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New Prices for Season Ticket Holders

The Caps are going to announce price adjustments for season ticket holders (STH) later today. A wide range of seats have been affected, with some going up and others going down. I'm still in the process of analyzing the price changes and will update when I've got a better grasp of the situation.

What I've been told is that the team has instituted uniform pricing for each section. In other words, the top two rows in a section will now pay the same amount as those who sit lower in the same section. Other tickets in the corners of the lower bowl, some of which remained steady the past eight years because of an agreement with the previous ownership, have been increased from $45 to $58, or the same price as everyone else in that section.

Also, I've heard from a few STH who received their invoices this weekend and were shocked to learn that the the "Power Pay" installment option had a deadline of Wednesday for the first payment. That deadline has been pushed back to May 10th.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2007; 12:50 PM ET
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My season tickets went up about 60%, from $1,445 for a pair in Section 416 to $2,307. A simple question to Mr. Leonis and Caps management: Why? What's the justification for raising prices this much for some loyal SThers(I've had season tickets for five years now)? Why not institute such a big percentage increase over a couple of seasons?

Posted by: wilbur | April 16, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse


PLEASE send the owner an e-mail an ask the question direct. I (as well as MANY others) would love to know what his response is, and how he spins this one!

Posted by: caphcky | April 16, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's because the product will be 60% better, right?

That means we're in store for a 112 point season, right?

Posted by: Sapper | April 16, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I'm not an expert of how to run a business, but this makes no business sense to me. They're already struggling to lure people into the arena and now they're raising the ticket price!?

Posted by: Mike | April 16, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Mike. As I said about the Orioles a few years ago when they raised prices on a PROMISE of improvement and nothing more, why not wait until the product ACTUALLY improves before raising prices.

Also, I guarantee you one thing -- some of the section prices may be going down, but I bet those were sections that were empty anyway. I'd bet the seats with actual people in them went up. But the Caps will still claim that X-many seats went down and it's not a price increase. I guarantee it.

Posted by: Sapper | April 16, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

well, the team sure does have the right to raise prices. i'm thankful that my tix remain the same. i do think it's bad timing and all, but i'm more shocked at the total cluster f around getting invoices out and confirming due dates. i mean ted is all about communication, isn't he. yet while this snafu is going on, he's blogging about his kids trip to PA.

and sapper, not to bust on you, but do you expect them to raise prices on the empty seats? the market would suggest that those seats are overpriced. i'm not suprised that they upped the 400 level since those seem to be the most popular. however, they are also probably the most price sensitive too. i'm sure they've got some super smart people who have figure this out...yeah...

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | April 16, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

actually, them raising ticket prices makes perfect sense because it is the exact opposite of what they should have done so they are at least consist. i am DONE with season tickets, for what i spend on one game i can go to hershey 4 times and see the same talent leve with the exception of a couple players. when is Ted going to realize that the fans are not going to continually pay for the bad deal he signed with Abe Pollin? Ted signed that deal in the roaring 90's when everyone had disposable income, including himself, and gave all away everything to Abe just to get that team with the "first right of refusal to buy the wizards and arena". well Ted, when that happens you just may have so few season ticket holders left YOU can personally call them to break the news.

Posted by: Angry Lou | April 16, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Their slogan is "Change is Coming"'s a shame that their first "change" is another slap in the face to the loyal season ticket holders who have put up with this awful ownership for the past 4 years. Do they honestly think that by making the playoffs next year they will justify this "rebuilding" process? Hey Ted, why don't you go figure out how many teams didn't make the playoffs 3 seasons in a row and then won the Stanley Cup the next year. You are still a couple of years away from even being "close", that is if you can lure any free agents in to play here. Oh yeah, if the biggest attraction to get a player in here is the new practice facility that is great thinking....I bought my last car because I liked the ash tray.....

Posted by: Unbiased Bill | April 16, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Anyone got recommendations for a backup team to start cheering for? Seems the Caps are going to run themselves out of town.

I can't stay up for west coast games. Hate our (actual) rivals from the Patrick Division. Hate the Leafs. Love the city of Montreal and would live there if not so damn cold. And they love hockey.

Change in coming! To red, white and blue! Yourrrrrr Montreal Canadiens!

Posted by: Shmoo | April 16, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Not that I am starting to root for another team, but if you are looking for an Eastern Conference team to root for, how about the Senators? They are the team I'm pulling for out of the East this playoff-season. I can't wait for game 4 in their series with Pittsburgh (perhaps it's just because I hate the damn Penguins so much). But the Sens sure do seem to be able to play a skilled game or a very physical game. Lots of fun to watch, and you always can hope for a goalie fight. :-)

Posted by: Jeff | April 16, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with Jeff about rooting for the Sens.. Just feels right rooting for Alfredsssson...

As for ticket prices, really is getting ridiculous. And pricing seats closer to the ice the same as those further away is just plain dumb.

Posted by: Dez | April 16, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

My seats are going up almost double because they were reclassed with the rest of the section, but the seats themselves in my row (the last one) are narrower than the rest of the section. Why should we be paying the same for less?

Posted by: kathy | April 16, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the ticket price issue is a little overblown. I didn't know that the seats in the lower bowl have been the same since 1999. Hard to complain about an increase. What hasn't increased in price since 99? You knew it was coming I suppose. And its pretty common for seats in a section to all be priced the same. And in my opinion, some of the ones closer to the glass are worse anyway.

As for Kathy, I'm guessing you could ask them to move you up a row. I though I had the same issue with narrow seats, then I realized it wasn't the seats!!! Hey, I guess I'm happy since my prices didn't go up...

Posted by: Tickets | April 16, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

My seats went from $45 to $58. I'll make a deal with the Caps: I'll pay the extra $$$ now, but if the team doesn't win the SE or make it to the Cup finals, I get the difference back (plus interest)! Show me the wins (and some really good FA signings) and I'll show you the money. Otherwise, I'm going to DirecTV to watch the CAPS in HDTV (Cox doesn't offer CSN HD)

Posted by: JS | April 16, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

More evidence of Mr. Leonsis' true colors. "We promise we'll be better, we know what to do, our team is at the bottom in road wins, we don't win many at home either, we hope to lure some free agents, particularly those who don't re-sign with their teams, we know this year was hard to watch because you kept complaining about it, we gave some great deals at the end of the year with the playoffs out of reach, we're going back to red, white and blue, Zubrus was over rated, see?, by the way, tickets are going up before you see what we accomplish in the off season. You can trust us. Trust us... just trust us..."

Posted by: Kerplunk | April 16, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

You are incorrect about prices staying the same since 1999. They went up in price just about every year, then back down post-lockout like everyone else's. Yes, they were discounted off the regular STH price but they did not stay the same year to year.

Posted by: Jay | April 16, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Unbiased Bill
I really liked that remark about buying the car because you liked the ashtray. THAT WAS HILARIOUS ---------- and right on the money. Hahahaha ------I'm STILL laughing...

Posted by: puckguru | April 17, 2007 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Don't get so hung up on the prices and the locations. I mean I understand why everyone is so hung up. It's money. I'll explain...

I bought full season plans during the Jagr years and sat in 114 and 115. Sections I later found out had these grandfathered seats. I paid "full" full season ticket prices like $55 or $60 bucks. I was able to split a grandfathered plan with someone who got in at the ground and started paying $45. I think in the early years of the MCI/Verizon Center these tickets were even as low as $25 or $30. They have gone up before.

It sounds like the Caps have handled this pretty poorly. A gradual increase with more warning would be easier to swallow. Not surprising, but disappointing since they put so much energy and $$$ into market analysis and marketing to a more targeted audience.

However, money talks and bs walks. I have a coworker who the Caps kept hassling to buy tickets. Finally about 1/3 into the season, they sold him half the remaining games at a lower price than the season ticket price and all of the full season benefits for seats in section 101.

When I had tickets in my name, I never paid on time. I mean even in the days of better attendance, it wasn't likely that someone was going to take my seats. I was able to get in on power pay when I actually committed to the tickets in September. Sure I paid more per month, but still I didn't need to provide all the cash so far upfront.

My point is that much is negotiable in the world of empty arenas. Hold out for lower prices and better benefits. Believe me, those who don't renew will start getting nervous calls as September goes by. You might not get the old price, but you might do better than the new one.

One thing that I'd love the Caps to do that they won't (and I've said this in several of their questionaires) is to allow you to swap tickets of futures games for tickets to other futures games. I loved this feature when I had SF Giants tickets at the 'Stick.

If I know I'm going to miss a game in two weeks, let me mail the tickets in or stop by the box office and exchange them for tickets to another game in the same price level (or let me pay the difference for a more expensive one). Or I don't want to see Florida for the 4th time, let me combine my FL tickets with my Pens tickets and get four together instead of two for the Pens game.

Games I don't exchange in advance would still entitle me to get tickets for the makeup dates.

FWIW, I haven't bought tickets since the lockout. Our triplets were born on the day that should have been game 7 of the Cup finals in 2005. That's been quite a handful. I made one game last season and four this year. My wife got me a holiday four pack for Xmas and I won club level tickets from USAA to the early Sens game. I couldn't attend the last Panthers game since we subsequently made plans to go out of town. Of course I couldn't give them away, since it was a makeup date.

Posted by: Bubba | April 17, 2007 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Unbiased bill... look at the penguins. If the Caps make that kind of a turn around with a good offseason this summer I'd be happy. If its another lottery year, I'd be pissed.

Also, where is the money supposed to come from to sign these free agents people want?

Not saying I agree with the price increase/uniform pricing plan at this moment, but we'll see on July 1st whether or not it will be worth it.

What effect does the new pricing plan have on the ability to get revenue sharing money?

Posted by: Graham | April 17, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

this proves what i've long suspected; ted leonis smokes crack.

Posted by: jamebow | April 17, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Graham, good point about the Pens. Lets just hope our GMGM can fix the problems BOTH on the bench and behind it. If anyone out there thinks Hanlon is going to lead this team to the Stanley Cup finals then I have 2 tickets to Mars for sale.

As far as generating more revenue, the key is to get more people in the seats than less. Raising ticket prices the way they did was absolutely moronic. In Tarik's article the example given was a seat in the LAST ROW of section 415 was $17 and now is the full price of $27 like the rest of the section. Go out and look at the Flyers website, they are one of many teams doing n-tiered pricing for sections. It makes sense. Oh yeah, the Caps are still doing it. The first 2 rows on the glass are more than the rest of the rows in their respective sections, that's different tiers of pricing for different rows. Also, in that example the person who would have spent $17 went over a section and now is only paying $14 so in the end they are loosing money.

What they should have done is kept pricing the same where they had season tickets sold and lower where they are lacking. Would you rather have the seats empty or someone paying as little as $15 for them? I'd take the $15 and count on them buying a coke and/or hat. All of those EMPTY purple seats in the lower bowl are embarassing when trying to drum up advertising dollars.

Here is my logic: If they sold every seat as a season ticket and were ok with that, taking the hit on the reduced price across the board, then why not just offer lower prices throughout the season? It's not like they are getting the season ticket money up front either, the power pay plan negates that.

This upcoming season I'm not going to renew, not just out of $ but out of principle. When I go to a game, I'll buy the cheapest seat available and just move on down...cause I am sure there will be plenty empty.

Posted by: Unbiased Bill | April 17, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Change in coming! To red, white and blue! Yourrrrrr Montreal Canadiens!

Surely you mean le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

Posted by: P-Mac | April 17, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't care how Teddy Leo-Spin tries to spin this one...the reality is it's completely wrong to raise ticket prices this year.
I abandoned my season tickets in lower bowl long ago - the reasons:
1. couldn't give away games I couldn't attend
2. Leo-Spin raised prices each year
3. Team grew progressively worse
4. Realized owner was about "game experience" and not fielding a winner.

I honestly feel sorry for the Leolems that have given Ted their hard earned money for so many years. Hope the season ticket holder party and free skate at Kettler was worth it!

What a joke.

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 17, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I have said this before. The market sets the price. If you can't sell out lower the price. It is simple economics. I also agree with Bill, people in the arena buy stuff. That is $$$ too Teddy!!!

Also, how can someones son/daughter become a fan of going to Caps games live if they never get taken becasue the price is too high. Listen up Ted, it may cost you a little now to build a legion of fans. Teddy needs a lesson in "opportunity cost". All those empty seats are lost opportunity.

On a side note, every game I went to this year was in a box because even the companies don't want to entertain clients there.

Lower the prices and fill the building Ted! And good luck landing Drury, he saw what the atmosphere was like in the Phone Booth.

Posted by: Efactor | April 17, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Landing Drury?? Landing Drury???
Why do you think the spin on landing Comrie has already begun?? Think about it - Comries a "younger / faster" version of Briere!
Sound familiar??

I also posted to Ted about the Eric Fehr pick. Nothing against Fehr and I hope he turns out well, but the Devils traded up to select Parise just ahead of us. How's that look so far???

The Caps front office needs to be gutted - starting with McPhail.

Posted by: Jadir | April 17, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"Lower the prices and fill the building Ted! And good luck landing Drury, he saw what the atmosphere was like in the Phone Booth."

Thats been true for YEARS....ALL the players see what the atmosphere is like in the Phone Booth. If you've got fans that don't come to games, why should players want to come here and play?

Posted by: caphcky | April 17, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Jadir, what does NJ trading up for Parise have to do with us taking Fehr next? You could at least bash the management for something they had some control over, such as taking Fehr over Getzlaf.

Unbiased Bill, I understand what you're saying. If Ted instituted the new price plan next summer, say after a good offseason this year and playoffs next year, would this be a concern?

Posted by: Graham | April 17, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Ticket prices have increased since 1999. My seats were $10 each a game when I started my full season account back then. The price this season was $17 each a game. No one in the upper level that I know was ever given any grandfather special to buffer against price increases. We paid them every time the price went up. Now they want $27 each a game. $10 to $27 outstrips basic inflation, and the team has not improved in that time.

The fact is that the Caps decided they could afford to lose the 300 accounts that were adversely affected by the price INCREASE and then spin it as if it is not a price increase.

Tickets, before you go calling people fat, go measure the seats in section 417. Row M has more seats, partly because the row extends into the aisle, but the seats are also smaller to fit in those extra seats.

Any yeah, I could move to cheaper seats. Doesn't mean there wasn't a price increase. I could have downgraded seats any previous season as well.

Posted by: kathy | April 18, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

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