It doesn’t take much for me to get off on a tangent these days. I don’t know why, but it seems like I see something I don’t like, or something I think is flat out wrong, and I don’t feel like letting it go.
Greg Wyshynski’s AOL FanHouse post about the attendance at the Avalanche games is one such example. I wasn’t very happy with his post, and have already shown some examples of the ticket prices, and how they compare to other teams in the league, in similar situations, and in situations that tracked closer to the Avalanche a few years ago.
One of the things the comparison lacked was what the prices laid out on ticketmaster actually translated to. What seats, for how much, and how many are there. Well, this post aims to correct that.
From the ticket information page on the Colorado Avalanche website:
I called the box office (again, how hard is the research here? not hard at all), to see what they meant by “Season Ticket Single Game.” I was told, while they were looking at the same numbers as I was, that these were the prices that would be paid walking into the box office and buying a ticket for a single game. So, now that you see the prices, what do you get for your money?
There’s your seating chart, with color coding as to where the prices translate to. Notice that those $26 dollar tickets are in the last five rows (info from the box office again) on the ends of the upper bowl. If you don’t want to sit on the ends, you will cough up $57 dollars.
Where did the Fan Cost Index get their average ticket price? Oh, yeah, from the season ticket prices, and only the ones that are not considered luxury suites.
Average ticket price represents a weighted average of season ticket prices for general and club-level seats, determined by factoring the tickets in each price range as a percentage of the total number of seats in each stadium. Luxury suite sales are excluded from the survey. Season-ticket pricing is used for any team that offers some or all tickets at lower prices for customers who buy season tickets.
These days, just about every ticket can be considered luxury.
At this time, I cannot give you an average ticket price for each seat in the house, because I don’t have the number of seats sold at each price level, but the average ticket price across the available prices is $94.25. Take out the club seat prices, and you have an average of $92. That’s a far cry from the $38.48 the FCI claims. In fact, according to the Avs own website, there is only one ticket price below the FCI average.
What about those of us who are cheap? I have sat in the club level twice, and lower level once, but my income puts me squarely in the balcony. The average price in the balcony is $47.06. Again, well above the number the FCI works with. To sit in the lower level, you aren’t getting in for less than $93. The average price for the “loge” – AKA lower bowl – is $134.40. Again, I’m just using the numbers provided by the Avalanche on their own website.
What does this mean? Well, let’s talk about what is being said by the bloggers. From the Wyshynski post:
Dater writes that Denver’s economic downturn is a primary factor, but it’s not like the Avalanche were fleecing fans to begin with. The last Fan Cost Index from Team Marketing Report had Colorado below the League average and even the Islanders and Blue Jackets.
Since the FCI is being invoked as the backbone of the pricing conclusion made, it’s the FCI I have a problem with. Other people have problems with the FCI as well. This is from Baseball Prospectus. While I don’t know much about the site, it shows that someone else has looked at the FCI, which looks at the four big sports, and was not impressed:
One of the biggest weaknesses in the FCI is its use of “average-priced tickets” as a benchmark. By using the price paid by season-ticket holders for a particular seat, even if the price is higher when the seat is sold on a per-game basis, the FCI understates the cost of tickets for the average fan. Moreover, in many markets the “average-priced ticket” is irrelevant to the actual options available for casual fans attending a game on short notice, who must either buy from scalpers or wind up in the cheap seats. Last year 10 clubs sold fewer than half their available tickets, while the Giants, Cubs and Red Sox played to over 90% of capacity.
Oh, good, I’m not the only one who thinks the FCI is a problem. Well, that and the attitude of some people that there is no way money could be a reason for fans not to buy tickets. I mean, it’s not like the economy is in trouble, or people are having money problems, right?
The Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates by a half-percentage point Wednesday sent the dollar lower against the euro and the yen, but the Fed is not the only problem for an already battered dollar.
That can’t be good.
The dollar sank to a two-month low against a basket of currencies on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve cut benchmark interest rates a half percentage point and warned more may be needed to support the faltering U.S. economy.
The move comes just eight days after the U.S. central bank unexpectedly cut its lending rate by three quarters of a point to boost an economy battered by a deep housing slump and a persistent credit crisis.
“The language in the (Fed’s) statement was fairly strong, suggesting the Fed is still worried with the possibility of further deterioration in the U.S. economy,” said Mark Meadows, analyst at Tempus Consulting in Washington, D.C.
OK, so I see a trend here.
But you know, it can’t be the economy or anything. I mean, a recent downturn in the economy, that couldn’t explain what’s going on in Detroit, or Colorado, or New Jersey, or Nashville, or any other city. Hey, remember when, not too long ago, it was the Canadian cities that had problems, and the Canadian dollar was blamed. It was even reported that players did not want to be signed to Canadian teams because it translated to lower salaries due to the weakness of the Canadian dollar.
I don’t know what the FanHouse is paying these days, but for most people, NHL hockey tickets are luxury items. They aren’t as necessary as food, shelter, or car payments. But for some reason, the attendance issue couldn’t possibly be about money. I mean, the FCI says so. It’s all affordable, right?
Yeah, not so much.
I have some more spunk in me still. I don’t think I’m done. Next, more reasons for the Avs to have attendance problems, some of which deal with money, and some of which don’t.