Kraken will offer lower entry-level prices after “listening sessions” with fans
Inside the NHL
Two months after the end of the Kraken’s first season, the 2021-22 NHL playoffs also came to an end on Sunday with the Colorado Avalanche hoisting the Lord Stanley Cup.
The Avalanche winning their first Stanley Cup since 2001 was almost a foregone conclusion after the first two games of the best-of-seven Finals. Colorado showed too much energy for a two-time champion Tampa Bay Lightning team that looked exhausted at times in her third consecutive league appearance.
Still, Game 5 the Lightning won in Denver last week likely contributed to a huge boost in television ratings, with ABC averaging 4.6 million viewers and up 84% from coverage. by NBC from last year’s five-game finale.
So now that that’s done, local NHL fans can draw attention to the Kraken’s summer planning, which, in terms relative to the Lightning in the Cup Final, also saw its inaugural season close to seven months, but only decided two tough months in .
And unlike ABC viewers, the Kraken struggled to keep their fans tuned in until the end, on TV and in the stands. Team ticket sales executives heard it from both sides of the financial equation: some season ticket holders worried about their seat losing value on resale, while other fans complained that match tickets were too expensive for them to attend Kraken competitions.
The resale part will likely only be resolved by increasing local demand for tickets thanks to more wins by the team and – Kraken’s hope – the recent lifting of COVID-19 restrictions which saw home games postponed and the vaccination and masking mandates imposed on Climate Pledge Arena much of the season.
But when it comes to game ticket prices, the Kraken plans to offer more seats at $40 and under to broaden the team’s appeal.
Bill Chapin, senior vice president of sales and service at Kraken, said this week that the team has held monthly “listening sessions” with fan groups to find ways to improve across a wide spectrum. of ticketing areas. The relatively high introductory price just to “enter” the arena has long been a league-wide issue, with the NHL lacking the national and local television broadcast revenue earned within the NFL, the NBA and MLB.
To compensate, NHL ticket prices are among the highest of all sports. And the Krakens are no exception, making it harder to get new fans to buy even the cheapest seats.
“You know, we learned a lot in our first year,” Chapin said. “We have listened to our fans and thought a lot about how we want to share our tickets. Pricing tickets in such a way that our tickets are in good hands.”
The team sells approximately 1,500 to 1,800 seats for a single game for each contest. But this season, about a third of those seats will be sold in a cheaper $20 and $40 range from early July.
Since the discounted price of these upper-deck seats might prove easier to resell for a profit online, the Krakens want to make sure the tickets aren’t grabbed by brokers or bots. Fans will therefore need to register until July 5 for a “Verified Fan Pre-Sale” program run by the team’s partner Ticketmaster.
Verified Fan involves a fan registration process in which algorithms determine if that person has engaged in significant previous resale activity. The Kraken used technology starting in 2019 to weed out potential ticket brokers from their subscription list before putting those seats up for sale.
“We want to get the $40 and $20 tickets into the hands of the fans so they can enjoy this amazing game that we all love,” Chapin said. “And grow the hockey community and grow the fans who love the games. And grow fans who love the game and will learn to love it.
Where are all these cheaper seats coming from?
Well, the Kraken made $20 tickets available to community groups and youth hockey associations last season. And although Chapin said it was “very successful”, not all of the seats reserved for these groups were sold.
“In some cases, youth hockey doesn’t happen on a Wednesday night,” Chapin said. “So we would have to approach other community groups and organizations. And so we now know after a year how much we need.
And instead of sitting idle, hundreds of those seats per game will now be made available to the public at $20 and $40.
Again, this won’t solve all of the Kraken’s ticketing issues. As mentioned, some season ticket holders complain about the opposite of the equation – that seats they paid $300 for sold for only half that amount on resale exchanges on nights they couldn’t. attend matches themselves.
As mentioned, this is largely a “demand” issue resolved primarily by better Kraken play and arena conditions. One thing I noticed – and some fans gave me feedback – was that season tickets in the $100 and under range generally retained a lot of their online resale value.
So you couldn’t just go to StubHub and nab Kraken seats for $40 or less most nights. This would suggest that this new Kraken’s discounted plan might avoid competing too directly with season ticket holders who struggle to unload their own seats online.
And that the $20-$40 price range could really benefit a new subset of fans who feel games are overpriced.
We will see.
As for season ticket holders struggling to sell their unused seats online — which many do at some point, given there are 41 home dates — the Kraken are considering a partial solution. Early last year, the team explored setting up an online trading platform that would allow Kraken season ticket holders to trade and resell seats with each other. nights they cannot attend.
The team scrapped this plan before the season due to technology issues. These issues have apparently been resolved and the team hopes to announce something this summer.
Either way, for now, the “entry” price drop marks a first step towards changing some of the Kraken’s off-ice dynamics. And those planning to watch from the stands this season will no doubt have an eye on next week’s NHL Entry Draft and subsequent free agent period to see if any significant on-ice changes are in store as well.