The Sabres’ on-ice product has gone down. The NHL salary cap is set to drop, too.
Buffalo’s season-ticket prices, however, are rising again.
Sabres fans who checked their mailboxes Friday on the way to the season finale – also known as Fan Appreciation Night – received a letter informing them of a 4 percent, across-the-board increase on season-ticket prices. Seats are going up between $4 and $1 per game, which results in increases of $173 to $47 for the full-season package.
The bump in prices comes following a lockout-shortened season.
“As part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement with our players, all teams must produce revenue primarily through ticket sales in order to keep the stability of the league and its franchises strong,” John Sinclair, vice president of tickets and services, wrote in the letter.
The new CBA also features a reduced salary cap. It was set at $70.2 million during the past two seasons, but it will drop to $64.3 million next year.
The Sabres, meanwhile, finished last in the Northeast Division. They have missed the playoffs two straight years, part of a slide of four of six seasons and seven of 11.
“I can assure you that we are not happy with this season’s results,” Sinclair wrote. “We are going to use the offseason to evaluate what actions need to be taken for us to improve and advance toward our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
The Sabres’ season-ticket package will consist of 45 games: 41 regular-season contests (ranging from $103 to $26 per seat), three preseason games ($28 to $12 each) and one free appearance by the Rochester Americans in Buffalo.
The most expensive package (200 Level Club) is $4,307 per seat, while the least expensive (300 Levels III and IV) is $1,102.
The Sabres say their 4 percent increase is the smallest in seven seasons, but it comes on the heels of last season’s hike of up to 12.2 percent.
Buffalo last made the playoffs following the 2010-11 season. Season tickets ranged from $88 to $22 per seat. Next season’s range of $103 to $26 represents increases of 17.1 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively.
Preseason games were first included in the season-ticket package in 2011-12, with two games ranging from $25 to $10 per seat. Fans will have to buy tickets to an extra exhibition next season, and each game will cost $3 to $2 more.