaper. When the Carolina Hurricanes visit a week later on October 10, tickets are currently priced at $16.80 on StubHub with 2,870 available and at $14 on Ticket Exchange with 2,132 seats listed. The New York Rangers, often a fairly hot ticket in DC, visit Washington on Wednesday, October 16 and prices for that remain relatively low as well. 2,729 tickets are currently posted on StubHub, with the lowest priced at $31.10. On Ticket Exchange, 1,889 are available and they start at $26.

You can also see Edmonton when they visit on Monday, October 14 for as little as $13 (StubHub), Colorado on Saturday, October 12 starting at $24 (Ticket Exchange), and Columbus for $27 (Ticket Exchange) when they visit on Saturday the 19th.

October isn’t the only time when 2013-14 Caps tickets are available at discounted prices. As of this posting, there are plenty more tickets for sale at below face value over the course of the season if you scroll through the listings for the Caps on StubHub or Ticket Exchange.

If you really want to see a game for dirt cheap, check out the resale prices for the Caps two preseason games at Verizon Center this week against Nashville and Philadelphia. You may not see all the stars in those lineups and the games don’t count in the standings, but seats can be had for $4.49 (StubHub) versus the Predators or for $5 (Ticket Exchange) when the Caps face the Flyers.

Another approach is to wait until the day of a game to see if prices drop further on the resale markets as the start time approaches and ticket holders look to just get whatever they can, rather than nothing at all (be sure to confirm what time the resale sites cut off sales). This can work against you if inventory gets low and prices start moving up instead of down. But sometimes you can get some bargains – I got five seats for a grand total of $54.90 using this approach the season before last: “How to see a Washington Capitals game without spending a ton.”

Resale Report: Why even buy from a scalper outside a venue in the StubHub era?

Resale Report, a column focused on the secondary ticket market, runs every Wednesday here on BrooksLaichyear.com. Check out the first Resale Report from last week if you missed it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2012 Resale Report

Leonsis on ticket scalping at Verizon Center – “Selling tickets and sadly, buying tickets outside of Verizon Center is illegal. Scalping has become a major concern for many of our fans and they communicate these issues to us directly,” wrote Ted Leonsis, owner of the venue and three DC sports teams that play there.

In the age of online resellers such as StubHub and Ticket Exchange, it’s hard to believe that any buyers would make scalpers near a venue their source for tickets. Fraud protection and, in most cases, better prices are available through online outlets, which also don’t come with the risk of being stopped by the police or having to haggle with a scalper.

The chances of getting five people into Verizon Center for the price of one face-value ticket is a transaction that would be highly unlikely to ever occur outside the arena. But there are bargains to be had like that to games around the country on a regular basis when you use the more high-tech and legal ticket solutions. Unless you’ve waited until less than two hours before game time to purchase a ticket, when resellers have cut off resales, there’s hardly ever a reason to take your business to a scalper outside the venue. Even a tweet or a Facebook post in those last two hours before an event starts might yield tickets at a better price than purchasing them on the street.

So much for a victory tour? – The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings visited Detroit on Sunday afternoon for a nationally televised NHL on NBC game. On Friday, tickets for that Kings visit to the Wings were available starting at $15 on StubHub. On Monday, when L.A. played at St. Louis, tickets for that Blues home game were available for $7.95 on StubHub late that afternoon. The Kings at least appear to be a hot ticket back home in L.A. On Friday, they play the first of three home games in four days, as they face the Bluejackets, Avs and Ducks. Nothing is currently available on StubHub under $30 for any of those three games.

Yankees add new ticket resale option – The New York Yankees this week announced an agreement with Ticketmaster to create Yankees Ticket Exchange, providing fans with another option for buying and selling their game tickets. As reported by the New York Times Ken Belson, the team will provide fans with an incentive to use the new service over the popular StubHub: “Ticket holders will be charged only a 5 percent fee to sell their tickets, compared with 15 percent on StubHub. Buyers will be charged 10 percent of the resale value, the same as on StubHub.” Consumers (and brokers) can still unload or acquire Yankees tickets through StubHub and, with buyers being charged the same percentage on either service, it’s likely they’ll buy from the one that offers them the best ticket options or prices.

Cheap Valentine’s Day option in South Florida – The Florida Panthers have some of the lowest StubHub prices in hockey, with very few games starting at over $10. Valentine’s Day is no exception, as the Montreal Canadiens visit Sunrise. The lowest price ticket on StubHub for that game is currently listed for $8.00 and there are over 1,000 available. $35 will get you into the lower bowl presently. If last night’s sparse crowd in South Florida, when the Panthers hosted the Washington Capitals, is any indication, you and your date will have a pretty good chance at getting on the big screen. Own the Kiss Cam…or an entire section. On Saturday, it will be a much different resale story on Montreal, when the Canadiens return home to face Philadelphia. Seats on StubHub for the Flyers visit to Bell Centre currently start at $101 on StubHub.

Bargain alert for Caps fans – On Tuesday, February 26, the Carolina Hurricanes visit Verizon Center to face the Caps. As of this posting, there are 2,259 tickets available on StubHub, with the cheapest going for $24.99. On Ticket Exchange there are another 1,788 available and those currently start at $21. There are already below-face-value options available, but those prices could drop even further as the game date gets closer, especially if the inventory remains plentiful. The key to getting a great deal for a game like this is often to wait. The buyer risks the chance that prices could go up or never drop any further if the tickets start to move. But with patience from enough buyers and the right conditions, there could be some dirt cheap seats for this one come the afternoon of February 26. Here a few suggestions on how to score cheap seats like this via the resale market.

Use the #ResaleReport hashtag – Send me a screen shot of best deals you find on hockey tickets or other events. You can do that on Twitter at @mikeholden or through email at brookslaichyear AT gmail DOT com. You can also tag them on Twitter as #ResaleReport.

Resale Report: A new column on the secondary ticket market

BCWpPhcCcAALDkSThis is the start of a new column, Resale Report, that will be posted every Wednesday, focusing on the secondary ticket market.

First some background on it…

I’m fascinated by the ticket resale market and sites like StubHub and Ticket Exchange. I tweet frequently via my own Twitter account or BrooksLaichyear’s when I see interesting prices on hockey tickets, such as a 99 cent bargain for an NHL game in Ottawa last week.

As I’ve written on my own blog at mikeholden.com in the past, these resale markets are no way to keep your tickets out of the hands of the opposing team’s fans. If you believe in and are looking to protect your team’s home ice advantage or don’t want a bunch of people in the other team’s jerseys cheering or rubbing it in when your team gets scored on in your home rink, sites like StubHub and Ticket Exchange are no way to unload your tickets. However, those sites can be a nice way to score some deals if you’re a buyer.

I’ve blogged here on BrooksLaichyear.com about how you can get some great deals on seats for a game via the resale market, if you’re willing to wait until the day of to purchase them and don’t mind sometimes seeing a potentially less popular opponent or going to a game on a weeknight (some fans will go see any two NHL teams play any night of the week if the tickets are under $10 or $20, for example). But just this past weekend, tickets could be had for less than half of face value to a Penguins-Capitals game in Washington, a match-up that normally comes at a higher cost in the resale market, even when there’s last-minute inventory that people have slashed prices on.

There are times when it make sense to pay face value for a seat or when owning season tickets results in a price break. But there are other times when demand falls and you can do much better on price, if you don’t mind some small sacrifices such as sitting in different seats each game and not knowing if you’re going until just a few days or hours before puck drop. In fact, two and half hours before face-off is when some of the best deals start to fall into place (Note: StubHub cuts off sales two hours before game time).

So, given my own hobby of following the secondary ticket market and knowing others share an interest in it, I’m starting this new column here on BrooksLaichyear.com. Each Wednesday I’ll highlight some of the notable things I’ve come across involving the secondary ticket market. To start, much of what I post will likely be hockey-related but it could grow from there.

Please feel free to pass along tips and other info to me via Twitter at @mikeholden or through email at brookslaichyear AT gmail DOT com. In the meantime, here’s this week’s column:

Resale Report, 1/6/2013

  • $9 to see Sid and Malkin play the Islanders?$34 for an upper level ticket in DC for the Penguins at the Caps this past Sunday via Ticket Exchange seemed like a good deal. Those seats would normally be priced by the Caps at around $80 in the primary market through TicketMaster. But on Tuesday, when Pittsburgh visited the Islanders, the price to see Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin got absurdly low with tickets available through StubHub for $9. Not a bad price for the first place Pens versus a young Islanders team showing a lot of promise
  • Stanley Cup Champs for $6 – If any big hockey fans in Columbus were bummed about the NHL lockout forcing the cancellation of this season’s NHL All-Star Game, which would have taken place in their city, they had the opportunity to catch a pretty good hockey team in their town this week. Tickets to see the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings face the Bluejackets last night could be had for $6 on Stub Hub yesterday afternoon.
  • Winnipeg seems to like the Jets – On Tuesday, the vast difference in demand for hometown NHL hockey in two Canadian cities was on display. Tickets to see the Winnipeg Jets play at home have typically been the most expensive in the hockey resale market recently, with the least expensive options on StubHub often going for $100-$200+. For their Tuesday game against the Panthers, the cheapest StubHub seat that morning was priced at $129. At the same time, in Ottawa, the lowest priced ticket to see the visiting Buffalo Sabres face the Senators was going for $8.
  • Steal of the week – Speaking of Ottawa, the most ridiculous deal in NHL hockey so far this season may have been on January 29, when tickets to see the Washington Capitals face the Senators in Ottawa were available on StubHub for 99 cents the day of the game. #hockeyisback, but the news may not have reached the Canadian capital just yet.
  • Cheap seats in Hockeytown – Tickets to see the Calgary Flames visit the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday were going for $8 on StubHub on game day. Perhaps the opponent wasn’t attractive, as the Flames sit near the bottom of the standings. That may have also been the case back on January 29, when you could see the Wings host the Dallas Stars for $9. Yet a look at the rest of Detroit’s home games on StubHub shows many games already hitting the $20-$30 range with 1,000-2,000 tickets available. Even home games against the Central Division rival Blackhawks and Predators start below $50 on StubHub at the moment.
  • Nothing for under $50 in NYC – As you might expect, there are few bargains to be had for any upcoming New York Rangers games. The cheapest seat to any Rangers home game through StubHub at the time of this posting is $51 and that’s when they’re visited on February 26 by the team with the most expensive StubHub home tickets in hockey, the previously mentioned Winnipeg Jets. There are currently 2,751 tickets on StubHub for that game. If the inventory for that remains large as game day approaches, those prices could fall a bit.
  • Resale market news from Time – In a Time article, one economist says, “arena box offices should consider a buy-back strategy so that they could sell the same ticket not just once, but multiple times.”
  • Send me your best deals – Send me a screen shot of the best deals you find on hockey tickets or other events. You can do that on Twitter at @mikeholden or through email at brookslaichyear AT gmail DOT com.

Bruins-Caps: Which city wants it more? StubHub says D.C. by nearly 2-to-1

I may need to ask Neil Greenberg to run some #fancystats on this because there’s a very good chance it means nothing but, at the very least, it’s interesting and good fuel for some trash talk…

On StubHub, there are almost twice as many tickets available for the first round Caps-Bruins playoff games in Boston as there are for the games in D.C. That’s leaving Game 7 out of the equation, so that just three games in each city can be compared.

As of 9pm last night, with the first game in Boston three days away, there are 2,122 tickets available for it. For Game 2, also in Boston and taking place this Saturday, there are 2,765 available.

By contrast, Game 3 takes place in Washington next Monday night and only has 1,256 seats available. Game 4 is on Thursday of next week in D.C. and has 1,222 tickets posted. Game 5 in Boston has 2,495 tickets and Game 6 back in D.C. has 1,233.

So, for the three games in Boston, there are 7,382 tickets available on StubHub, while only 3,711 are available for the three games in D.C. Which city wants this series more? D.C. by a margin of nearly 2-to-1. That’s it, plain and simple. Mark it down. The numbers don’t lie. D.C. loves its hockey team more than Boston loves theirs. No further research needed.

Weekend recap

English: Alex Ovechkin, 2009

Alex Ovechkin - Image via Wikipedia

In case you missed anything, below are links to all the happenings this weekend at BrooksLaichyear.com:

Looking at the bigger picture and the dollars of the Caps continued season ticket price increases

Caps - Red Wings game at Verizon Center - 10/22/11 - Section 409

Caps-Red Wings at Verizon Center, 10/22/11 - the view from 409

The Caps announced season ticket prices for next season and for many customers this means an increase for the fifth straight year.

Owner Ted Leonsis noted in a message to plan holders: “Most of you will see a change, an average increase of about 8%. Some seat prices have changed more than others, while some have stayed the same and a few seating areas actually have decreased in price. I realize no one wants to pay more, but our season-ticket pricing has been moderate when compared with others around the league.”

An average increase of 8% one year might not sound like a lot. But increases year-over-year work like compound interest and this one combined with those of the past four years has resulted in a dramatic increase in the total cost to plan holders for their Caps tickets. As an example, I was chatting with my father about the price of his 400 level seats over the past five years and here’s the total cost for his two seats by year, which are going up 12.5% for next season:

2008-09  $1713
2009-10  $1882
2010-11  $2478
2011-12  $2903
2012-13  $3266

So, in five years, the cost of his season tickets has almost doubled, increasing by 90.7% in going up $1553, from $1713 in 2008-09 to $3266 for next season. During this span, the Caps have been incredibly exciting to watch the majority of the time and have become the hottest ticket in D.C. But, the team has not advanced past the second round of the playoffs during this time and each of their post-season exits has featured some rather uninspiring play. Not since the 2007-08 playoff loss in seven games to the Flyers has it appeared as if the team left it all out on the ice as they were eliminated. In series losses to Pittsburgh (’08-’09), Montreal (’09-’10) and Tampa Bay (’10-’11), the team looked flat and unable to push over the hump to take their post-season game to the next level.

For team management, the justification for constant price increases is likely more about demand and Caps season ticket holder data than how each season has ended. A waiting list for season tickets, a sell out streak that dates back multiple seasons now and a “slightly better than 98%” renewal rate last season signals the Caps can get away with pushing prices upward every year. Looking at it this way, what the Caps are doing makes sense—they’re striking while they can and taking in dollars that their data is telling them are there to be grabbed.

However, after price increases for so many seasons in a row and large ones the past two years, a current team that would not make the playoffs if the season ended today, and signs that the resale market for Caps tickets might be softening, it would have been a good PR move for the Caps to give their loyal customers a break this year. But the truth is, for any plan holder they lose, the Caps likely have someone waiting to take their place right now.

This aggressive approach the Caps front office is taking with ticket prices appears to be working for them currently, but it has some potential to backfire long term if enough fans are left with a bad taste in their mouth from the constant increases and the team hits a rough patch, missing the playoffs for a year or two, or continuing to disappoint when they make it.

Meanwhile, up the road in Baltimore, the Ravens announced they will not raise ticket prices FOR THE THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR. This is a team that was potentially one dropped pass (or bad call, depending on how you look at it) away from going to the Super Bowl this season. On their decision to leave prices alone again, Ravens President Dick Cass said, “We know that our fans are continuing to be stretched financially to pay for season tickets. While the economy is improving, it’s still not strong.”

Here in D.C., the Caps continue to push it with their price increases, pouncing on the chances before them to drive their revenues upward.  If the team on the ice attacked their opportunities each spring in the same manner, this might be easier to accept.

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