The Buffalo Sabres have raised season ticket prices after a season in which their playoff drought reached an NHL-worst eight seasons.
However, some fans will be affected more than others.
Rather than a blanket increase for all season-ticket holders, the Sabres used an analytic approach to determine how much each fan will pay in 2019-20. Their ticket operations department's research resulted in an average increase of 2.4% and no fan will experience more than a 5% difference.
Following a league-wide trend, the Sabres set the price by determining which factors have the greatest impact on ticket renewals, including seniority, price level, seat location and team performance.
The team did not raise ticket prices in 2018-19 and installed a 4% blanket increase the previous season. The new approach is designed to maximize renewals without pricing people out of KeyBank Center.
Research showed the Sabres which fans would be more sensitive to price increases, and the ticket operations staff then determined which seats and sections are the most valuable. As a result, 200-level tickets are the most expensive at $124.50 and the least expensive are two sections in the 300 level priced at $25 per ticket. The team has 15 sections variably priced.
A number of factors determine the value of a seat or section, including whether the fan is on the side of the ice the Sabres shoot at in the first and third periods.
Packages include two preseason games and 40 regular-season games instead of 41 because the Sabres lost a home game to their NHL Global Series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in November. It also includes one voucher per seat to a Rochester Americans game of the ticket holder's choosing since the Amerks will not play at KeyBank Center this season.
Season-ticket holders will continue to get 2.5 percent back in "Sabrebucks," special concession pricing, access to special events and 20 percent off at the team store. There is also priority access to purchasing additional single-game tickets and "one-time benefits" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
Despite three sellouts in November, the Sabres finished this season with an average home attendance of 17,908, the franchise's lowest mark since it drew 16,886 per game during the 2005-06 season.
The Sabres averaged 17,892 fans in 40 games at KeyBank Center in 2017-18, though their official season medium was elevated to 18,563 because of the 41,821 who attended the Winter Classic at New York's Citi Field. The tank season that landed Jack Eichel in Buffalo had better ticket sales. The same with a 25-win campaign in 2017-18, which earned the Sabres the right to draft Rasmus Dahlin.
Renewal notices were sent to fans late last week, only a few days after Ralph Krueger was announced as the 19th coach in franchise history.
Story topics: Buffalo Sabres