Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Time to Drop Coyotes Season Tickets?

Coyotes season tickets are too expensive with little benefit anymore. There I said and anyone in Canada I am sure would start to go on a diatribe of how much THEY would have to spend for season tickets. But its not the cost of a ticket that makes its value, but its worth as a ticket and thats the problem. You may be 3-4 times the amount for a ticket in Toronto, but then you can also sell that ticket for 4-6 times that amount too. And herein lies the problem.

There is essentially 3 reasons to get season tickets.

1. Cost - Season tickets cost per game are less expensive than a regular face value for a ticket.
2. Guarantee - Guaranteed seat and guaranteed playoff seats.
3. Perks - this can be meet the team night, ice skate etc.

The problem I have been coming to none of these really apply to the coyotes anymore. And I ponder if this 5th year of owning season tickets will be my last, for now. Part of evaluating all this is also evaluating what would be the loss to drop season tickets for a few years and picking them up again later. The other part of the evaluation is I don't go to every game. There are 41 games a year and often 3-4 games in one week. Personally I also live on the opposite side of town so I often sell tickets not only to recoup costs but simply because I can't make every game.
So lets look at each of these.


This is a complex equation right here. While the Coyotes consistently have some of the lowest costs in the league per ticket, you still have to look at the cost per value and also price escalation. In addition the other factor to look at is if you decided to sell EVERY ticket would you come out ahead or behind. This can be a bit difficult to calculate because the coyotes scale there prices for the face value you pay the same for every game as a season ticket holder. So a ticket to the Penguins or Blackhawks on the weekend could easily cost 2 to 4 times the amount vs a ticket to the Panthers on a Tuesday. But in the end its a strong consideration to make as well as COULD you even sell your tickets for the face value at all.

Cost Increase

Lets first look at cost escalation when I first bought tickets for the Coyotes in 2012-13 season the cost was $45/seat plus free parking, the cost is now about $55/seat pluS $10 parking (if you buy it in advance) That represents a 33% increase in ticket cost in less than 5 years. Not sure about the rest of you but my salary has not gone up 33% in the last 5 years.
Keep in mind too what separates a market like Phoenix vs Edmonton as well is in Phoenix many of the season ticket holders are individuals whereas Edmonton you have a plethora of businesses who can absorb these costs more easily since they use tickets as perks and for sales teams.

Resale Cost

Resell represents what you can purchase tickets for on sites like Stubhub or Ticketexchange. These tickets are generally other season ticket holders reselling there tickets. The way this works is you list your tickets, they tack on a fee and then you get a portion of that money. With Ticketmaster Ticketexchange there is a fee on the front and back (meaning the price I list it for ISN'T what I am getting and you also pay an extra fee)
This year I routinely see tickets for sale for $30 for the lower level on Stubhub (including fees). This shows the value of tickets right now, very low. If you want upper level it can often be had for $10-12. In fact this year if you just like to watch hockey its probably the best time to start watching and take the family during the week. But this means much of MY ability to resell has diminished and I often have to take a loss on a ticket.

Specials Cost

This is a tricky one and one the Coyotes do have direct control over. What they (and many teams) usually do is run promotions for mid week games against opponents that don't have large turnouts. Usually these promotions are sponsored by various companies. One example of which is there "Coors Light Special". This offer runs eight Thursdays a year and allows one to buy tickets for $5 CHEAPER than season ticket holder cost. This is a double whammy, for one you are spending MORE as a season ticket holder than they are, for another if you want to resell your ticket on Ticketexchange it becomes virtually impossible. In fact I can't even list my ticket below $50, and thats not including the fees the other party would pay. So for 8 games a year I cannot easily sell my tickets,  and I know others are going to the games cheaper than I paid. 
In addition there are other specials this year that I've seen that offer bonuses like food, or signed stick, etc that while would be more expensive than my tickets offer perks others may commit to for the price.
This essentially means the only tickets I've easily been able to sell this year in the resale market are for premium games. 


This can be self explanatory but having a team that hasn't made the playoffs in 5 years and the last two (and this one) a team that is no where near making the playoffs the perk of playoff tickets is meaningless. And without a team that looks like its in contention for at least 3 years. The value isn't there. 
In addition the other guarantee of keeping my seats (which are good) can be complicated. If you have first row upper level you know someone will pick them up if you leave. While my row is D and I would take the risk of not being able to get row D again, E and certainly F would be easy to pick up in the future. So the loss of seats is not as risky as it would be in other arenas.


One of the best values to season tickets can be the perks. When I first started attending the coyotes games the perks were amazing:

  • Free Parking
  • Extra tickets at my cost
  • Guarantee to receive the giveaway promotions
  • Holiday Skate
  • Season Ticket Autograph signing
The first 3 of these perks have gone away, and the last two have diminished over time.

Parking is an obvious one its free and now I have to pay. So thats a $400/year extra cost if you buy them all in advance or $15/game. Now the thing here is that if you show up early enough or want to walk a bit you can park for free by parking in the movie lot. So people who pay for this either really like the team or just want the easiest and quickest exit points from a game. My only real complaint (besides having to pay) is the lack of flexibility in the parking. They give us 41 vouchers per year ... but you can't use more than one per game. This would be more understandable if the parking lots were ever anywhere near full. But I believe given everything else there should be more flexibility h3ere.

My second point, the "extra tickets at cost", what this references for any game in the past one could buy extra tickets to a game at our cost ($55) for the amount of seats we have tickets for. Now they began to scale it depending on game. Part of the reasoning for this was because Coyotes fans would sell there tickets to big games, then buy an extra pair so they could attend. The Coyotes apparently wanted this to increase revenue, and while I understand the spirit of it, its another in a list of items that were giving less of a reason to be a season ticket member.

Guarantee on the "giveaways". Every year, and every team does this they have promotional nights. Usually a bobblehead or something. More often its limited to 5-10k people. The Diamondbacks seem to do this every week, Coyotes do it a few times a year. One of the annoying things is you have to get to the game early, and for the games that are on the weekdays this can be hard to make it to on time, often i get to the arena at puck drop. Well before they would always hold you at least 1 of the items. So if you couldn't make the game, sold your tickets, or were just late ... you were always guaranteed to get the bobblehead or whatever it is. This was an extremely nice perk for those of us who support the team soo often. This is now gone.

Whats made matters worse is the schedule of the giveaways now. They now seem to have the best giveaways on sellout type games (Penguins/Blackhawks). Which baffles my mind since again they sell out and there is no reason to have giveaways for those games. But on the other side since most of us take a loss on too many games its our own games to recoup some of that loss, but now the reward for loyal season ticket holder is no bobblehead or whatever.

All things end ... or diminish

The cost vs benefit is really dying to be a season ticket holder, at this point you are either one out of loyalty or because you really want to go to EVERY game and sit in the same spot every time. I still haven't decided what I will do for next year. I currently have 3 season tickets + parking. At the least I will cut back to two season tickets and never use the coyotes parking again. Even then it will depend on the cost increases for next year (because they shouldn't be any)

If any coyotes front office is reading this, I am not the only one who feels this way despite what you pretend to believe. Many of us can take a losing team because we understand rebuilding. But what we can't take is an ever increasing cost for season ticket holders vs an ever decreasing cost for the casual fan. The metrics don't work out. And if you want to keep me and many others like me there needs to be change. This doesn't mean I will stop being a Coyotes fan, all it means is I will be spending much less money on the Coyotes. 

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