SBD/February 4, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
The Packers will increase ticket prices $3 per seat for the '14 season, the "fifth consecutive year they've raised prices," according to Richard Ryman of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. The new prices will put the team 17th in the NFL, and Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy in a brochure sent to season-ticket holders this week wrote, "Our goal for ticket pricing is to be just below the league average." Last year’s price increase "ranged from $2 to $5 per seat." Ticket prices "didn’t increase" from '07-09, and the Packers "fell to near the bottom of the NFL in ticket prices." That "displeased visiting teams, who receive a third of all ticket revenue." It was "thought that because the Packers sold out every game, they could afford to charge more for tickets." The Packers also indicated that they are considering "a 'pay as we play' invoice option for playoff tickets sold to season-ticket holders." That is in "response to criticism the team received this year when it instituted a no-refund policy." Fans "objected to the policy in place for the 2013 playoff ticket sale, during which the team told season-ticket holders who wanted to buy playoff tickets that it would apply any unused money to the cost of the following year’s season tickets, meaning the team would hold the money for several months." That choice "had been optional previously" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/4). In Milwaukee, Tyler Dunne notes the "cheapest ticket is now $77," while the "most expensive is $100." Since '09, seats "between the 20s have increased 38.9%, from $72 to $100." End zone seats "increased 30.5%, from $59 to $77" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/4).
MURPHY'S TAKE: Murphy in a monthly column for PACKERS.com answered fans' questions and addressed the team struggling to sell out its Wild Card game against the 49ers. Murphy wrote, "Shortly after our playoff game against the 49ers, we conducted a survey of our season-ticket holders, people on our waiting list and general fans to determine why we had trouble selling out the game. ... I anticipate that we will make a number of changes and adjustments based on this feedback from our fans, including offering a 'pay as we play' type of option for playoff games. With current available technology, we should be able to use this type of method as an option. ... Finally, in retrospect, I would say that we made a mistake in deciding not to refund the money to fans this year for playoff games not played. We learned from this mistake and will have a better policy in place next year" (PACKERS.com, 2/1).
MLSE Chair Larry Tanenbaum hopes MLS Toronto FC's $220M in winter signings sends a "strong message to fans that winning trumps short-term profit," according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. Tanenbaum is "sharply aware of ... the perception among Toronto sports fans that MLSE can live with losing teams as long as the clubs generate revenue." Tanenbaum said, "Our ownership group are unbelievably committed to winning at all levels, (including) winning our fans back and winning in our community. Our fans truly deserve world-class teams." The club this offseason has acquired F Gilberto, F Jermain Defoe and MF Michael Bradley, and the moves for Tanenbaum are "about rebuilding brands -- both the soccer club's and the company's." Experts said that "splurging" on the players will help TFC meet "on-field and financial goals." Campbell notes TFC during its first season in '07 "averaged 20,130 spectators for home games, a figure that trailed only two MLS teams, each with significantly larger stadiums than 20,000-seat BMO Field." But after "several lacklustre seasons, TFC slipped to 10th place in overall attendance, averaging 18,131 in a stadium that had been expanded to seat 25,000." An "infusion of high-profile talent and the prospect of making the playoffs could quickly boost sales of TFC merchandise and tickets" (TORONTO STAR, 2/4).
DRAWING THE LINE: In Toronto, Kurtis Larson reports TFC "will release a final block of 500 season tickets" today before "capping its season-ticket base at 17,000. The club has "enjoyed a league-leading renewal rate of 95% among existing season-seat holders on top of selling an additional 2,700 new seats" ahead of the '14 season. Maybe "more impressive is the fact the club has done this in a fraction of the time fellow MLS clubs have." MLS teams "typically open up ticket renewals in October," but TFC "elected to hold off until after fans witnessed its off-season transformation" (TORONTO SUN, 2/4).