Paying the NHL piper
Kirk Penton, Winnipeg Sun
|Winnipeg fans better be prepared to pay dearly to watch NHL hockey.
Not sure if you’ve heard this or not, but the NHL is close to coming back to Winnipeg.
When that day finally happens, it will be time for hockey fans who have been pining for the return of the world’s top hockey league to empty their piggy banks once again.
Unlike 1996, however, there better be paper and plastic coming out instead of coins.
Earlier this year the Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen took a closer look at ticket prices in Calgary and Edmonton, the two NHL cities most comparable to Winnipeg.
The choices appear to be plentiful and for a wide range of incomes.
To be clear, the following numbers are not for MTS Centre; it’s simply a gauge. Since the downtown Winnipeg rink would be the smallest in the NHL, there’s a chance its seats will cost more than in other comparable markets in an effort to make up the difference.
Let’s assume, for a second, you don’t have enough spare change lying around to fork over close to $200,000 for a suite at MTS Centre and will instead settle for a plain old seat.
If you decide to go close to the ice it appears you’ll have more decisions to make once you get down there, because teams usually charge depending on the opponent. Prices in the lower bowl at Edmonton’s Rexall Place this past season ranged from $130 to $251 per game at the door.
The worst seat in Edmonton, which is actually standing room only, cost $37.50 per game at the door. If you wanted to sit in the last row of the upper bowl it was $43. The best seat up high was $95 per match.
Looking at Edmonton’s 2009-10 prices, a season ticket in the lower bowl ranged from $4,300 behind the net to $7,100 along the side. That works out to between $105 and $173 per contest.
Down the road in Calgary, lower-bowl seats at the Saddledome ranged from $151 to $235 per game, but between $107 and $162 if you purchased them for the entire season.
The best seat in the upper bowl was $94 per game as a season ticket, while the worst was $20.
There are reports True North will be looking for a multiyear commitment from ticket buyers to prove Winnipeg is a viable NHL market.
Multiply the best lower-bowl seats in Edmonton by three, and you’re looking at a $21,000 price tag. The same seat in Calgary is a little less.
If you just want to get in the building, you can do so in Calgary for less than $1,000 a season.
Food for thought as the NHL inches closer to River City.