NHL Tickets 2013-14: Prices, Changes, and Deals

nhl-infographic-2013-14Following Monday’s Chicago Blackhawks single-game ticket on-sale for the 2013-14 regular season, we took a look at how NHL tickets were shaping on the secondary market. The biggest change this off-season in the NHL schedule is the realignment of teams which we found, can be a contributor in the change of a team’s ticket prices. For example, Detroit Red Wings tickets prices are up 65% since last year. While some of that can be attributed to their Western Conference Semifinals appearance and the additions of Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson to the roster, a percentage is also a result of the realignment. The Red Wings will now play in the same Division as three other Original Six teams; rivalries against the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs should resurface. To note, the Bruins and Maple Leafs are two of the top 4 most expensive road teams.

Chicago Blackhawks tickets saw the biggest jump in price since last season. The 136% bump proves that winning is the best marketing tool; demand for tickets on the secondary market has skyrocketed. The defending Stanley Cup Champions host a number of marquee matches including an outdoor game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field which is averaging $833, about double the cost of any other outdoor game this season. In the second most expensive game at the United Center, the Hawks will matchup against former Western Conference rival Detroit Red Wings. We can only assume that the Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference has affected ticket prices for this game as well. The two teams will face each other less during the regular season (shortage in supply) which results in higher demand for tickets. Had Chicago not gone deep into the playoffs, the most expensive games on the Blackhawks schedule would not be as highly priced or drive interest in the way that they are. The third most expensive game at the United Center will be the home opener against the Washington Capitals for the rising of the Stanley Cup banner. Chicago Blackhawks tickets to the October 1 matchup are averaging $480. With that, the next costliest game is the January 19 matchup against the Boston Bruins in a Stanley Cup Finals rematch averaging $471. Now the most expensive team in the League, fans are still willing to buy Hawks tickets at an average of $171 more than last year because the franchise is putting a winning product out on the ice, something Blackhawks fans find value in.

In general, the top 5 most expensive NHL teams last year only moved a couple of spots in the rankings. Last year, the most expensive teams in the League were the Toronto Maple Leafs (avg. $354), Winnipeg Jets (avg. $288), Vancouver Canucks (avg. $257), Boston Bruins (avg. $236), and Montreal Canadiens (avg. $209). In 2013, the top 5 most expensive home teams are Chicago Blackhawks (avg. $393), Toronto Maple Leafs (avg. $367), Edmonton Oilers (avg. $337), Vancouver Canucks (avg. $289), and Winnipeg Jets (avg. $277). The Montreal Canadiens fell to the number six spot. When looking at the average price of all 30 teams, ticket prices in the NHL have increased $39 on average per from $119 (2012) to $158 (2013). The increase comes in spite of the fact that every game played in the shortened season last year was a Conference game. Interest however is up for the Olympics season without a NHL lockout looming, six outdoor games, top inter-conference matchups, and a new division makeup.

Like last year, Anaheim Ducks tickets are the cheapest in the League. Ducks fans are paying an average of 56% more per ticket this season compared to last; but even with a $25 increase per ticket, Anaheim still claims the most inexpensive ticket in the NHL just under Colorado Avalanche tickets which are averaging $73.

Only four teams saw a decrease in average ticket price on the secondary market since last year. The largest fall was St. Louis Blues tickets at -11%. Last year the Blues entered the season as the 15th most expensive team – right around the League’s average price. This year, St. Louis ticket prices fell 11 spots and the team is now the 5th cheapest in the League despite a playoff berth last season. The Blues were 2nd in the NHL Central Division to the Blackhawks and finished the 2013 shortened season at 29-17-2. Although the Blues are not a flashy offensive team, it’s surprising that with a good run last year and an expected playoff berth this year – the Blues saw a fall in price. The only factor that I can imagine is affecting prices at Scottrade Center is the new makeup of the Central Division. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets have left the West for the East; the Red Wings are the second most expensive road team this season. Aside from the Colorado Avalanche, each of the other additions to the Central Division – Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets – all have a cheaper road ticket than the League average.

As surprised as we were to see a fall in St. Louis Blues ticket prices, we were equally perplexed at the 92% increase in Edmonton Oilers tickets. The Oilers saw the second largest increase in dollar amount of any team in the League at +$162 per ticket. The Oilers have missed the NHL Playoffs seven straight seasons. Are fans optimistic with the recent signing of hometown defenceman Andrew Ference? Is there hope with new GM (and former head coach) Craig MacTavish? Is excitement building with the approved new Stadium coming in 2016? Your hypothesis is as good as mine on this one.

In our opinion, the three biggest acquisitions this off-season were David Clarkson (Leafs), Tyler Seguin (Stars), and Nathan Horton (Blue Jackets). While Toronto Maple Leafs tickets saw just a 3% increase, both Dallas Stars tickets and Columbus Blue Jackets tickets rose over 30%. Neither the Stars nor the Blue Jackets made the Playoffs last season. The Blue Jackets did however move to the Eastern Conference with the Detroit Red Wings which also contributed to the significant increase and yet Columbus remains one of the cheapest teams in the League.

So which NHL fans are getting the best deal? In my opinion it’s the Boston Bruins. The storied program added 6-time NHL All-Star Jarome Iginla to its roster, reached the Stanley Cup Finals last year, added the Red Wings to their Division, and yet Boston Bruins tickets have dropped in price. Yes, the team lost Sequin to the Dallas Stars, but the product –this franchise – is still at the top of its class. Last year, the Bruins entered the season as the fourth most expensive franchise in the League; this year the 2013 Boston Bruins are ninth. Do you disagree? We want to hear from you. Tell us in the comments below if you think there is a better deal out there!

NHL Tickets 2013-14 (Avg.) 2012-13 (Avg.) 2012-13 rank 2013-14 rank Ranking Change
Anaheim Ducks $71.01 $45.38 30 30 NONE 56.49%
Boston Bruins $228.23 $236.28 4 9 v 5 -3.41%
Buffalo Sabres $152.53 $133.73 10 16 v 6 14.06%
Calgary Flames $221.81 $124.47 11 10 ^ 1 78.21%
Carolina Hurricanes $98.69 $65.24 25 25 NONE 51.28%
Chicago Blackhawks $393.48 $166.61 9 1 ^ 8 136.17%
Colorado Avalanche $72.84 $56.12 28 29 v 1 29.80%
Columbus Blue Jackets $81.61 $62.77 26 28 v 2 30.02%
Dallas Stars $130.56 $97.97 21 19 ^ 2 33.27%
Detroit Red Wings $137.59 $83.22 23 17 ^ 6 65.33%
Edmonton Oilers $336.88 $174.97 8 3 ^ 5 92.54%
Florida Panthers $119.17 $60.45 27 21 ^ 6 97.14%
Los Angeles Kings $164.00 $99.44 20 13 ^ 7 64.92%
Minnesota Wild $191.54 $109.50 16 11 ^ 5 74.92%
Montreal Canadiens $252.49 $208.80 5 6 v 1 20.92%
Nashville Predators $102.91 $70.89 24 24 NONE 45.16%
New Jersey Devils $163.85 $86.73 22 14 ^ 8 88.93%
New York Islanders $131.96 $114.13 14 18 v 4 15.62%
New York Rangers $234.13 $195.75 6 8 v 2 19.61%
Ottawa Senators $160.72 $103.14 18 15 ^ 3 55.82%
Philadelphia Flyers $126.71 $108.95 17 20 v 3 16.31%
Phoenix Coyotes $96.86 $49.64 29 27 ^ 2 95.11%
Pittsburgh Penguins $242.51 $185.53 7 7 NONE 30.71%
San Jose Sharks $176.89 $119.53 12 12 NONE 47.98%
St. Louis Blues $98.48 $110.94 15 26 v 11 -11.23%
Tampa Bay Lightning $103.50 $102.07 19 23 v 4 1.40%
Toronto Maple Leafs $366.95 $353.74 1 2 v 1 3.73%
Vancouver Canucks $288.55 $257.09 3 4 v 1 12.24%
Washington Capitals $116.16 $119.06 13 22 v 9 -2.44%
Winnipeg Jets $276.62 $288.28 2 5 v 3 -4.05%
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