Price increase has Kings fans upset
One of Jeanne Torres’ first purchases after she graduated from college was Kings season tickets, and she has remained loyal through nine years of good and bad.
But the San Pedro graphic designer’s fanaticism and finances were tested this week when she learned the two seats that each cost her $33.50 per game this season could cost $40 next season following a sweeping price rescaling at Staples Center.
“There’s a big difference between what your heart wants to do and your brain wants to do,” Torres said Tuesday. “I love it. I don’t want to give it up. But when push comes to shove and it doesn’t look like we’re going to do anything better than we did last year I may put those seats on hold.”
A club spokesman said some seats will decrease by $5.50 to $12 and others will increase by as little as 50 cents to as much as $13 per game. The “blended” increase will be 9% for those who renew by the March 24 deadline and 11% for those who renew afterward or are new buyers.
The average Kings ticket this season costs $51.92, according to Team Marketing Report, below the NHL average of $57.10.
The Ducks are finalizing their 2012-13 pricing and will soon notify fans.
Dory Guedikian of Chatsworth, who sits in Section 301, said his renewal decision will hinge on what the team does before the Feb. 27 trading deadline. The Kings are close to the salary cap limit but rank last in the NHL in scoring and seventh in the Western Conference standings.
“We were very hopeful before the season started and we were not only considering making the playoffs but doing some damage, and right now neither of those two look too certain,” said Guedikian, whose two seats cost $835 each this season and will cost $918 next season.
“Until the trade deadline comes and passes and how the season plays out will probably be my most deciding factor.”
Chris McGowan, chief operating officer of AEG Sports, said the Kings are balancing consideration for fans against business needs.
“We expect our pricing to continue to be below the average NHL ticket price and are confident that we will continue to offer affordable pricing for everyone, in particular with the creation of one of the lowest-priced season ticket plans in the lower bowl in the NHL,” he said.
Roy Nwaisser of Los Angeles, an Internet entrepreneur and season ticket holder since 2000, said he might instead go to the secondary ticket market. He paid $5,140 for two seats in Section 107 this season; they will cost $6,336 next season if he renews before the deadline or $6,766 afterward.
“I’m absolutely livid,” he said. “At this point I cannot see renewing my season tickets considering the way the Kings have played this season. Even if they had won a Stanley Cup, a 23% price increase wouldn’t be justified.”
Heidi Hansen of Long Beach owns two seats that each will go from $30.50 per game to $38.50 per game next season, a 26% increase. A fan since her teens, she might not renew after accepting a 20% increase a year ago. She also was angry over the smaller increases imposed in the lower level than for her upper-level seats.
“To be honest, they haven’t been real fun to watch this year,” she said. “If they’re not going to show any loyalty to us, why should I keep spending the money for them?”
Club spokesman Mike Altieri said fans who feel priced out of a location can move elsewhere.
That’s an option for Benjamin Miller of the Hollywood Hills, whose two seats will increase from a total of $7,123 to $8,142. “I’ll just do that if I decide the price isn’t right for me,” he said.
Nwaisser wasn’t happy with that suggestion.
“That’s kind of a slap in the face to fans, to tell them that you’ve had a certain seat for so long and we are now going to raise the price so much that if you’re unhappy with it, you can settle for a cheaper seat in an inferior location,” he said.
“To me it’s not a matter of not being able to afford the seats or being priced out. There has to be some correlation between performance and price and you can’t have a season like we’re having this season and then raise the price 23%.”
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Breaking the ice has its costs
Where Kings’ and Ducks’ average ticket prices this season rank among some other NHL teams.
*--* Rk. Team Avg. price 1. Toronto $123.77 2. Winnipeg $98.27 NHL average $57.10 17. KINGS $51.92 28. DUCKS $36.94 29. Phoenix $36.15 30. Dallas $29.95 *--*
Average NHL ticket prices (general seating categories) according to Team Marketing Report. The league average is $57.10:
1 TOR $123.77
2 WIN 98.27
3 MON 88.67
4 EDM 70.13
5 VAN 68.38
6 CAL 68.18
7 PHI 66.89
8 NYR 66.20
9 PIT 63.06
10 MIN 62.63
11 WAS 62.42
12 BOS 58.94
13 CHI 55.72
14 FLA 55.67
15 OTT 55.51
16 DET 53.28
17 KINGS 51.92
18 NAS 51.04
19 SJ 49.73
20 NYI 49.06
21 COLUM 47.95
22 NJ 45.86
23 CAR 41.58
24 STL 41.57
25 COLO 40.62
26 BUF 38.25
27 TB 37.73
28 DUCKS 36.94
29 PHO 36.15
30 DAL 29.95