The Cincinnati Bengals‘ recent announcement that they will drop prices for some 2012 tickets not only is a move to attract more fans, but also could mean greater profit for ticket resellers.
The AFC North team is following in the footsteps of other sports teams that have turned to reducing ticket prices in a tough economy. The Bengals are lowering the prices of upper-deck tickets for 2012, which represent close to 30 percent of the seats in Paul Brown Stadium. Season tickets for those seats will be offered for $40, down from $60.
Will Flaherty, spokesperson for ticket search engine SeatGeek.com, believes that the price drop is positive not only for the team, but also for those in the resale business.
“With overall ticket prices lower due to the price drop on some of these upper-level seats, the outlay that brokers need to make in order to invest in season tickets is reduced,” Flaherty told TicketNews. “They can stand to make incrementally more profit on the popular, big ticket games.”
Despite having a successful season and making it to the playoffs for only the third time in 21 years, the Bengals played just two sold-out home games this season. One of those sell-outs was the January 1 finale against the Baltimore Ravens, for which the team offered buy-one-get-one tickets.
While the latest price reduction might be a nice gesture, it will likely take more than that for fans to return to the stadium. Disapproval for team decisions both on and off the field has contributed to the decrease in attendance, and Bengals president Mike Brown’s sagging popularity hasn’t helped.
The Bengals have the lowest home attendance in the NFL, according to ESPN, and the team may have to count on the fans of their higher-ranked opponents to draw larger crowds. Next season’s home schedule includes games against big-name teams, including the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, who are ranked first and second respectively in average attendance.
Flaherty said that while lowering ticket prices can’t hurt, a continuation of this season’s success is the real key to more sellouts next season.
One potential hurdle, however, is a proposed stadium tax that, if passed, could cut into that price reduction. The proposal is designed to generate revenue to help reduce a deficit in the stadium’s operations.
For fans, the proposed tax could mean an increase of $10 or more per ticket. With the cost of some seats down $20 from last season, the proposal would most directly affect those sitting in non-price-reduced sections.