Monday, April 14, 2008

A glimpse at Toronto ticket prices

We interrupt our playoff programming to bring you...

One of the great things I saw down in Pittsburgh was just how young that team's fan base is, and how many 20- and 30-somethings can afford season's tickets.

But when I tried to explain to the locals just how unaffordable tickets in Toronto were, I couldn't quite do it justice. You can say "$400 a seat" all you want, but that doesn't take into account the licence fees and everything else that corporate tickets holders pony up at the Air Canada Centre.

Which is why it's a good thing Rick Westhead gives us a glimpse at just what people are paying for Maple Leafs tickets (as part of a story on shady ticket-selling deals going down at the parent company):
"He (the MLSE sales employee) wanted to meet at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop on the 401 in Milton," Tanguay said. "I met him, gave him the envelope with the cash, and a cheque for $65,000 and had him sign the invoice indicating the cash was part of the deal, too."

Besides $40,000 to cover the cost of the personal-seat licence, which gave him the right to buy tickets from MLSE, Tanguay agreed to pay $25,000 for the Leafs and Raptors tickets themselves.
Now, what our friend here is buying is two season's tickets to the Leafs and Raptors in the lower bowl.

In addition to $40,000 up front for the licence, another $25,000 per season pays for a grand total of two tickets to 82 games (41 for each team), which works out to about $160 a seat. It's safe to assume the Leafs tickets would be worth considerably more than the Raptors, likely in the range of $230+ apiece.

And our buyer was desperately waiting on a list somewhere to shell that money out (not to mention the part about meeting at a truck stop with $5,000 cash).

These are not the best seats in the house by any means: The red section is behind one net, from the halfway point of the lower bowl on up.

I've lived in Toronto five years and have sat in the lower bowl for exactly one Leafs game, and only then when a friend won tickets at an auction. It's simply not possible for your average fan to get these tickets (or any, for that matter).

Of course, it's all a result of supply and demand, and even in Pittsburgh, with the team's success, I've heard rumblings they will cancel programs like 'Student Rush' that have kept some seats filled in the lean years.

Then you go to Columbus and there's a game-day lineup for $10 seats.

Quite a difference.
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10 Comments:

At 3:13 PM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

Jes mentioned it on his site too but this whole episode has been embarrassing for the club. The depths of their greed are exposed when these kinds of things get out. Not to mention, who's in charge of these clowns?

On another message board, despite a waiting list that is supposed to be 15-20 years long, someone mentioned that after repeatedly begging his ticket rep for Leafs' tickets that he was finally offered them despite not being on the waiting list.

Makes you wonder if a clean-up similar to the one Barcelona did a few years ago might be in order to clear up the scalpers, the waiting list, and the crooked ticket reps.

 
At 3:21 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger andy grabia said...

Obviously there is no way the Toronto area could support a second hockey club. I mean, look at this evidence. Pretty damning. It appears Leafs fans only come out to support their team when they are winning Stanley Cups.

 
At 3:30 PM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry it is all going to be okay after the next lockout, when ticket prices will be tied to a salary cap. Once the owners get the cap that they need they will be able to make ticket prices more affordable for those suckers, I mean loyal fans, that buy the merchandise.

 
At 3:44 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Leon Westbrook said...

That is absolutely obscene to even FATHOM paying that amount for tickets.

Especially for a team like the Leafs.

 
At 4:12 PM, April 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to play devil's advocate, what is Tanguay complaining about?

Did someone put a gun to his head?

Nobody is forced to buy hockey tickets.

But the story serves as useful evidence that the Leafs run the league. No business, with an opportunity to further tap the wallets of such a huge fan base, would block the sale and transfer of a basket-case like Nashville which annually takes welfare cheques from other teams.

That's the story Westhead and others should be pursuing. Not some tawdry, National Star-type expose on Elvis lookalikes selling Leafs tickets that look like the face of Jeebus to unsuspected Crackers at a truck stop.

 
At 5:09 PM, April 14, 2008, Blogger Taste of Flames said...

WOW! If my ticket rep told me to meet him at a truck stop with 5grand in cash and another $6,500 check, I would have to seriously reconsider my team of choice. The Atlanta Spirit Group may be the biggest bunch of bumbling idiots in the league, but at least they aren't mafia.

 
At 2:02 AM, April 15, 2008, Anonymous cynical joe said...

How is it even possible that a team this wealthy is so bad? Sure there is a cap, but if the 'brain' trust at MLSE can't figure out how to translate that huge financial advantage into a constant continual Cup contender then the Leafs truly do have no hope.

 
At 9:33 AM, April 15, 2008, Blogger Chemmy said...

Sigh.

 
At 10:15 AM, April 15, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

which works out to about $160 a seat. It's safe to assume the Leafs tickets would be worth considerably more than the Raptors, likely in the range of $230+ apiece.

Not sure how true that is, James. I watched the Raps play miami last night from the reds, and it was $190 per ticket. They were season tickets comped to me.

 
At 2:04 PM, April 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think you must have been in the club reds, because I've sat in those seats for basketball and face value on the ticket was $115.

 

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