Most Laker ticket prices are increasing for 1996-97, because of free agents in general but not Shaquille O'Neal in particular.
Season-ticket holders were informed by mail about a month ago that rates will climb, a move management made in anticipation of a big-money payout this summer. The change will also be for people buying tickets to individual games.
Floor seats that sold for $500 are now $600. The next five categories jump between $4 and $10. The lowest-priced tickets will go from $9.50 to $21, a move that owner Jerry Buss called the hardest decision.
"As much as we've been against this kind of increase, the race for quality free agents and overall escalation of costs leaves us no alternative," Buss said.
In an attempt to soften the blow, the Lakers came up with a plan that allows anyone who had season tickets at $9.50 per game since at least before last season to gradually move to $21. Under that method, the bill will increase to $12.50 a seat for 1996-97, $16.50 for the next season then $21.