The above is a screenshot of the Google News headlines if you type in “maple leafs premium pricing”, as it appears to be a story that has consumed much of the mainstream Barilkosphere today (the Bozakosphere?) because it’s impossibly easy to sell a story by convincing the public that a large, evil corporation like MLSE is gouging consumers.
For instance, a seat in the “green” price point could range from $90 (Regular) to $125 (Super Premium) depending on who the Leafs play.
In 2011-2012, a seat in the “green” prince point could range from $95 (Regular) to $110 (Premium) depending on who the Leafs played. All the Leafs have done is split games from two tiered categories into five tiers, and the lowest tier of tickets appears to be costing less in the greens.
We’ll get it out of the way and point out that the Maple Leafs could make far more dollars if they charged what people are willing to pay on the resale market. Cathal Kelly noted that the tickets jumped from $180 to $450 face value to $315 to $800 on the resale market last postseason. People seemed to complain that there was a high demand for the tickets, thus boosting prices.
The “dynamic pricing” for all its 21st century business school-sounding words isn’t actually a new thing. The Leafs charged more for premium games in 2012 than regular games and they charged more for playoff games in 2013 than they did for regular season games.
As Sports on Earth’s Patrick Hruby noted on Twitter during an online takedown of a silly column written elsewhere, the “end of baseball reserve clause and escalating salaries in other sports have not made them less popular”. Nor has increased ticket prices. While Joe the Tim Hortons manager and his wife Peggy may be priced out of the market, if there were tickets available that fit their budget they still have to compete with an outrageous demand for tickets in Toronto.
It’s tough to find any data on how much a scalper can make selling a seat, but the resale market is booming. The Maple Leafs are a popular team and what they charge for a ticket is completely unrelated to increases in salaries or other revenues. They will simply charge what they can and will do so until people stop buying the tickets.
Based on the tens of thousands of people that trekked downtown for the playoffs last year in Maple Leaf Square, I have to think that demand for tickets and live games is still very, very high. Some seats will cost less (for games against Columbus or whomever) than they did in 2011-2012, and some will cost more. Dynamic pricing isn’t new, no matter what news organizations are trying to tell you today.