SBD/February 3, 2014/Franchises

Patriots Join Lions As Only NFL Teams To Start Variable Ticket Pricing For '14 Season

The Patriots on Friday announced that they will "utilize a variable pricing plan for season-ticket packages next season, while also announcing a price increase in two lower-bowl seat designations," according to Michael Whitmer of the BOSTON GLOBE. The plan essentially "creates three ticket prices for the same seat: a price for the two preseason games, a higher price for four 'premier' regular-season games, and an even higher price for four 'marquee' regular-season games." The strategy is to "charge less for the games that don’t have as much demand -- such as preseason games -- but charge more for the higher-profile games." The franchise said that the price for a preseason game will be approximately 50% "less than a premier regular-season game, while the marquee game will go" for roughly 25% more. For five of Gillette Stadium’s seven seating areas, the total price for a season ticket "will remain the same." Total season-ticket prices for "lower-level sideline seats, and everything in the upper level, won’t change." Lower-level midfield seats ($10 increase per game) and "lower-level corner/end zone seats ($18 increase per game) will rise" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/1). CSNNE.com's Art Martone wrote it was "borderline criminal" that the Patriots "charged the same price for meaningless exhibitions as they did for regular-season games." However, the pricing system "only applies to season-ticket holders ... who have to buy tickets to all the exhibition and regular-season games anyway." Martone: "So, in the end, what's the point? The point, I guess, is that the Pats ... can now boast that they no longer charge regular-season prices for exhibition games" (CSNNE.com, 1/31).

THE NEXT STEP: FORBES.com's Jesse Lawrence noted the Patriots and Lions now are the "first two teams in the NFL" to adapt a variable ticket-pricing system. That, along with the "turbulent market for Super Bowl tickets, makes clear that even the mighty NFL isn’t immune to varying levels of demand." If teams are "going to keep filling stadiums, they’ll likely need to do even more." The "next step for the NFL would be to allow dynamic pricing, which would go a step further and allow factors like weather and team record to factor into prices" (FORBES.com, 2/2).
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