According to Mike Johnston from Sportsnet.ca, the Toronto Maple Leafs will raise their playoff ticket prices by 75%. Yes, you read that right, almost doubling their average ticket prices. Is this embarrassing for the Maple Leafs or is it a brilliant move on their behalf?
The Leafs are rated as the most valuable NHL franchise according to Forbes Magazine that valued the Leafs at $1 billion dollars. Throw in the fact that the team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2004 and it’s obvious the organization is taking advantage of the postseason hockey.
But 75%? Wait just a minute. Johnston captures the financial figures in his article and notes that the average Leafs ticket during the regular season is $124.69, the highest in the NHL. Add 75% of that on top and suddenly the average playoff ticket is $218.20.
Johnston compares that to the New York Islanders where the highest ticket available for their first round is $234. The Montreal Canadiens increased their playoff tickets by 59% which is also a little on the high side, but it’s still a far cry from the 75% that the Leafs figured was appropriate.
It does come down to the old supply and demand and given that only a small number of tickets will be made available to the public, throw in the lack of playoff hockey in the city of Toronto, it’s easy to see fans paying this ridiculous price. It’s probably safe to say there would be a waiting list a mile long from Leafs fans if they were to take orders.
But that doesn’t make it right. Rather, it’s embarrassing for the Maple Leafs. Johnston notes that Leafs fans are upset with MLSE and it’s easy to understand why when the organization gouges their fan base like this.
Imagine a middle income family living in the suburbs and the father would like to take his young boy, who’s a die-hard Leafs fans to his first playoff game. After tickets and parking you’re looking at close to $500. I don’t think so.
The game has gone corporate and I understand that given it’s those dollars that keep the teams in these towns, especially small markets like Winnipeg and Edmonton. But when the Leafs sell out every game during the regular season and given their high volume of season ticket holders, why not cut the general public a break and have a modest price increase for the playoffs.
Imagine what would happen if the Leafs win the first round? What will happen to their playoff ticket prices then? Will they flat out triple from the regular season?
Johnston finishes his article by noting that Stub Hub already has individual Leafs tickets listed a whopping $8,500. I guess making the playoffs for the first time in nearly ten years justifies the team grabbing as much profit as they can. Are they worried it’ll be another decade before the Leafs return to the postseason? Shame on you MLSE.