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Pay Up, Suckers

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As attendance numbers continue to fall at the Pepsi Center (14,381 last night), the Avalanche front office has announced that ticket prices will be increasing for the 2008-09 season.  

That's right, despite being cited constantly as one of the main reasons fans are skipping home games, the Avs will raise their seat prices.

The Avalanche has notified season-ticket holders by mail that prices will go up for the 2008-09 season. The top price, only for row 1 along the glass, is scheduled to increase from $190 to $196 per game, and the bottom price, for the upper end balcony, will be raised from $22 to $23.

The other 2008-09 prices, and their corresponding figures for this season:

• Rinkside $134 ($130).

• Prime loge $111 ($108).

• Club corner $106 ($103).

• Club end $96 ($93).

• Corner loge $94 ($91).

• End loge $85 ($83).

• Lower center balcony $62 ($60).

• Upper center balcony $51 ($50).

• Lower corner/end balcony $42 ($41).

• Corner balcony/mid-end balcony $36 ($35).

This can't be unexpected.  With attendance so much lower than in previous seasons, the Avs are making far less money.  It's simple economics.  You can still (theoretically) break even if you sell fewer tickets at a higher price---14,000 tickets at an average price of $80 generates a little bit more revenue than 18,000 tickets at an average price of $60, for example.

Unfortunately, the side effect of this revenue-preserving tactic is that attendance could drop even lower.  And the economy won't be getting any better any time in the immediate future.  With gas prices up, credit problems facing many, and wages stagnant as ever, the average hockey fan isn't going to be tossing around a lot of money for a while---and definitely not for a mediocre team.

But, rest assured campers, Gary Bettman isn't worried.  In an article by Terry Frei about the possibility that Kroenke Sports and the city of Denver could host the next outdoor NHL game (Avs-Flames?  Avs-Wings?), it's mentioned that Bettman was in the stands checking out The Can last night during the Phoenix OT win debacle.  Said Prince Gary:

"I am not concerned in the slightest," Bettman said. "I know that this is a great hockey market and there is great fan support. This team went for 11 years having a sellout every single game. . . . Based on the ownership and management of this club, the fact that this is a good, young team anchored by somebody who happens to be recovering from an appendectomy (Paul Stastny), the future is bright and I'm not concerned about this franchise at all. I always like to see our buildings filled to 100 percent of capacity, and that, too, will happen again here."

I'm hoping he'll hold his breath.