Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Profiting off Passion: How Much is ‘Too Much’?

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It’s the Stanley Cup Finals, and everyone who has an avenue to make some ‘extra’ money off this series is unashamedly doing what they can to profit off people’s enthusiasm. From ticket scalpers to season ticket holders. Hell even airlines are boosting prices from Vancouver to Boston and vice versa to get in on the short term profit margin markups. Everywhere you look in the Lower Mainland (and probably Boston too) everyone is looking to make a buck or two off this playoff run. So I ask, how much is ‘too much’?

Some say it’s ‘smart business’ ,  others say it’s sheer unadulterated greed and some don’t know what to think about all this. They want, but can’t have, so they look to see who can be around to take the blame… errr I mean responsibility.

Stanley Cup Finals. Be there or bust...your wallet. Photo credit: Prediction Challenges



So tickets went on sale to the general public for the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver and Boston today via Ticketmaster.  Between two cities that are passionate about hockey and both have a very big season ticket holder base, these tickets that were released were harder to come by than the next sighting of Haley’s Comet. So fans are testing different avenues to obtain their Stanley Cup Finals tickets. Online ticket brokers, Craigslist ads, and local secondary brokerages are where fans are turning to get their tickets. But at what price? Many on twitter say too much. Others are pointing at the teams’ owners to take the blame for selling too many season tickets so single game tickets are harder to get for the general public. The real question is, what is a Stanley Cup Final game worth to you?

Canucks Nation

Rabid fans will be asked to pay big bucks for SCF tickets Photo Credit: Justine Galo



When looking for tickets for a member of my spouse’s extended family, who wanted to watch a SCF game with his son from Winnipeg, I was shocked and appalled by some of the prices people were asking for their tickets to Games 1 and 2. The thing was, I was not surprised.  I am not surprised that greed has taken over so many out there and unfortunately have to ability and avenue to gauge fans who want to watch one game and share in the experience with all the others at the arena.  The River Rock Club Section at Rogers Arena have the SCF seats sold to the season ticket holder for roughly $500 a piece.  I know this because one of our  sections of season tickets is right in those seats, which we sold to friends at face value. These seats are being advertised on Craigslist, StubHub.com and other ticket brokerages between $1700-3000 per seat.  I don’t care how some people spin it, but that’s more than at least a 200% mark-up of the value of the ticket. To me, that’s gauging and that’s fueled by the greed the world is built on these days.

It’s bad enough that the ticket vultures are going to be getting fat off the cup finals, but now even airlines are getting in on the game. An insider who works for the ticketing department of Air Canada said that during these two weeks or so, flights between Vancouver and Boston will be hiked up in price to boost their profit margin from the SCF.  I know it’s ‘smart business’ and it’s common that tourism industry hike up their prices for special events, but this is a first I have heard that an airline would do such a thing to accommodate die-hard hockey fans who travel with the team just to make a buck.

"In Greed We Trust" Photo credit: Red Tree Times



So Vancouver and Boston, be prepared to see an increase in  prices in your bars and pubs,  the hotel rates, the airline tickets, the cost of a ticket to a game so others out there can profit from your passions.  Do I think it’s right? The business side of me says, “It is what it is.” The conscience in me says  it’s abhorrent. But I know one thing, I will choose carefully (maybe not wisely) where my put my Stanley Cup Final dollars but I have my limits, as do many of the Bruins and Canucks fans watching this series intently.

As someone I know always says, “Vote with your dollar”. If you don’t buy those over priced tickets, merchandise or airfares, maybe the greedy bastards will think twice before they profit off our passions. The power is yours.

Justine Galo

@Aviewfromabroad

Writer’s note: I own season tickets and I do believe I have the right to ask for a good return on the re-sale of my tickets for the regular season and the playoffs. However, I don’t condone mark-ups that are more than 150% of the ticket value.

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Comments

8 Responses to “Profiting off Passion: How Much is ‘Too Much’?”
  1. Patricia says:

    Great article! I’ve been thinking about this the past few days since Vancouver SCF tickets are now going for more than what I paid for my ENTIRE trip to Nashville in early May to see the Canucks in the playoffs. That includes gasoline, hotel, food, drinks and tickets for two. And, I had great seats on the second row and stayed in a very nice hotel downtown close to the arena. Yes, I am from the US, but many Canucks fans in Nashville explained that tickets in the US were much cheaper, and so as a result there were MANY Canucks fans at the Nashville playoff games. Someday I will see the Canucks in Vancouver, but sadly not for a playoff game most likely, and certainly not for a Stanley Cup Final game. Instead, I will spend my money to see the Canucks next season somewhere down here in the lower 48 — at these current SCF prices, I can afford to attend as many as three games during playoffs!!

  2. Alison says:

    So as a non-season ticket holder I had to pay full price to attend games in the regular season and playoffs. That cost me $9500 this year. I am subsidizing all the discounted season tickets. I think they owe me! So I will not pay them extra for a ticket they should never have purchased since they only did so in order to be further subsidized. They shouldn’t be allowed to do this for playoffs or finals because those tickets weren’t part of the package. They’re extra games. Regular season is fine since they bought the whole set at once. I bought all my regular season games at once in September, but I get nothing in return for doing that.

    • Justine Galo says:

      I understand where your anger comes from Alison, but as a season ticket holder, I put up more than the $9500 you stated every year just for my preseason/regular season tickets. The subsidy you talk about isn’t really that much. As season ticket holders we might get a game or two subsidized by paying it early. Those playoff games you pay full price for? We do too, we just get the rights to buy them or refuse them before they can go on sale to the general public. That’s the perks for the Canucks getting our money earlier than anyone else. I think it’s fine, why? Because I risk my money for the whole season hoping for ‘dibs’ on my seats in the playoffs.

      I am upset that there are season ticket holders out there gauging other fans for profit. I also believe they have the right to mark up their tickets, a little (150% for this round tops) but anything above and beyond that just says GREED.

      If you want some subside or rights to a few games in the playoffs, call Canucks Ticket Sales and see if you can get an Ice Pak or buck up for half-seasons. But to say that as season ticket holders we should have no rights for the playoffs is asking far to much from people who put up their money, up front, not knowing what the season brings them so it can seem more ‘fair’.

  3. Jay says:

    As a season ticketholder, you’re paying less than what Ticketmaster is charging the general public. You quoted $500 for season ticketholder price inside the River Rock Club. Through Ticketmaster, the cost for that same River Rock Club seat = $931. 180% increase in price between what you paid and what I would pay, if I didn’t have access to the seats that I do. Considering that the only tickets available through Ticketmaster for this round were the following: Standing Room Only, Last Seat in the House and select singles.

    For the record, I’m in a luxury suite, owned by my buddy and his dad. I’m not gonna disclose how much they paid, but per head, it’s comparable to River Rock Club seat general public price.

    If you’re looking for greed, check out the Prime Seat Club. The cheapest ticket available is $1200, for upper level.

    The bottom line: as long as there’s someone willing to pay 1000/ticket to go to the Cup Final, scalpers and season ticketholders alike, will charge that, and get away with it.

    Unless the sports mindset of Vancouverites shifts back to pre-70s, when the Lions were the main game in town, I don’t see that mentality changing.

    Ultimately, Joe Average family loses out.

    • Justine Galo says:

      I haven’t exactly averaged out what I am paying for the River Rock Club that were sold to my friends at our cost, but I think it works out to about $500, I can take out my statements if you really want to know and further lambast me because I have season tickets. I don’t know how exactly how much Ticketmaster charges the general public, but please remember, I put up a big chunk of money upfront to get those perks. I made that choice and many made the choice to pick and choose games.

      I also get to deal with unwanted games like watching Minnesota three times in a season, all the preseason games. I incur those costs whether I want them or not. If send tickets through the Prime Seat Club in the regular season on those game, I am lucky if anyone really wants to bite on them, even at cost or below. So we end up giving those away to friends and family. If I wave my rights to one round in the playoffs, I lose my pre-sale rights to the rest of the playoffs, so I don’t. I keep paying them, and to those I can’t attend, I sell to friends, at the cost I was charged, not a penny more.

      So when people complain that it’s all our fault as season ticket holders that we get our games ‘subsidized’, that’s fine. I put my money upfront to afford myself the luxury, I budget a lot of my entertainment dollars around these tickets, but that’s my choice. I shouldn’t be ‘crucified’ for being able to have seasons.

      Like I said in the summation of my article, it’s entirely up to the consumer as what their price is for a game in the Stanley Cup Final. I don’t like what the season ticket holders in the Prime Seat Club are doing, nor do I like the sccalpers and brokers. I think it’s pure greed. I don’t operate that way.

      It’s a matter of “Voting with your dollar” Is it worth it to you? For me, no I wouldn’t pay the ridiculous prices if I was a fan who didn’t have season tickets, but that’s just me.

      For the record, we have seats in the River Rock Club section, we don’t want it from there. We have seats elsewhere in the arena as well.

      • Jay says:

        I’m not trying to crucify or make you look bad. Everyone is entitled to spend their disposable income wherever they choose to and in whichever fashion they choose to do so. If you choose to drop 10G up front, or however much you spend (the total is irrelevant to me, and frankly, none of my business), on Canucks season tickets, good on you for being able to afford it.

        To me, it’s a multi-tiered system.
        First tier: season ticketholders. Sure, you fork out a lot of money, and you get various benefits from the team
        Second tier: those who have connections to season tickets and can get access to tickets
        Third tier: the members of the general public who scramble for roughly 1500 tickets per game
        Fourth tier: Families who would love to be able to see a game live without having to skip a mortgage payment to do so

        Being on top of that proverbial pyramid, I feel that your right to express the displeasure of having to “deal with unwanted games like watching Minnesota three times in a season, all the preseason games” are curtailed, if not eliminated by the fact you have season tickets. Ask someone at the bottom of the pyramid, chances are they’ll jump at the opportunity to see a preseason game or Minnesota, as you’ve used as an example. Your family and friends, would fall into the 2nd tier. I’m also in that 2nd tier by virtue of my buddy and his dad. If it weren’t for him, I’d have to sacrifice a trip to Grey Cup for that season, just to see one Canucks game.

        I’m with you in the fact that what tickets are going for is absolutely retarded. I make a decent wage, and there’s no way in hell I’m blowing off the following things to see one playoff game: gas for my car (there is no transit at 430am), food, internet and cable and cell phone. I’m also with you in the fact that as season ticketholders, we should get the right to first refusal for playoff tickets. I can understand Alison’s point about them being extra, but they’re also an extension of the season, therefore STH should get first crack. If single game ticket buyers are subsidizing anything, it’s the upkeep for the arena and any future upgrades, which may not benefit them directly.

        For the record, I am a Lions season ticketholder, and am astutely aware of how much money we save on regular season games and specifically for this year, Grey Cup. 25% savings on reg season and 20% on Grey Cup.

  4. Trav says:

    I posted this on craigslist during the run. Unfortuntely I wasn’t able to find any takers on either the ticket or real estate resale front. Darn scalpers :(

    Hello,

    We would like to purchase a pair of Stanely Cup final tickets for cost. Season ticket holder cost. We weren’t really supporters during the regular season. Well, we did watch some of the games on TV for free. We sincerely appreciate you paying for the entire season and attending all of the boring games we didn’t really care about. So if you could sell us your tickets at cost that would be truly amazing!

    We are also interested in purchasing a home in West Vancouver. We would like to only pay 2001 prices. Please help us make our dream come true. We’ve always wanted to live there but don’t want to pay the scalper prices!!

    ps We would need you to deliver the tickets. We currently live in Hope.

    • Justine Galo says:

      That’s the best comment I’ve read on this post.

      :)

      Check out next season when I give a pair or two away for contests. I suggest you keep reading for details.

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