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Four NFL teams are raising ticket prices for next season

By Patrick Dunne

Four NFL teams that made the playoffs last season — including three that ended long postseason droughts — have raised ticket prices for next season.

The Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans each announced price increases earlier this month. The Broncos are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2006, the Lions their first since 1999, and the Texans their first in their 10-year history.

The Broncos are raising prices for the first time in three years. While about 45,000 seats at Sports Authority Field in Denver will increase $2 to $15, nearly 16,000 club seats will decrease in price from $30 to $25. A red zone club seat will drop from $340 to $315 and a gray zone club seat from $280 to $250. The result of the changes is an overall price increase of 0.6 percent. The Broncos' average ticket price of $76.75 was 10th in the 32-team NFL last season.

Behind the rise to stardom of quarterback Tim Tebow and his penchant for leading fourth-quarter comebacks, the Broncos won the AFC West and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime the first playoff game in Denver in six years. Denver's season ended at 9-9 after a loss to the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots in the divisional round.

Tebow's popularity and the ensuing media frenzy, dubbed "Tebowmania," fueled a price surge and increased demand for Broncos tickets on the secondary market. Despite plenty of critics of his quarterback play, Tebow will remain Denver's starting QB heading into next season, coach John Fox and team president John Elway have said.

The Lions, after a turnaround season sent them to their first playoff game in 12 years, will increase ticket prices for the first time since the 2008 season. Season tickets at Ford Field in Detroit will increase by an average of 7.9 percent. About 30,000 seats will increase 4–5 percent. Seats at the 50-yard line that were $90 will go up to $99. The Lions' average ticket price of $62.40 was 28th in the NFL last season. The new average of $72.04 will likely move them up to the mid-20s.

After a 5-0 start, Detroit finished 10-7 after a 45-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints in an NFC wild card playoff game. Detroit features one of the top QB-receiver tandems in the league with Matthew Stafford, who passed for more than 5,000 yards, and Calvin Johnson, who was the NFL's leading receiver.

The Texans won the AFC South and reached the postseason for the first time since the franchise began in 2002. Houston announced a ticket price increase of 8.5 percent. Almost all seats at the 71,000-capacity Reliant Stadium in Houston will see increases of $3 to $10. The biggest increases, $10, will be in the field level prime 1 (now $130) and prime 2 (now $120) locations. The Texans' average ticket price will go from $72.47 to $78.66.

Houston won its first playoff game at Reliant Stadium, 31-10 over the Cincinnati Bengals, before losing to at the Baltimore Ravens, 20-13 in the divisional round to finish 11-7.

The Packers, who won Super Bowl XLV after the 2010 season, have made the playoffs three years in a row. Also for the third year in a row, they've increased ticket prices at Lambeau Field. Prices will go up $3 to $5 per ticket. Suites and tickets between the 20-yard lines will go up $5 (now $92), tickets from the 20s to the end zone will go up $4 (now $80), and end zone seats will go up $3 (now $72).
After a 15-1 regular season, the Packers were knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who won a divisional game at Lambeau, 37-20.

The Packers are the NFL's only publicly owned team. They also have one of the league's longest season-ticket waiting lists, numbering at about 96,000. The Packers are helping to fund a $143 expansion of Lambeau by selling more than 250,000 shares of stock in the team at $250 per share. Two new video boards at Lambeau are expected to be ready by next season. An additional 6,700 seats in the south end zone, two new gates, and a new concession system are planned for the 2013 season.

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