The high cost of watching
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Ticket prices for sports, especially hockey, are an interesting trend. They’re entirely dependent on the team, arena, and of course proximity to the playing surface. The distinction between individual and season ticket prices is also important, although many season ticket seats are sold individually for each game.
The current most expensive NHL team ticket is the Toronto Maple Leafs, at a mere average of $446 per game. Although the Leafs are one of the most popular hockey teams, particularly in their home city, they’re also widely (perhaps informally) known for being a terrible team that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967. It’s a pretty steep sum for a team that’s only made the playoffs twice in the last 10 seasons. The most expensive US team is the Chicago Blackhawks, whose ticket prices are much more reasonable at an average of only $279 a game.
At home in Vancouver, Canucks ticket averages are third in the league (Edmonton is #2 at the fine price of $328) and still more expensive than any US team, cashing in at $296. For someone in Vancouver making minimum wage at $10.25/hour, a decent seat to watch the Canucks fight valiantly could potentially set them back 29 hours’ worth of pay.
It’s no wonder the demand for Canucks tickets is currently at an all-time low. Although tickets to a preseason game can be found for as cheap as 1/10 of $296, several thousand of the 19,000 seats in Rogers Arena have remained empty. Demand is likely to be even lower when ticket prices go up as the regular season kicks off on October 8.
Clearly, the thrill of watching a hockey game live with friends or family is becoming rarer and rarer. Even the highest-up seats possible in Rogers Arena easily retail for a triple-digit price during the season. In fact, the average price for Canucks tickets has gone up by $32 compared to the average price at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Of course, many factors drive the ticket prices and demand, the most prominent being the Canucks’ performance on and off the ice. Currently coming off of one of their least-promising seasons in recent memory, it’s quite likely ticket prices will drop shortly. Still, the average price will always be something unaffordable to the majority of people who would love to experience the game regularly. But hey, Radim Vrbata is worth every penny of his $5-million annual salary. Probably.
On the other end of the spectrum, average ticket prices to see the Carolina Hurricanes are the lowest in the league at an average of $62. A diehard Leafs or Canucks fan might be better off taking a plane for their team’s away game in North Carolina. It could easily cost less than an equivalent seat on home ice, particularly by taking a domestic flight across the border. Great fun for the whole family!