Monday, April 23, 2012

No discounts for loyalty: in move to Brooklyn, the cost of tickets for the Nets rises two to four times (in some cases)

Tonight is the Nets' last game in New Jersey, and amid the numerous articles that recount the highs and lows of the era, there are a few nuggets. From the Times:
Mr. [Paul] Zarrillo, who spent two years on the Fan Advisory Board, said his season tickets went from $29 a game to $115 in Brooklyn. Another fan said he decided not to renew his season tickets after the price spiked from $1,600 for a 21-game package in Newark to $10,000 for a 41-game package in Brooklyn. No discounts for loyalty. Or for gas and tolls.
From the Star-Ledger:
Alfonso Cottle of Somerset said that over the last two seasons, he and his brother, Christopher, had spent roughly $2,500 on a half-season ticket plan. He said the same arrangement would cost them about $10,000 in Brooklyn
If, as Bruce Ratner said last year, the Barclays Center is "largely about the children and youth of Brooklyn," then why is the arena larded with sponsorships, full of luxury suites, and the ticket prices so high?

It's a business, man.

Let's do a little more price comparison. It's impossible from the charts below to figure out the full extent of the change, though I'm sure that will emerge eventually. But the shift to a new building in a hotter market, from a temporary stop in a moribund market, means a dramatic change--and not just in the number of suites.

Vaulting prices

Let's start with the Barclays Center. The brown sections in the first graphic below (03, 13, 19, 29) rise at an angle from the four corners of the court: the full season tickets range from $115 to $150 per game. (Click on graphics to enlarge.)

In the current season, at the Prudential Center in Newark (second graphic), the equivalent section is in red (5, 11, 18, 22): the full season tickets cost $55 per game. That's a jump of two and nearly three times.

Look at the seats in green behind the east end of the Barclays Center (15, 16, 17). They cost $99 each, albeit with complimentary food. Seats in the equivalent section at the Prudential Center, also in green, go for $27. That's a jump of nearly four times--or probably three, if you factor in the food.

Keep in mind that, as of 2007,  the “blended average ticket price” was to rise 73% for regular-season games, from $74.98 to $129.72. The increase is likely greater.

Some deterred

The impact, as the Record reported yesterday, is to deter some longtime fans, while, presumably, attracting new ones:
[Brett] Yormark, the current team president, insists that the franchise would like to maintain ties with its longtime New Jersey fans. But he concedes that the daunting task of crossing two rivers to get to Brooklyn may limit many to at best weekend-game packages.
And if the traffic-snarled commute isn’t enough to keep those fans away, the Big Apple-sized season ticket prices might.
“I was quite surprised when I saw the initial renewal package [for the 2012-13 season],” said [Richie] Escobinas, of Clifton. “...I’ve invested 35 years out of my life into this, and as much as I’d like to follow them out to Brooklyn, financially it’s going to be tough.”
Note that the lowest price in the new arena is $15, only a 50% rise from the lowest price in the current venue: $10. That said, the Nets have given away or discounted a large number of seats, and they've been available for pennies on StubHub.

We'll see if that continues--I suspect that the novelty of the Nets will fill the arena with paying customers, at least in the first year, and after that, it will depend significantly on the quality of the team. But it will be much, much easier to paper the house.

Nets season tickets in 2012-13 (via Darren Rovell)


Nets 2011-12 season tickets


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