By ALAN SNEL
For you 14,000 Golden Knights season ticket holders out there, there was some good news and some bad news from the business folks at the popular first-year NHL franchise this week.
The bad news first. Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz told LVSportsBiz.com Friday night that fans with one-year season ticket deals will face not only a price increase for their seats in the 2018-19 season but also will have to pay a new $3 per ticket per game charge for what the team is calling an “arena improvement fee.”
The ticket price increase applies to only 25 percent of the team’s 14,000 season ticket holders in 2018-19, Bubolz said. The team president said those 3,500 one-year season ticket deal holders face a ticket increase of about five percent. Bubolz said emails were sent Friday to the one-year season ticket holders informing them of the ticket price increase and the new $3 arena improvement per ticket charge.
There’s also one more preseason game in 2018-19, so all season ticket holders will be paying for 41 regular season games and four preseason games, up from three this preseason. That’s 45 total games next season. With one-year season ticket holders having to pay an extra three bucks per ticket per game for that arena improvement fee, that’s an extra $135 just for the new arena charge next season.
Fans might be wondering why a tenant at a relatively new venue such as T-Mobile Arena needs to collect revenue from an arena improvement charge.
“What are they improving? I would love to know why a brand, new arena needs upgrades?,” asked Golden Knights one-year season ticket holder Juli Shapiro.
But here’s how Bubolz explained it: “Regarding the fee, as you know the entire arena project was funded privately. It did not include any public money. To maintain a world class NHL arena, it requires investment every year. The monies will be earmarked for capital investment in the building by the arena management company led by MGM (Resorts International) and AEG.”
The one-year season ticket holders will have until mid-January to decide whether they want to re-up their deals with the increased ticket prices and arena improvement fee for next season, Bubolz said.
Shapiro, the one-year season ticket holder, said, “I’m not surprised to hear about the ticket price increase but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to bitch about it.”
The good news is that all other Golden Knights season ticket holders with deals of three, five and 10 years will not pay the $3 arena improvement fee for 2018-19 home games. Bubolz said season ticket holders with multiple year deals received an email a few days ago.
And they also will not face any ticket price increases next year. Though, those season ticket holders already knew that because the team told them previously their season ticket prices would remain flat for the first two years of season ticket holders with three-year and five-year deals and for the first three years for fans who bought 10-year season ticket deals.
But Bubolz warned that fans with three-, five- and 10-year season ticket deals would start paying the $3 per ticket arena improvement fee at some point. For fans with three- and five-year season ticket deals, the $3 arena fee would go into effect after two years, while it would be after three years for the 10-year season ticket holders, Bubolz said.
The Golden Knights are also adding one more preseason game, going from three to four, for 2018-19. So, all season ticket holders will have to pay for that additional preseason game, Bubolz said.
Interestingly enough, Bubolz and ticket sales chief Todd Pollock studied ticket sale trends for Golden Knights games on the secondary ticket market so far this season and concluded the Golden Knights could justify hiking ticket prices based on what the tickets were fetching for on the secondary market such as StubHub. For example, an upper bowl seat ticket that goes for $25 or $35 was selling for $70 or $100 on the secondary market, Bubolz said.
But Bubolz said Golden Knights owner Bill Foley did not want to be too aggressive in increasing ticket prices and pulled back the reins on ticket price increases. It should be noted the $3 arena improvement fee would be applied to individual game tickets and group ticket sales in 2018-19.
“He’s very fan-focused,” Bubolz said of Foley.
The overall average Golden Knights ticket is $88.
Bubolz said the announcement timing of the season ticket price increases and $3 arena charge for one-year season ticket holders was not timed with the Golden Knights’ increasing popularity. In fact, all season ticket holders were previously told announcements would be coming out in early December and that the emails were actually late by a few weeks.
Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported the season ticket price increases and $3 arena charge for one-year season ticket holders Friday afternoon.
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