The Dallas Stars were the first NHL team to introduce what is now known as “Variable and Dynamic” ticket pricing in 2009, and subsequently re-instituted the strategy in 2013. “Variable and Dynamic” means that individual game tickets are priced depending on the “variables” associated with each game. This includes opponent, day of the week, existing ticket sales, time of year, standings and time of purchase. For example, prime games such as Penguins and Rangers games would cost more than games against Carolina or Florida. Games on Saturday night would cost more than games on Tuesday nights, etc. Also, in general prices would increase as game time approaches. This is very similar to airline pricing strategies that have been in place for years.
It should be noted that the Capitals have not introduced this method of ticket pricing, however, the remainder of the league is quickly following Dallas’ initiative. Teams including the New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, and L.A. Kings have already implemented Variable and Dynamic pricing programs (See links for each teams “Dynamic and Variable pricing plans) . This year the Ottawa Senators will also introduce their own Dynamic Pricing plan, adding to the ever-growing list of NHL teams utilizing Variable and Dynamic ticket pricing strategies. Some estimates say as much as half the teams already use these types of pricing strategies.
The reasons for implementing “Variable and Dynamic” pricing strategies are based in evidence shown that increased revenues have been attained by teams that have already implemented such systems. “Variable and Dynamic” pricing adjusts game prices (through data analytics) in order to achieve maximum revenue for each game. In addition, data has shown that such systems encourage fans to purchase half-season or full-season tickets, in order to avoid last-minute ticket price hikes. “The downside is that people can feel ripped off or alienated by the process,” says sports marketing analyst Steve Herz, who is president of IF Management, a broadcasting and marketing representation firm. No one wants to pay $200 for a seat and the person next to them only paid $100.