Puck Daddy - NHL

The new Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index is out, in which the NHL's franchises are ranked by the average cost for an obese, materialistic family of four to attend a game. (Check out the .pdf for all the 2009 data and disclaimers.)

Team Marketing Report found that it would cost $585.57 for a family to attend a Toronto Maple Leafs game based on its combination of tickets, food, parking and swag; by far the highest-priced night at the rink in the NHL.

The Montreal Canadiens, at No. 2 in Fan Cost Index, were at $412.12 and were the only other NHL team over the $400 mark. Keep in mind these figures were computed using "general seating tickets" and not the premium seats.

From TMR, a few nuggets of information about this year's report:

The average premium ticket is $118.63. The average percentage of season-ticket-eligible seating classified as premium is 19.9 percent, according to TMR research. Three teams, Detroit (71.4 percent), Colorado (52.4) Dallas (51.4) have more than half of their season seating classified as premium. Detroit's premium average is $60.89, Colorado's $119.33 and Dallas' is $115.28.

The poor economy has forced professional sports team to re-think major price increases, and the NHL is no different. This year saw a dramatic turn from recent NHL FCI surveys. In the three seasons since the league's return from a locked-out season, average tickets rose 3.7 percent (2006-07), 7.7 percent (2007-08) and 5.1 percent (2008-09). In the 2005-06 season, the league dropped prices by 7.5 percent, with 22 teams decreasing prices.

According to TMR, there are 11 NHL teams that decided the "poor economy" wasn't a good enough reasons to flat-line or decrease ticket prices. Who are the price-hikers for the 2009-10 season?

Via Team Marketing Report, here are the average ticket prices (and percentage change from 2008) for the NHL; defined as a "weighted average of season ticket prices for general seating categories, determined by factoring the tickets in each price range as a percentage of the total number of seats in each stadium."

Wow, that's a lot of words. The list:

The hikers: Toronto Maple Leafs (10.2%), Montreal Canadiens (5%), New York Rangers (7.1%), Edmonton Oilers (3%), Chicago Blackhawks (2.2%; TMR says the Hawks actually didn't increase tickets, but "their percentage change was affected by the rescaling of some seat sections."); New York Islanders (5.4%); Ottawa Senators (1%); Pittsburgh Penguins (8%); Washington Capitals (7.4%); Nashville Predators (2.4%); and the St. Louis Blues (4.2%).

Again, it's according to Team Marketing Report. At this juncture, we must point you to Colorado Avalanche blogger Tapeleg's anti-TMR manifesto on Jerseys and Hockey Love from two years ago.

His points are well-taken: The Dallas Stars, for example, allegedly have the cheapest ticket in the NHL on average ($35.66), but how does the team's new variable pricing system affect that average when ticket values can rise or fall based on algorithms in a computer?

What about ticket deals throughout the season? The Nashville Predators, according to TMR, have raised their average ticket prices by over 2 percent. Does that include the new Day of Game ticket offer that has 100 seats for $10 each, the "lowest price ticket the Predators have offered since its inaugural season"?

What about the popular college-night discounts we've seen around U.S. cities, like the one in which the attendance-challenged New Jersey Devils take $20 off the price of a mezzanine seat?

It's not a perfect science, but it's one publication's snapshot of the financial state of NHL fandom; as well as a reminder that a family of four Phoenix Coyotes fans that buy "two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least-expensive, adult-size adjustable caps" are spending $221.80.

In other words, only about $92 more than the average premium ticker holder ($129.23) is spending for one seat at the game -- and no hot dogs.

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