Toronto Maple Leafs, the NHL ice hockey franchise, says it has increased season-ticket prices in a bid to beat scalpers.
The team’s season-ticket packages went on sale on Monday at an average price of around C$12 more than last season.
According to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) chief commercial officer David Hopkinson, the hike will impact those who sell tickets on the secondary market and ultimately have a positive impact on Maple Leafs fans.
Hopkinson believes the prices on secondary market tickets will not increase and therefore result in reduced profits for scalpers, which could mean more tickets being available to real fans.
“If we don’t price the tickets appropriately versus what the market is going to pay for them, guess what happens,” Hopkinson told the Toronto Star newspaper. “The tickets don’t get cheaper. Just other guys make the money…and that doesn’t help your hockey team. That doesn’t help us get better.”
According to the Star, the team projects that 99.6 per cent of current season ticket holders will renew for the 20,000-capacity Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Maple Leafs were recently ranked third on Forbes’ list of the most valuable NHL franchises, behind only the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.
In a further change also designed to deter scalpers, the Toronto Maple Leafs will change its billing cycle from eight months to 12 months with automatic renewals.
“There is a significant arbitrage here that we’ve got to try and close,” Hopkinson said. “Someone’s going to end up with the money, and we’d rather it’s not a guy in a parka.”