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FOLLOWING RECORD JAGR DEAL, PENGUINS SLASH TICKET PRICES
Published January 29, 1998
The Penguins signed F Jaromir Jagr to a four-year, $38M extension -- the "richest contract" in NHL history, and at the same time "slashed season-ticket costs in seven price categories for next season," according to Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. The cuts will save ticket holders "as much as $279.50 per season" over the '97-98 season prices. Gate prices "will not increase" next season, and owners "promise to make playoff tickets more affordable this season." Pens co-Owner Howard Baldwin: "[S]ome of the concessions we're making (in playoff tickets) are very dramatic." Starkey wrote that "this season's sagging attendance at the Civic Arena made a bold statement to Baldwin and fellow co-owner Roger Marino." The Penguins have played this season to 89% capacity, selling out only three of 24 games (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/28). The highest- priced tickets will be reduced from $60 to $57.70. Tickets that currently cost $39 will be reduced to $32.50. Every other ticket will be "cut by at least $1" (USA TODAY, 1/28). BRAND JAGR? In a deal "similar to the one they struck with [Mario] Lemieux in 1993, the Penguins and Jagr have agreed to share his marketing rights." The team will "allow Jagr to use the team's logo if he were to appear on a cereal box or poster," and Jagr will split the extra revenue with the team. As for Jagr's contract, the POST-GAZETTE's Dejan Kovacevic wrote that the Penguins "are banking" that the NHL "will double" its national TV revenue when its contracts with ESPN and Fox expire after this season. Kovacevic: "Not that Baldwin is expecting a deal such as the NFL's." Baldwin: "I'd crawl from here to California and back for $73 million a year in TV money" (Pittsburgh POST-GAZETTE, 1/28). REAX: Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix said that Jagr's contract has him "worried." Lacroix: "The way it's going you have to be concerned. Like any business, if you don't have the potential revenue, somebody down the road is going to get hurt. It's either the fans or the players. With ownerships getting hurt, somebody else is going to have the whiplash" (GAZETTE TELEGRAPH, 1/29). Commissioner Gary Bettman: "[H]opefully, if Pittsburgh couldn't afford to pay it they wouldn't have. ... It may mean long-term that some high-paid players are basically taking away from some low- paid players, but over time we think it will work out, and over time we hope not to be ticket driven" (FSN, 1/28).