BUFFALO — Perhaps it should be expected that the season after a Stanley Cup Final run comes with a price increase.
So maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise the Bruins announced on Wednesday — the day they returned from the two-plus-week Olympic break — they are hiking season ticket prices for the 2014-15 season.
“We want to make sure that we put the best product on the ice, that’s the No. 1,” said Glen Thornborough, the Bruins’ senior vice president of sales. “We want to make sure that our fans are happy every time they walk into this building and watch the Bruins perform. I think the hockey side has done a tremendous job of doing that and we believe that we really are going to be at the same level as our competition or our peers in like markets. I think that’s really the direction we’re going, and we really are not in a place where we’re at the top of the league in pricing, by a long shot.”
Under the new price structure, loge seats will cost $88 to $145 and balcony seats $45 to $98. This season, those tickets cost $70 to $132 for loge and $32 to $91 for balcony.
The price changes are even more dramatic when viewed through the prism of the last five years. Back in 2010-11, the season the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, prices ranged from $59 to $101 for loge and $18 to $65 for balcony.
That means the least-expensive tickets — those $18 balcony seats — have increased 150 percent over the last five years. Other prices have gone up by 40 to 50 percent in that period.
Thornborough said factors that typically go into the team’s decision about whether to increase prices include team performance, market demand, prices charged by other NHL franchises, and amenities provided to the ticket-holders. Plus, the team has a waiting list for season tickets of more than 5,000.
“Right now we’re probably in the 10, 12th as far as an average ticket price in the National Hockey League,” Thornborough said. “We believe that we put out a very, very competitive product on the ice, obviously, an elite product on the ice on our team performance. We feel our game presentation is as good as any. Our amenities are very, very strong.
“So, we are just trying to get to a place where it’s close to our like markets. We believe that we sit at an elite level where it comes to our whole operation when it comes to presentation and our product, and that is really just a correction of where we’re at today.”
Thornborough added, “The price the season ticket-holders enjoy right now up against the box office price, the difference between those two prices we lead the league in, so our season ticket-holder base we feel has a tremendous value up against the box office pricing.”
Ultimately, though, the Bruins felt they could raise prices based on performance, which has been extremely good in recent years.
So, as Thornborough said, “we’re trying to get to a place where not only our product on the ice is at the top of the league, but also our business operations, as well.”