Moreover, the Sabres must have felt that the Habs should also share in the fun. A Friday night game featuring the Northeast Division Champs rounds out the 4 Platinum games on the schedule.
Overall, ticket prices went up by 12% (keeping up with the real rate of inflation), while Gold Games dropped by 15%. But, all of that can be gleaned from the link above, as that's what the Sabres wanted you to know. With a 97% renewal rate after a poor 2007-08 season and missing the playoffs they are still in a position to match demand with supply in the face of a ballooning player payroll. Looking at last season's price list the biggest jump is at the lowest price level, where the cheapest seats rose from $17 to $20 per game, an 17.6% marginal increase.
It's a good thing that the organization decided to market the team into southern Ontario, as that is where the strongest potential revenue growth would be possible. Since Golisano bought the team in 2002 the Canadian Dollar has appreciated vs. the Greenback by over 40%, making previous small markets in Edmonton and Calgary into relative powerhouses. The 6 Canadian Teams accounted for 31% of ticket revenue in 2007-08. If memory serves, the Sabres noted that last season Canadians made up around 20% of their season ticket base. With prices for Leafs games in the stratosphere and a rising Cando, it was only natural that someone else would be the beneficiary of the situation.
To me, these ticket prices are inevitable, from the rising price inflation in food, energy and medical costs, a rising labor market and rapid monetary growth rates, those franchises that are dependent on ticket sales to generate revenue are going to have to raise prices to stay even. I see the rise in the salary cap in recent years as less of an expansion of the NHL's reach and more a reflection of the Fed's loose monetary policy (for those that forgot, this stuff is my 'other hobby'), the rise in Loonie being one aspect of it. It will be very interesting to see how long this rise in revenues (but not in real, inflation-adjusted terms) can be sustained in the face of a coming US depression brought on by a systemic failure of the banking system.
For a team that reportedly spent over 75% of its revenues last season on 'player costs' in a CBA designed to have that number be between 54 and 56%, do you see any other choice for them? But, oh yeah, they're cheap and Golisano is a modern-day Robber Baron. I forgot about that part.