Fans pay big bucks for their puck

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Fans want more from their Vancouver Canucks. But the Canucks also want more from their fans.

The base price for the cheapest single-game, upper bowl ticket at General Motors Place has jumped from $32.75 to $49.25. Tonight's home opener is one of 12 "premium" games. If any seats remain, an upper bowl ticket will cost $65.50, including Ticketmaster's $5.25 service charge. On the other end of the scale, club seats are almost $250 each.

High demand is a reason for higher prices, but not the only reason according to president Chris Zimmerman.

"How they are priced across Canada, that's one of the other benchmarks," Zimmerman said after a Vancouver Board of Trade event yesterday. "Our cost base is going up, the salary cap has gone up significantly."

The 16 Canucks TV pay-per-view games cost a loonie more at $12.95 each, but viewers may have to wait until next season for the Orca Bay-produced games in high definition.

"I'm confident by next year we'll be there," Zimmerman said. "We're still working on it, I haven't ruled that out yet [for this season]."

Canucks fans hoping for lower prices because the Canadian dollar is at par with its American counterpart are also out of luck.

"At a certain point our costs were locked in, so we're not getting all the benefit," Zimmerman said.

Players are paid in U.S. dollars, but revenue is in Canadian currency. Canucks' chief financial officer Victor de Bonis testified in August in B.C. Supreme Court that for every cent increase in the Canadian dollar, the business improved by $500,000. Based on the dollar's 10 cent rise since last fall, Francesco Aquilini's club should have enjoyed a $5 million boost.


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