EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 27, 2009

Success comes at steep price for Bruins fans

Bruins hold line on returning season tickets, new season-ticket holders pay much more

On Hockey

Now that the Bruins are relevant again on the Boston sports landscape, fans will have to pay a premium to enter the TD Garden this winter.

That is, unless you're a longtime supporter.

Bruins individual-ticket prices skyrocketed approximately 50 percent after a season in which the club finished first in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

The majority of the season-ticket holders will not see an increase, according to Bruins Vice President of Sales and Marketing Amy Latimer. New season-ticket holders aren't so lucky. For example the $101.50 seats will be $137.50 for new season-ticket holders.

The only current season ticket buyers who will pay more this year than last are those in the front row and in the center ice loge sections.

"It's all part of our overall strategy," said Latimer. "Our top priority is our season-ticket holders. Because of the economy, our prices for almost all of our season-ticket holders have held the same. The team performed well, but we made it a priority to make sure that our current season-ticket holders would remain with us."

And to the Bruins' credit, that's the way it should be. While newcomers will have to shell out big bucks for Boston's newest contender, the people who have been there through the tiresome and lengthy down years deserve a break.

After last season's success, the Bruins received a tremendous spike in season ticket sales, nearing 5,000 new orders since February, said Latimer. The team is within a few hundred of its self-imposed 13,000-seat cap on season tickets.

The new season-ticket holders will be paying a different price than last year's renewals and a diminished supply of individual tickets translated to a spike in those prices.

"After our season tickets are sold, that sets the market for our individual games," Latimer said. "We had so few seats to sell to the general public, only about 2,000 per game (after group sales and other tickets held), that those prices went up. We had more demand than in the past and less supply.

"Our individual-ticket prices went up as much as they did in order to keep our season-ticket prices down. We couldn't have held our season-ticket prices without raising individual tickets."

The B's have also held the heavily discounted ticket prices in the Tufts Family Section (located in balcony section 326, rows 3-15), which consists of roughly 260 seats priced at $10 for children and $20 for adults as well as seats in the student section.

"Keeping those sections were extremely important to our ownership," Latimer said. "We could have dismantled the family and student sections in order to sell those tickets at higher prices but we didn't."

Last season, the Bruins' average ticket price (season tickets and individual tickets) was fourth highest in the league behind Toronto ($76.15), Montreal ($64.26) and Vancouver ($62.05). Boston's average was $61.40.

But, according to the Team Market Report, the publication that annually compiles the averages, while the Bruins' $61.40 was fourth highest in the league last season, their $88.93 average for premium seats were well below the league average, which was $113.94.

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It's all about the Benjamins

To attend any major sports event, you'll pay a premium. If you can't afford the premium seats and don't want to sit in the nosebleed sections, you could be paying top dollar, even for clubs' median (middle) tickets.

TeamMedian TicketHighest TicketLowest Ticket

Celtics$106.50$296.50$10

Patriots$103$169$65

Bruins$88.50$289.50$37.50

Red Sox$50$125$26

Blazers$27.50$45$9

Revolution$20$40$20

Breakers$18$25$13

Cannons$17.50$25.$15

Fisher Cats$10$12$6

Spinners$7$8$5

*Prices do not include promotional family/student sections. If team utilizes tiered pricing, numbers were taken from the higher price. Lowest ticket indicates lowest seat, not standing room.