Leafs raise ticket prices

SUN MEDIA STAFF

, Last Updated: 1:26 PM ET

The apparently recession-proof Toronto Maple Leafs have hiked tickets prices by an average 3.5% for next season.

Not that they expect all their fans will weather the economic storm.

For the first time the 20% renewal deposit for season tickets is "non-refundable".

The good news is Raptor ticket pricing remains the same next year, following an 8% increase in 2007-08.

The Leafs, who will miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, raised prices 5% in 2007 but there was no increase in '08. The '07 hike was the first since the 2004 lockout.

"Until this increase, we have basically been at 2003-04 pricing with only a 1% net increase since before the lockout," explained Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd, in an email.

"However, costs and inflation, such as NHL revenue sharing, hockey front office and operations costs, Air Canada Centre capital improvements, technology and greening investments and Canadian dollar (exchange costs) are up significantly in that same time period."

Leaf seats now range from $37 to $182.

The increase comes amid anticipation that the NHL salary cap will start falling next season with the troubled global economy lowering league revenue.

"We're very sensitive to pricing, especially in a tough economy," Anselmi said. "We gave it careful consideration, however, not many businesses have only had inflation of 1% over the last four years."

The Leafs are consistently ranked as the National Hockey League's most profitable franchise, worth more than $400 million US by Forbes Magazine, a claim often disputed by MLSEL.


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