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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

NCAA Hockey: Bringing in New Fans?

As the NCAA tournament approaches how will ticket prices bring in new fans and how will it keep them there?

Let's take a look at the hypothetical family of four. Mom, Dad, and two sons who are very interested in hockey. For convenience let's say Mom and Dad are Michigan State alum, and they live in the Capital District. They decide they want to see their alma mater close to home and take their sons to the arena to see high quality hockey on a national stage.

First things first, they have to order tickets. A check of Ticketmaster.com says that there are no events coming to the Pepsi Arena. Hmm, that's odd. Well after some searching around we discover that we have to order our tickets directly through the Pepsi Arena website. With credit card in hand we commence the purchasing.

Our first look at pepsiarena.com tells us that an All-Session pass for the games are $72 for adults and $66 for children ages 12 and under. Great, we click on the links which lead us to our first decision, do we want to go to all the games this weekend or just see the first two. Well seeing how this is the next step to the Frozen Four, let's go for the gusto and get the two day pass. Now it seems as though the prices have changed on us. Instead of $72 and $66 it is now a flat $70 for either upper or lower bowl. So let's order four tickets in the lower bowl. Ahh, now we get our chance to take the two children's tickets. If we had selected best available tickets, we would have been stuck with four adult tickets. So on the order we have two adult tickets at $70 a piece and two child tickets at $64 a piece. Throw in the $43.50 service charge and our sub total is $311.50. Now we're ready to check out, but before that there is a $3.10 will call charge tacked on, bringing our grand total to $314.60. If we had bought four adult tickets the total would have been $326.90, so by buying two youth tickets, we saved $15.40.

Now we are at the rink. After paying $15 to park the car we head inside to watch some hockey. At the arena we buy four hot dogs at $3.25 a piece and four sodas at $3.00 a piece. To remember our trip we buy two Frozen Four t-shirts at $19.95 plus tax and a program for $2.25. Keep in mind it's only Saturday and we get to buy the hot dogs and soda again tomorrow. Kinda wish they sold beer at NCAA events now....

So let's review our family of four's excursion to the Pepsi Arena:
Tickets from the Pepsi Arena site - $268
Service Charge - $43.50
Processing Fee - $3.10
Parking - $30
Hot Dogs - $26
Sodas - $24
T-Shirts - $40
Program - $2.25

Our grand total for the weekend is $436.85. And we haven't even begun to look into hotel rooms for the out of towners.

When the attendance figures are released and the numbers appear to be down or lower than previous years, people will question whether or not hockey can ever succeed as a national sport on the levels with NCAA Basketball and Football. The answer is no, and the reasoning sits in the outlandish prices people are asked to shell out for teams in their region they have little interest in seeing, and certainly no interest in seeing for $36 a game. If the NCAA wants to boost it's attendance in the regional round, of what many feel is a quality product, they need to take a hard look at their ticket prices and make an effort to give the fans their money's worth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement... The NCAA is taking the WHO's WHO in 8th grade science approach.. Want to see your kid in it? Buy the book for $ 195.00. (Don't buy it means you must not care for your kid)

12:53 PM

Blogger Eric said...

nice writeup gobe.. 43.50 service charge? what a waste. how much are frozen four tickets?

6:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The high price for parking is easily avoided. Get there a little early and you can park on the street for free, or nearly. Or a further garage/lot for much less.

But you're right on the rest of it.

2:20 PM


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