Patton wrote:So little to say, so much time...strike that, reverse it. Seems there's a lot of people making the "Wow, this crap has gotten expensive, not that it impacts me because I have money but I could see how it could impact lesser people" argument. Let's say it like it is: this crap's starting to get expensive and a lot of us are finding it hard to afford tickets anymore. Hell, to me hockey has always seemed outlandishly expensive to go to as a single beer loving guy, I don't even want to think about ever taking a family to a game in the future. If only the Pens could be more like the Pirates so we could all go to games and buy $7 bleacher seats...
Ok, that was a cheap shot, but there are a few things that I think are being overlooked. Let's start with the notion of ticket prices going up while the evil front office is watering down the product... this lemonade stand analogy is so far off base I don't even know where to start. The Pens have spent to the cap almost every year in the recent past, no? So what you're saying is that they are intentionally paying WORSE players the same amount of money that they would be paying anyways, since they are spending as much money as they are legally allowed to? How does that make any sense at all? If they're spending to the cap, they're spending to the cap, they're not watering anything down. What you described is what the Pirates did after getting the tax payers to buy them a new stadium, and then figuring out how to be more profitable by losing than by winning. The fact that some of the player signings haven't produced the on ice result that any of us want, doesn't have anything to do with watering the product down via corner cutting or nefarious profit mongering, it has to do with the fact that the organic triple filtered fountain of youth glacier fed spring water that the pens spent big money on to play defense ended up being mexican piss in a bottle, and consequently the lemonade tastes like Corona....mmm....beer...
I'm going to throw you a curve ball here before I get to my main point, but I think the quality of watching hockey on TV thanks to HDTV, coupled with the cost at which these TVs can now be obtained, plus all of the playoff games being carried nationwide may have more to do with the playoff tickets being more readily available than before. People are now less likely to deal with the hassle of going to the games or coming into town for the games when they can basically sit next to crosby
and malkin on the bench, crap in the privacy of their own home, and not have to worry about driving home after drinking a case of beer now that the puck can be viewed as the size of a dinner plate flying across the living room on a 70 inch tv for less than 2500 dollars. Does that support the idea of higher ticket prices? No, but it does when you couple it with this...
...it's the economy, stupid! (not directed at anyone, just like the saying) Sh*t costs money. Spending to the cap costs A LOT of money. 40% more money than last year? Nope. But...unless you work in the finance office and have insight we don't, do any of us know how the Pens are doing other than in ticket sales? Now that they aren't reigning Stanley Cup champs, are they getting as much for the advertising on the boards, the ads in the program, the short video clips no one watches on the jumbotron? Well, seeing as damn near no one has the money to do much of anything these days, I'm guessing they may have had to lower some of their advertising fees, and are passing that cost onto the ticketholders because there is still an excess of demand for the tickets, so they can. Even if advertisements aren't becoming harder to move, I'd bet that those ads are multiyear deals, so they can't just hike the prices on them. Obviously that's an example I can't prove, but I'm just using it as an example of things that I doubt any of us think of as reasons for ticket price increasing. As many people pointed out, the white out shirts are usually paid for by sponsors, but maybe they had trouble getting all the necessary sponsors throughout the year, or maybe the sponsors were tapped out. At $2 a shirt, maybe 84 Lumber finally had to make the decision between sponsoring white out shirts or cutting $40,000 worth of salary somewhere, since the housing market blows and no one's buying lumber to build right now. Hell, even little things like the cost of fuel being so high raising the travel expenses for the team to get to and from games could be why the prices went up. Again, these are all hypotheticals, but are scenarios that I think are being overlooked in favor of "The Pens are screwing us for the sake of screwing us, argh!" Until they stop having people on the waiting list and until they truly have trouble moving the tickets, it's pretty much the most logical place for them to try to recoup their costs. Whether it's Joe steel worker who just got off his shift at the Edger Thomson works, snagged a battleship at the triangle, and then threw down the $100 to go to the game, or it's Biff Bifferson in his BMW, they are still getting the $100. Sucks, I didn't say it didn't, but it's the cost of doing business. Do any of us know how Burkle's portfolio has been doing lately? Yeah, the man is worth over 3 BILLION, but maybe he's taken some hits and doesn't feel like hemorrhaging money via his hobby of owning the Pens. What also sucks is that, unlike most goods like TVs and computers, where you can now buy a 60 inch tv for the cost of a 27 inch 5 years ago, you can't exactly ship the production of good hockey players to china so that we get a comparable product for a fraction of the cost over time. The cost of the goods on the ice are going no where but up for the owners. Tack on 3-4% real inflation for the dollar year to year, and maybe 10% isn't all that unreasonable.
One last point I want to address is the student rush tickets being indicative of demand for tickets...every event holds back tickets until the last second before they sell them. That's so if Seal Team 6 wanted to come to a Pens game after tagging OBL, the Pens have the ability to do that. In addition to this, the Pens, like any good company, are willing to give away product to people in hopes of producing a fan who, even if they can't afford tickets in the future, might buy a shirt or watch the game on TV. At the very least they probably buy more beer, and certainly up the energy of the crowd.Using your logic, the only reason I used to see hot chicks on campus giving out redbull every year was because redbull had too much inventory they couldn't move. Considering most people I know still may as well have an IV of it connected to them, even when they are paying for it, I'm guessing that's not the case. I also have a long running suspicion that every sports venue either sells more seats than they have, or marks their max capacity lower than the amount of seats they actually have, so a "sellout" might happen at the maximum listed seats of 18,000, but in actuality there are those extra 200 seats that don't count. That may just come from years of going to Michigan football games, which didn't sell standing room only tickets, and continuously being in the record setting crowd for the MICH/OSU game of over 113,000 when the capacity is listed as 107,000...but I digress.
But yeah, I see how you think it sucks, it does suck, but your only real recourse is to speak with your wallet, and even then you probably won't be heard for a long while. Eventually you will, because this isn't the super bowl or the yankees that can survive on corporate sales alone, but as fiercely loyal as we are as a fan base, it's going to take time.
You put a lot in there and I can't address them all so just a few points that everyone is missing:
1. The issue with the price increases of 40 and 30% for playoffs alone is that they were profitable in the last season in Mellon. They added 2000 seats, increased prices a good amount, got piles of new money coming in from the new arena deals .......and the rent and cap went up too but not nearly the percentage of their revenue back. Do a quick excel sheet of 40% increaes, 2000 tickets per game and a few dollars per fan for food plus all the money they make from concerts, concerts food sales, parking and on and on. It's gross profit while running off fans, it's bad business as noted by their cancels.
The point is they have pushed past the limit on pricing to a point that people were canceling their playoffs. Everyone keeps claiming wait list but its only 4000 deep or so and we have already proven that most of those people can't afford or won't take season tickets. The penguins tried to make a huge profit at the expense of long term sustainability and it failed miserably.
This has nothing to do with charging small amounts and putting a crappy product on the ice and becoming the pirates. The pens were fine financially 3 years ago and have turned into greedy scumbags and it's affecting them but nobody wants to admit it.
Again and for the last time: the cheap tickets and we will suck argument makes no sense since they were making money 3 years ago and spending to the cap. I defended their prices up until last year when I could see what everyone does not want to.
2. Again student rush, holding back tickets and other things. Nobody is arguing the marketing validity of the programs and everyone understands why some tickets come available, it even happens for the steelers. BUT when 2000 or 3000 tickets are available the morning of a game and it sells out its frustrating as a paying customer for years because we know that when they didn't go insane with prices they sold out, held enough back for students, had a few for community programs and it was a good experience and made sense for all involved.
Now it's just the penguins spending all of their time trying to fool us that it's like it was 2 years ago so we are ok with price increases when in reality if they would have just down moderate increases it would have been fine and they would probably make more money selling all $120 tickets instead of not selling $200 tickets and resorting to selling them for $30 or whatever student rush is.
So please no more replies about becoming the pirates, needs for spending to the cap, why there are playoff cancels, and how cool student rush is. It's either be to avoid the reality or it's missing the point and I can't be more clear on why.