BY SPNW Staff 04:01PM 02/14/2013

Average NHL ticket $61.01; NBA ticket $50.99

It’s been awhile since Seattle fans paid to attend an NBA game, and have never had the pleasure of paying forĀ  a modern NHL game. Since the possibility of such has grown lately, the release Wednesday of the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index may prove useful.

After a four-month lockout, the NHL’s average ticket price went up 7.5 percent to $61.01. The average NBA ticket rose 3.5 percent to $50.99. Those numbers do not include premium seating or suites.

The NHL has always had a higher ticket price because of the absence of a large American TV contract to help subsidize operations. The Chicago sports marketing research firm said the average NFL price rose to $78.38, up 2.5 percent. The 2013 MLB ticket average will be released at the start of the season. Last year it was $26.98.

In the previous year, the NHL raised prices by 4.8 percent, while the NBA (1.7 percent), NFL (1.2 percent) and MLB (1.2 percent for 2011 season) had smaller increases.

Increased ticket prices, prior knowledge of a looming lockout and theoretical bad feelings of fans haven’t hurt NHL ticket sales this season. Through games of Feb. 12, the NHL had an average attendance of 17,652, a 1.1 percent increase from last season’s average of 17,455.

The Fan Cost Index is the price to take a family of four to a game, including tickets, drinks, hot dogs, and parking. The NHL average this season is $354.82, a 7.9 percent increase.

As usual, Canadian teams topped the list. The Toronto Maple Leafs have the most expensive average ticket at $124.69 (converted to U.S. dollars), followed by the Winnipeg Jets at $97.84, Vancouver Canucks at $87.38, Edmonton Oilers at $79.27 and Montreal Canadiens at $78.56. according to TMR research.

The Washington Capitals ($79.25), New York Rangers ($72.04) and Philadelphia Flyers ($71.59) are the top American terms in terms of average ticket price. Nineteen teams raised prices by more than one percent, while only three reported decreases.

The Buffalo Sabres reported the largest percentage increase at 26.7 percent, which brings their average ticket to $46.15, the seventh-cheapest ticket.



  • Michael Kaiser

    You should do a story on what I will call the “class quotient.’ In other words, based upon historical behavior on the parts of players and others associated with both leagues, which league should a city really want in its backyard?

    • art thiel

      Class behavior compared to what? Mastro? Killinger? Let me know when you’ve figured out if behavior in Medina or Mercer Island is more to your liking that what you find in sports locker rooms.

      • Michael Kaiser

        Can not grasp your tangential comparison. And I was clear what the comparison should be–NBA vs. NHL.

    • Effzee

      Racist much?

      • Michael Kaiser

        Excuse me? Amazing response. Apparently you associate with race the things I was inferring such as the number of times NBA players end up on the police blotter as opposed to NHL players. Sounds like you have some serious, INHERENT, racist-type outlooks. But you call others racist?!? Get some help.

        • Effzee

          “things I was inferring such as the number of times NBA players end up on the police blotter as opposed to NHL players.” Ri-iight. Your inference clearly has nothing to do with skin color. *ahem*

          • Michael Kaiser

            Well, you win. If the shoe fits, I guess it must be worn. You are right, even though my initial comment was much broader than some plebian race analysis, I guess there are more people of color associated with the NBA. And?

      • Michael Kaiser

        Another thing: My mouth almost dropped when I read Art’s response tarring people on Mercer Island and Medina. And you want to say that I somehow stigmatize? Art’s response told me more about what he really is at his core than anything he ever has written before. Furthermore, it is kind of sad. It typically is something you might hear come out of the mouth of a college-age person–or anyone from Seattle– surveying the world around them and combining latent prejudices with a sense of righteousness.

  • Roslydawg

    So I should go to a game and pay $50 or more, plus pay for parking and maybe a snack?
    Think I’ll stick with a free bike ride, hike, walk around Green Lake, etc. And get some life sustaining exercise, too! Or if I really want to watch other people get exercise, I can go to a
    college game for a fraction of the price. In fact, I’ve found it to be a fun outing to ride a bike to the Husky baseball games. That way, you can see high quality ball games and get a little exercise. I guess I’m just not into the hero worship thing of so called “famous” athletes.

    • art thiel

      You go, Ros. To each his own. Something tells me it possible to do both, should you choose.

      • Michael Kaiser

        Roslyn, you sound like someone I know from Tif Tal.

        • art thiel

          Michael, what did you mean by class quotient?

        • Roslyndawg

          Tif Tal? Sorry, I’m ignorant of the reference here.

    • Any live performance is pricey. Nosebleeds for “The Book of Mormon” were near $200, and I saw a GroupOn-like deal for the Seattle Opera at “just” $150. The only dirt-cheap option for pro sports is $8 bleacher seats at various MLB stadiums.

  • jafabian

    Is the NHL hurting so much that they raise ticket prices despite the obvious signs that it’s the wrong thing to do? Or is the league that out of touch with its fanbase? They should at the very least hold steady on prices and then quietly raise them in the offseason if they’re hurting so much financially. This decision is beyond reason to me.

    • RadioGuy

      The NHL doesn’t bring in the TV or sponsorship money the NBA does, so they jack up ticket prices to help cover expenses. Sad fact of life, but hockey is not as TV-friendly as basketball because it’s a faster game and the puck is harder to follow on the screen than a basketball. Plus Bettman isn’t nearly as savvy as Stern at selling his league to advertisers. Even so, NHL attendance is on par with the NBA.

    • The NHL

      • Try this again. NHL tickets have always been pricey as hockey is expensive to maintain (ice plant, Zamboni, lots of player equipment). And that was when players only made $125K and games were on USA.

        • art thiel

          Kirkland knows his hockey biz. Again, the largest economic hindrance is the absence of a big U.S. TV contraxt. NBCSports, now 100 percent owned by Comcast, someday might change that.

  • Matt

    Am curious as to the average NHL prices in the Twin Cities and Denver. Those are roughly comparable markets to Seattle, from population and income, to number of major league franchises, to nearby D1 athletic programs. And they’re outdoorsy folks as well. Granted, any Seattle team in any league has to compete with everyone in said league, but I find the local comps interesting too, as far as what teams are doing to compete in their own markets.

    The Minnesota/Seattle comparison extends to even a long supported and cherished arena team (North Stars) being transplanted, beyond all logic, to the Great Southern Plains before eventually getting a new franchise in a new building. The Twin Cities, however, crushes the Puget Sound region when it comes to Fortune 500 headquarters.

    • The North Stars had two major problems. One was a devious new much owner much like Clay Bennett and an arena issue. The other was a very discriminating market. With Minnesota high school and college hockey so deep and ardently supported, the Stars had to win to get fans. During their time in Minny, they were erratic at best, and that led to more than a few underwhelming gates. The shock loss of the North Stars, two years after a Stanley Cup appearance, changed that attitude, resulting in consistent sellouts for a very average Wild team.

      That said, the Dallas Stars have been good for hockey. They have a loyal following, and since the move about 30-40 local high schools have added hockey as a varsity sport. One former Seattle Thunderbird, Colin Jacobs, even came from Coppell.