|Maple Leafs' Viktor Stalberg hangs his head after a shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. (QMI AGENCY)
There has been no rise in the Maple Leafs’ dismal playoff position from last year, but neither will there be a ticket price increase for 2010-11.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. will inform subscribers later this week that it’s holding the line on the cost of seeing the 29th-place team after a 3.5% rise across the board last season.
The harmonizing of GST and PST and a reduced entertainment tax will actually see the current cost of between $37 and $182 per ticket drop a little.
“We are in a rebuilding mode with the team,” Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and COO of MLSEL, said on Monday. “Our costs continue to be high and we’ve invested a lot in Air Canada Centre improvements for the fans, but at the same time, we can’t justify a raise at this time.”
The news was greeted favourably by Daniel Ruscigno, who launched BeFairToTheFans.com in January, in hopes of getting the Leafs to bring ticket, souvenir and food and drink prices down.
“I’d like to think we had a small part in the decision,” Ruscigno said. “We've had more than 3,000 people join the site.”
The group’s mission statement had called for a 20% rollback in 2010-11 as a reward for “the most dedicated fans in all of professional sports”.
“It would have been ideal if they moved all prices back, because we aren’t expecting many more wins this year,” Ruscigno added. “But I will take their decision as a sign they’ve recognized their product isn’t worth the highest prices in the league, even if they freeze it. It’s a good start for them.”
The Leafs, who will miss the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, raised prices last season after no increase in ‘08-09. A 2007 hike was the first hike since the 2004-05 lockout. MLSEL has cited inflation, NHL revenue sharing, hockey front office and operations costs, ACC improvements, technology and greening investments for the previous rise in prices.