Back in the year 2008, it seems like it was such a long time ago, the Blackhawks were a completely different team on the upswing of a rebuilding curve that started with drafting Jonathan Toews(06) and Patrick Kane(07) in the NHL Entry Draft. Hockey was slowly creeping back into the United Center and the people of Chicago were finally getting excited about the product that was put on the ice by the Blackhawks organization.
However, with excitement comes the inflation of ticket prices. Let’s take a look at how quickly the prices went up, starting with the 2008 season.
’08-’09 Ticket Prices
Ahhhh memories… Remember back in the good ol’ days when you could go to the Hawks game and get yourself a cheap seat, buy yourself beer all night, and still pay less than you do now for the ticket alone?
Yes, that was back in 2008 when the Blackhawks were on the cusp of greatness and people actually started watching them on T.V., and in turn, going to the games because of the product on the ice. Tickets were as low as $15 and you could get season tickets for $660. Don’t you wish you jumped on that deal at the time?
’09-’10 Ticket Prices
With the steady increase of fans from the 2008 season, Chairman Rocky Wirtz and the Blackhawks organization decided to freeze the ticket prices where they were, and not have them increase for the 2009 season.
“We are incredibly grateful of this support and recognize that during these challenging times, we are acting in the best interests of our fans and our community by keeping our season ticket prices flat for the 2009-10 season. With a solid record for the current season, contention for playoff play and a team of young stars, the Chicago Blackhawks are well-positioned to be a force in Chicagoland professional sports for many years to come. With much gratitude to all of our fans, we look forward to providing an exciting and winning tradition well into the future.”
Unfortunately, those prices didn’t last long, and the beginning of the skyrocketing ticket price era had started.
’10-’11 Ticket Prices
Now you get into a situation where the Blackhawks have just won their first Stanley Cup in 49 years and to the Blackhawks organization that means $$$$. At the start of the season the average ticket price for a Blackhawks game was $140.78 and it stayed around the same amount of money throughout the whole season.
’11-’12 Ticket Prices
The Hawks did well the previous year, but they didn’t win the Stanley Cup and they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Vancouver Canucks (Thanks Chris Campoli). Yet, the average ticket prices jumped yet again to an average of $191.83.
’12-’13 Ticket Prices
in 2012-2013 the prices had a slight increase to $199.33. Only around a $7 jump from the previous year, but this was also the year of the lockout when the NHL was in extreme danger of not having a season at all. When approached about the raising of ticket prices in 2012, Chris Warner- Vice President of ticket operations and customer relations for the Blackhawks issued a statement.
“One of the challenges with our prices, as recently as 2007 ours were the second lowest in the league, ” said Werner. “Ownership and management have put resources in to the team and we’ve had to make adjustments to the ticket prices as well. So many great things have been updated, and this is one of the things that needed to be updated.”
The lockout didn’t hurt many teams’ ticket sales, especially those who were already in established hockey markets. The same is true for the Blackhawks, and demand for tickets continues.
“We have great fans. The renewal rate on season tickets has been 99 percent over the last several seasons and we anticipate that happening again, ” Werner said. “We realize we’re lucky. That’s why we want to be sensitive to pricing. We also offer 21- and 9-game packages — we try to give fans different methods to get in — and group and single-game tickets. We want to have something for everybody, so there’s a price option that fits with what they can spend.”
’13-’14 Ticket Prices
Below is the chart stating the price differences between the 2012-2013 season, and the 2013-2014 season.
According to Tiq IQ, the average ticket price at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season was $316.94, a HUGE difference from the $199.33 the season before. The Blackhawks were coming off their second Stanley Cup in four years, and the team was the better than ever after going undefeated in regulation time for an NHL-record 24 games of the season. The entire team was clicking and the city of Chicago was on Cloud Nine. However, towards the end of the season, the Blackhawks ticket prices surprisingly went back down. The average ticket price ended the season at $234.43.
’14-’15 Ticket Prices
The Blackhawks had a renewal rate of more than 99 percent after last season after raising season-ticket prices by an average of 16 percent. At the start of this season, the average ticket price was $279.60.
Season-ticket prices for the current season include $18, 040 ($410 a game) for 100-level platinum seats, $8, 140 ($185) for 100-level prime seats, $6, 160 ($140) for 100-level seats, $6, 500 which includes a $1, 000 annual premium ($125) for 200-level prime seats, $5, 840 which includes a $1, 000 annual premium ($110) for 200-level seats, $3, 470 ($85) for 300-level Tier 1 seats, $2, 869 ($65) for 300-level Tier 2 seats and $1, 848 ($42) for 300-level Tier 3 seats.
According to ESPN’s Scott Powers, Season-ticket holders receive a discount over single-game buyers. The savings range from 25 percent for tickets on the glass to 49 percent for 300-level Tier 3 tickets.
At the start of the season, the Blackhawks have had capacity crowds at the United Center for their last 261 games, which includes 223 regular-season games and 38 playoff games, dating to the 2007-2008 season. The Blackhawks had an average attendance of 21, 674 in 34 games at the United Center last season and their capacity is 20, 500. That’s a whole lot of people that are willing to stand to watch the Blackhawks. (Literally)
Is it Worth it?
Could winning two Stanley Cup’s in four years warrant these ticket prices to skyrocket? Apparently, yes it can, and the great people of Chicago don’t care… At all. The Blackhawks have the hottest ticket in town, and the Blackhawks know it. The 40% price hike from 2012-2014 came seemingly like the fans didn’t care very much. If they keep putting a quality product on the ice, the people will come. There’s no telling how ticket prices are going to fluctuate over the next few years, but I’m willing to bet that they won’t be going down anytime soon.