NHL is risking a widespread exodus if it keeps raising prices
During the lockout, Gary Bettman talked about fighting to keep ticket prices affordable. But the recent spate of increases indicates the same old cash-grab approach is back, writes Terry Frei.
DENVER -- This year, when NHL teams informed season-ticket holders about the terms of their potential renewals for the 2008-09 season, the letters often broke news of price increases -- but with so much spin control between the lines, fans could get dizzy as they read.Granted, ticket-price increases are right up there on the shock meter with another young movie star entering rehab. But wasn't it supposed to be different under the salary-cap system that commissioner Gary Bettman and league owners shut down the league for a year to get? Citing the outrageous ticket prices, didn't the league at least imply that it also was fighting for the fans, too, as it took on the NHLPA? At the 2004 All-Star Game, Bettman was asked if he really had said teams selling out would drop their ticket prices if the league attained its coveted "cost certainty." "What I said was it varies from market to market," he responded. "The one thing that would not be sensible to do is lower your ticket prices to enrich scalpers. That doesn't make any sense. But the fact of the matter is, more than a majority of our teams would use the opportunity of economic stability to lower their ticket prices." That didn't happen.