Sabres increase season-ticket prices again for 2017-18 - The Buffalo News
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Sabres increase season-ticket prices again for 2017-18

Once again, Sabres season-ticket holders will have to dig deeper into their wallets.

In the continuation of an annual trend, Buffalo has increased its season-ticket prices. Seats for the 2017-18 season are going up about 4 percent across the board.

The largest increase of 4.3 percent is in 200 Club and 100 Level II. The seats in 200 Club, the priciest in KeyBank Center, are rising from $116 to $121 per game. Fans in 100 Level II will see a bounce to $73 per game from last season’s $70 ticket.

The per-game increases are $1 to $5 per seat. Packages range from $1,245 to $4,942 per seat.

This year’s package includes 40 regular-season games instead of 41 because the Sabres’ Winter Classic appearance Jan. 1 in Citi Field counts as a home game. Season-ticket holders will have a presale opportunity at a later date for the outdoor game against the New York Rangers.

The season-ticket package also includes three preseason games (ranging from $15 to $34 per seat) and a free ticket to a game played by the Rochester Americans in Buffalo.

As usual, season-ticket holders will get 2.5 percent of their costs back in the form of a SabreBucks card. It can be used at the Sabres Store and concession stands, or it can go toward the purchase of a game ticket.

“While this past season did not live up to our expectations, we look forward to what the future holds for the young talent already on the roster and a continued pursuit of a championship for the city of Buffalo,” John Sinclair, vice president of tickets and service, wrote in a letter than accompanied the ticket invoice.

Here are the increases for all seating options:

200 Club – $116 to $121, 4.3 percent
200 End – $97 to $101, 4.1 percent
100 Preferred Rinkside – $106 to $110, 3.8 percent
100 Preferred – $87 to $90, 3.5 percent
100 Level II Rinkside – $85 to $88, 3.5 percent
100 Level II – $70 to $73, 4.3 percent
100 Level III Rinkside – $72 to $75, 4.2 percent
100 Level III – $55 to $57, 4.2 percent
100 Level IV – $48 to $50, 3.6 percent
300 Level I – $51 to $53, 3.9 percent
300 Level II – $37 to $38, 2.7 percent
300 Level III – $29 to $30, 3.5 percent
300 Level IV – $29 to $30, 3.5 percent

The cost of tickets has skyrocketed since owner Terry Pegula purchased the Sabres in 2011. While the salary cap has risen 22.9 percent – it was $59.4 million in 2010-11 and $73 million for 2016-17 – ticket prices have jumped as much as 47.1 percent.

Here were the season-ticket costs in 2010-11, when B. Thomas Golisano owned the team, compared to next season.

200 Club – $88 to $121, 37.5 percent
200 End – $71 to $101, 42.3 percent
100 Preferred Rinkside – $83 to $110, 32.5 percent
100 Preferred – $65 to $90, 38.5 percent
100 Level II Rinkside – $67 to $88, 31.3 percent
100 Level II – $51 to $73, 43.1 percent
100 Level III Rinkside – $55 to $75, 36.4 percent
100 Level III – $39 to $57, 46.2 percent
100 Level IV – $34 to $50, 47.1 percent
300 Level I – $39 to $53, 35.9 percent
300 Level II – $29 to $38, 31 percent
300 Level III – $22 to $30, 36.4 percent
300 Level IV – $22 to $30, 36.4 percent

In the past, the Sabres have tied their ticket increases to their desire to receive revenue sharing. Teams are requested to have per-game gate receipts of at least 75 percent of the league average. Organizations continue to receive payments even if they dip below 75 percent, but they must submit a forward-looking business plan to the NHL.

Several teams have declined to raise prices in recent years after failing to make the postseason. The Sabres have missed the playoffs for six straight years, yet the price has gone up every year.

Buffalo announced a 97 percent renewal rate for season tickets last season. The Sabres have a waiting list called the Blue & Gold Club. Nearly all the fans on the list who wanted tickets the past two years were able to get seats.

“As always,” Sinclair concluded in his letter, “thank you for being a proud Sabres fan and a season ticket holder.”

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