The New York Knicks will raise prices on season tickets for next year by an average of 49 percent — and as much as 100 percent for some premium tickets — an astronomical increase that is slightly mitigated by the fact the team has not raised prices in six years.
In addition to the Knicks, New York Rangers tickets also will see an extensive bump in price, by about 23 percent. In both cases, the increases are slated to help pay off an $850 million renovation project at Madison Square Garden (MSG), which, initially, was thought to cost about $500 million, but the budget swelled significantly as work began.
However, for the Knicks, the increase coincidently coincides with the arrival of superstar Carmelo Anthony, who has helped generate even more excitement for tickets, particularly on the secondary market.
The team said the ticket price increase is not related to Anthony’s arrival, but interest in tickets clearly jumped once he joined fellow superstar Amar’e Stoudemire to create a dynamic one-two punch.
“We hope there’s no sticker shock. We think it’s fair,” Scott O’Neil, the president of MSG Sports, told the New York Times. “The prices were baked in before Carmelo got here.”
Baked in or not, the prices represent a huge increase that many fans reportedly are not happy about, even though the team has not raised prices in six seasons. The team mostly struggled over the past decade, and before the end of the team’s best season in years, they announce the increase.
Some premium tickets will go from $330 to $660 a piece, and some courtside seats will jump from $1,900 to $3,600. And, there are about 40 seats near the court that will more than double in price. As you move farther away from the court, the increases drop significantly to about 15 percent above current levels.
“I think a lot of people were making a lot of money in the past few weeks with the Knicks drawing again,” sports entertainment event specialist Robert Tuchman, founder of Skylight Entertainment, told TicketNews. “I think the Knicks realized this and felt they had an opportunity to make a little more money. I hope at the end of the day they don’t run into the same problems the Jets, Giants, and Yankees have faced.”
The Jets and Giants faced a bit of a fan backlash due to their decision to require the purchase of personal seat licenses (PSLs) for some or all of their seats. PSLs areay a one-time payment of thousands of dollars for the right to then buy season tickets. NFL teams have adopted the model when a team builds a new stadium as a way to off-set construction costs. Neither the Knicks or Rangers are charging for PSLs.
“A lot of fans told us they didn’t want them,” O’Neil told the Times concerning PSLs.
As for the New York Yankees, the team also eschewed PSLs, but they set high ticket prices when they moved into the new Yankee Stadium only to have to scale back prices before the end of the inaugural season in the new ballpark.