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Sabres change up ticket pricing in new tiered system

The Buffalo Sabres have instituted a new ticket-pricing structure for regular season home games that the team says will allow box office prices on a game-by-game basis to fluctuate based on demand.

The new pricing model for games at KeyBank Center, announced Wednesday, will work like this:

• Each game will be put into one of three pricing tiers that will set the initial box office price for an individual-game ticket.

• Individual games will be placed in a tier that will be based on the opponent, time of the year, day of the week, classic rivalries and opponents’ marquee players.

• As tickets are purchased, the price may either rise or fall, based on demand, according to the team.

• Prices may fall below the initial box office price, but the price will never drop below season ticket prices.

• Prices that go up and down will not jump from one tier to another, the prices will increase or decrease incrementally.

• There is no structured schedule for when prices will increase/decrease.

The move to “dynamic pricing” – which has already been employed by some teams in MLB, the NBA, MLS and the NHL – marks a departure from the long-standing model of setting ticket prices before the season.

“The whole industry is trending towards this dynamic ticket prices,” said Chris Bandura, the Sabres’ Director of Media Relations. “As with most changes, it will be something different for people to get used to, but at the end of the day, we’re going in a direction that a lot of teams and leagues are going in and we’re trying to keep with the industry standard.”

The base box-office prices in Tier 1 range from $70 to $195; from $59 to $155 in Tier 2; and from $49 to $135 in Tier 3. There are eight Tier 1 games, 20 Tier 2 games and 13 Tier 3 games. Here’s the schedule breakdown:

Tier 1: Nov. 3 vs. Toronto, Nov. 19 vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 9 vs. Washington, Dec. 29 vs. Boston, Jan. 20 vs. Detroit, Feb. 19 vs. Chicago, March 25 vs. Toronto, April 3 vs. Toronto.

Tier 2: Oct. 13 vs. Montreal (home opener), Oct. 29 vs. Florida, Nov. 11 vs. New Jersey, Nov. 23 vs. Detroit, Dec. 1 vs. N.Y. Rangers, Dec. 3 vs. Boston, Dec. 6 vs. Edmonton, Dec. 16 vs. N.Y. Islanders, Jan. 7 vs. Winnipeg, Feb. 2 vs. N.Y. Rangers, Feb. 4 vs. Ottawa, Feb. 9 vs. Anaheim, Feb. 12 vs. Vancouver, Feb. 18 vs. St. Louis, March 4 vs. Tampa Bay, March 7 vs. Philadelphia, March 11 vs. Columbus, March 21 vs. Pittsburgh, April 2 vs. N.Y. Islanders,  April 5 vs. Montreal.

Tier 3: Oct. 27 vs. Minnesota, Nov. 9 vs. Ottawa, Nov. 17 vs. Tampa Bay, Nov. 21 vs. Calgary, Dec. 13 vs. Los Angeles, Dec. 22 vs. Carolina, Jan. 10 vs. Philadelphia, Jan. 16 vs. Dallas, Feb. 7 vs. San Jose, Feb. 16 vs. Colorado, Feb. 28 vs. Nashville, March 2 vs. Arizona, March 27 vs. Florida.

The Sabres did not immediately return phone calls seeking further details about the pricing system.

The team announced it has partnered with a company called Qcue to implement the system for Sabres home games.

Qcue lists the Montreal Canadiens and the San Francisco Giants as clients on its website.

Single-game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 17. Preseason home game tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, the team announced.

Mini-Pack ticket holders will be able to renew their packages starting Aug. 31. Mini-Packs go on sale to the general public on Sept. 7, the team said.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com

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