New Dallas Stars owner Tom Gagliardi has made his first significant front-office move:
He’s slashing prices!
Starting Friday, the Stars will roll out a new ticket-pricing initiative, affecting most seating areas of American Airlines Center. There are price drops across the board, but one that’s caught everybody’s eye is the introduction of a $9 ticket.
“One of the first things we did as a management team was look at individual ticket prices,” Gaglardi said. “The fans spoke and we listened. We’re pleased that we can now offer a $9 ticket and we feel that these new prices make Stars games more affordable. Our team needs a full building every night to give us a true home-ice advantage.”
Dallas hasn’t experienced much of a home-ice advantage this year. The Stars rank 29th in the league with an average attendance of 11,469 — drastically down from the 17,215 they averaged in 2009-10.
“We want to take advantage of the attention that is on us. The team is performing real well, so eyes are on us,” said Stars team president Jim Lites. “Tom said to me I want to react quickly, I want to do the right thing, what can we do? We studied what other teams have done where there was an ownership change in midseason, including the Texas Rangers in our market a year ago. Chuck Greenberg got a lot of positive feedback and fans by adjusting some prices. In their case it was less tickets and more concessions and parking.
“In our case we are starting with the basic premise of tickets because we need fans.”
In this increasingly fragmented and confusing world – not to mention a fledgling economy – getting a good deal is about more than feeling smart. Sometimes, it’s just a flat-out necessity.
Just the other day, I saw the Dallas Stars advertise their delightfully pun-based promotion “Ott-toberfest.” It’s a pretty cool deal, as fans who cash in on the opportunity can get two tickets in the snazzy Platinum section, two T-shirts celebrating the beloved pest and two drinks (I assume non-alcoholic) for $99.
(Full disclosure, though: after evil “convenience fees”, taxes and fairly ridiculous shipping charges, I passed on tickets that really ended up costing $120+ for better seats at about $80 thanks to ticket re-seller Stubhub.com. Ultimately, you have to search around on sites like Stubhub for good deals, but that’s often the best place to go.)
Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette tracked down some of the NHL’s most appealing package deals. If you’re in one of these markets, you might want to seize the opportunity to take your family or friends to a high-level hockey game at a reasonable price.
Tampa Bay: The Lightning is offering a Family Pack for all regular-season games. For $56, you get four tickets, four hotdogs and four sodas.
Islanders: On Long Island they have a Birthday Celebrations package in hopes of attracting young fans and their parents. For $199 you get eight tickets in the upper mezzanine, along with party invitations, a visit from Sparky the mascot and a customized birthday picture on the scoreboard.
A visit from Sparky the Mascot? I had to look this one up, but apparently the Islanders’ mascot is a dragon (as you can see from this article’s main image). I’m not really sure why, but dragons are pretty awesome, so I approve. It’s too bad he doesn’t have some kind of fabric-based flame coming out of his mascot mouth, but that’s just nitpicking.
The Ducks and Blues have their own “performance based incentives.”
Anaheim: The Ducks have a Victory Pack promotion in which you can purchase two tickets to four games starting at $172. For each one of those games the Ducks win, you get two free tickets to another game.
St. Louis: A new promotion dubbed “Every Game Counts” allowed Blues season-ticket holders to pay 50 per cent before the season and the other 50 per cent only if the team makes the playoffs. The Blues have made the playoffs only once in the last five seasons.
Interesting stuff. Here are a few other tips to find good deals.
- Ticket re-sellers such as Stubhub – Again, I know I already mentioned this, but the savings can be huge. A few years ago I was able to land tickets to a Ducks-Sharks playoff game for about $40 per seat. Sure, the game wasn’t even sold out, but that’s still a spiffy deal.
- “Student Rush” packages – It’s a bit of a risk since these deals often are only available about an hour before game time, but merely having a student ID can earn you big savings on tickets.
- Less popular games – You’re going to have to pay marquee prices for marquee players. If you want to see the Blackhawks, Penguins, Capitals or Red Wings, it’ll cost you. If you’re a real hockey fan, you should be able to find a deal with an “under the radar” team; maybe you’d prefer to see the Vancouver Canucks if you’re in a non-traditional market or a game involving a lesser known division rival. Any hockey game can be highly entertaining … just look at that goal Brent Burns scored for the normally yawn-inducing Minnesota Wild.
Anyway, those are some hints to find good deals on hockey tickets. Don’t forget minor league teams, either. You’d be surprised how fun a CHL, AHL, QMJHL or whateverHL league can be. Plus, you can get better seats for less money.
Feel free to share some of your favorite deals, tips and tricks in the comments.