Demand & Interest for NHL Tickets is Up, So why the Opening Day Lures?

NHL teams did what they could to lure back their fans as the season opened Saturday – offers included discounts on food, merchandise, tickets and parking. But were these discounts necessary? Odds are the teams didn’t need to discount their product(s). Despite the lockout, NHL tickets on the secondary market are up in price this season and so is interest. 

According to the Globe and Mail less than 200 season-ticket holders are believed to have cancelled their tickets during the lockout – that amongst seven Canadian franchises. The Buffalo Sabres announced that it took them just one day to sell more than 31,000 of the remaining 80,000 tickets they had available for their 24 home games. 

The search for ‘NHL Tickets’ according to Google Trends skyrocketed January 6, the day a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. In comparison, the week before the start of the 2011-2012 regular season, Google searches for ‘NHL Tickets’ was only about 40% of what it was the week of January 6-12, 2013. 

NHL Ticket Trends 2013

NHL Tickets 

Image Credit: Dueling Couches

The average NHL ticket is up 8.5% from the 2011-2012 season- the average NHL ticket for the 2011-2012 season was $124; 2012-2013 season is $138. Twenty-one (21) of the thirty (30) NHL teams have seen an increase in their average ticket price. The five teams who have seen the largest percentage increase in price are: Tampa Bay Lightning (206%), Winnipeg Jets (83%), St. Louis Blues (72%), Edmonton Oilers (56%) and Phoenix Coyotes (46%). The five teams who have seen the greatest percentage decrease in price are: Philadelphia Flyers (-54%), Vancouver Canucks (-35%), Colorado Avalanche (-34%), Montreal Canadiens (-28%) and Anaheim Ducks (-16%).   

NHL Team                          2011-2012        2012-2013      
Anaheim Ducks $47.19 $39.72 -15.84%
Boston Bruins $168.93 $214.54 27.00%
Buffalo Sabres $125.55 $121.80 -2.99%
Calgary Flames $113.00 $156.63 38.61%
Carolina Hurricanes $53.17 $65.13 22.48%
Chicago Blackhawks $154.07 $163.21 5.93%
Colorado Avalanche $79.33 $52.77 -33.49%
Columbus Blue Jackets $63.74 $72.79 14.20%
Dallas Stars $97.21 $104.63 7.62%
Detroit Red Wings $73.27 $70.07 -4.37%
Edmonton Oilers $114.76 $178.78 55.80%
Florida Panthers $58.80 $59.80 1.71%
Los Angeles Kings $89.14 $93.83 5.26%
Minnesota Wild $76.03 $110.75 45.66%
Montreal Canadiens $278.25 $201.31 -27.65%
Nashville Predators $64.67 $77.23 19.42%
New Jersey Devils $85.79 $96.87 12.92%
New York Islanders $128.04 $143.66 12.20%
New York Rangers $205.80 $211.81 2.92%
Ottawa Senators $72.73 $89.18 22.62%
Philadelphia Flyers $236.53 $108.13 -54.28%
Phoenix Coyotes $43.48 $63.55 46.17%
Pittsburgh Penguins $202.13 $187.96 -7.01%
San Jose Sharks $115.40 $112.72 -2.32%
St. Louis Blues $83.21 $143.38 72.32%
Tampa Bay Lightning $64.62 $197.43 205.52%
Toronto Maple Leafs $312.93 $331.93 6.07%
Vancouver Canucks $292.29 $190.73 -34.75%
Washington Capitals $124.97 $131.67 5.36%
Winnipeg Jets $186.48 $341.92 83.36%

Contributing to an increase in ticket prices is the fact that home schedules this season include all Conference games- no East-West matchups and a large percentage of Divisional games. Less games means less number of tickets available during the season. The limited supply alone is going to drive up cost. 

Season ticket holders have proven loyal through the lockout. So, what about individual game purchases- how are ticket sales looking on a per game basis? We took a look at prices for key Divisional matchups in 2011-2012 vs. 2012-2013 to see if prices for individual games were up this season. We found that five of the six Divisional matchups are more expensive this season compared to last season.

NHL Tickets 2013 Divisional Games

NHL Infographic

The following infographic takes a deeper look at NHL ticket prices this season. Seventeen (17) of the thirty (30) NHL teams have a home ticket price lower than the average League price ($138). Not listed, the cheapest NHL game this season – Phoenix Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks on April 27, averaging just $18 per ticket. To note, Los Angeles Kings tickets for last year’s Stanley Cup Champions are averaging $98 per ticket on the secondary market – $40 less than the League average.     

NHL Infographic


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