LAST EDITED ON 03-Oct-03 AT 04:01 AM (EDT)
For that one example, yes, the price has gone up significantly if your numbers are accurate (and I don't doubt that they are). I have difficulty using that example to extrapolate a theory across all of sports, though. My statement was made based on evidence presented by Allen Sanderson (among others). His statements apply mostly to baseball, but they do extend elsewhere as well. Here are my problems with using the 1974-2003 comparison between one very expensive seat for one team playing one sport in one market:
-I believe that your income figures and multipliers are based on national date, not local. Analyzing a localized trend against national figures distorts the results. DC/MD/NoVA have increased in size and wealth much more quickly than the national average over the last 30 years. Use the local economic data if you are going to use local seat prices.
-In 1974 the Caps were new to the area, playing in a suburban location in a non-hockey market and were terrible. Ticket prices were probably set with this in mind. I'd prefer looking at 1974 figures from the Rangers, Hawks, Red Wings, or other team that was well established at that point.
-The price of a "luxury" seat is not a great indicator to use. Why not use average ticket prices in the arenas? Saying that fans are being priced out because it's very expensive to buy the best seats in the house is silly. Try the Kennedy Center, they're priced the same way. Are families priced out of flying because first class is so expensive? Attending a game from the upper deck (where my season tickets were) counts just as much as sitting 10 feet from the ice.
-The Caps moved from a dark, dank, dismal, bat-infested arena in the suburbs (that I loved) to a glittery, new, yuppie-infested, well-lit arena in what is becoming a trendy neighborhood of downtown DC. A seat anywhere in the Phone Booth is worth more than a similar seat at the Cap Centre (when it was standing) just because it's a better place. Look at the Monopoly board, there's a reason Marvin Gardens is more expensive than Virginia Ave. I'd like to see what the difference has been for teams that haven't switched arenas. Just because they were both close to the ice in the same position doesn't mean that they are equal in all ways (see: the Igloo in Pittsburgh).
-In the end, ticket prices are set to maximize revenue, not to fill the stands. I'd be interested in seeing the per ticket revenue for the team over that time period.
-As my statement applied to more than just Section 110, Row F, Seat 2 at the MCI Center/Cap Center, I'd like to see the median ticket price at every pro arena for each of the 4 major sports compared over that time frame with incomes from their areas, both individually and as a whole, as well as attendence and revenue figures for each team.
-Please take special offers into account. The Family 4-pack available at the MCI Center is a perfect example of how to take the family to a game. $82.00-$192.00 gets you 4 seats, 4 burgers or dogs or something, 4 drinks, 4 hats and 4 something elses. Yeah, it's upper deck, but that ain't a bad price for a night out. The average ticket price has little to do with it, and virtually all teams offer this sort of thing to attract families.
-EDIT: Oh, and using the CPI calculator on sports tickets is not really the way to go. Luxury goods and entertainment are not factored into the CPI and their prices fluctuate differently than that of fuel oil, frozen orange juice, and red delicious apples.
Again, good post, but limited in utility in my opinion.
Let's Go Caps!