With the Washington Wizards playing as well as they have this season, larger crowds have turned out to games, and this has increased demand for tickets. Therefore, Monumental Sports has raised most season ticket prices for the 2015-16 season, where most season ticket holders will be asked to pay 20 to 30 percent more to see their team play. In some cases, it's even more than that.
Now that you have the new prices, let's break down how much they have increased, and whether it is justified.
400 level seats
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Even though the Wizards have seen larger crowds this season, they still haven’t sold out the building each and every night, especially with seats in the 400 level behind the basket and at the corners. Tickets in these locations have remained steady at $16/seat.
However, if you sit in center court (Sections 432, 433, 400-402, 415-419), your prices have all gone up, depending on what row you sit in. If you have a seat in Rows A to H, prices have jumped up from $20 to $28 seat. If you sit in Row J or further back in these same sections, your prices have gone up to $24 a seat.
200 level seats
All 200 level seats along center court and the corners have bumped from $7 to $15 per game from the 2014-15 season with the exception of Sections 200, 201, and 229, which are now premium seats in the "Acela Club Select" section.
"Acela Club Select" seats will provide ticket holders all-inclusive food and drink (including beer and wine) in the Budweiser Brewhouse which is next to sections 201 and 202. Unlike VIP and Acela Ledge season ticket holders, these fans will not have complimentary parking. Prices for these tickets are $126 per game.
100 level (corners and behind the basket)
All seats from sections 102-109 and 113-120 have had a price jump ranging from $9 to $11 per game from the 2014-15 season. That ranges from a 20 to 30 percent increase in these areas.
Acela Ledge seats, which are behind the basket in the 200-level Acela Club have gone up by $16/seat across the board, good for a 17.78 to 20 percent increase from the 2014-15 season. These seats provide an all-inclusive buffet, soft drinks, and complimentary parking. They do not include beer like VIP tickets or the Acela Club Select areas, but the food in this area is often higher quality.
These seats are located in Sections 121, 100, 101, 110-112) and provide the best view of the game at Verizon Center. They also offer ticket holders concession credit from $15 to $30 a game for ticket holders who are season ticket holders. Prices in these locations have increased from $11 to $29 per game, which is less a 20 percent or less increase for people who site in these sections.
These seats are all inside what would be the hockey rink during Washington Capitals games. They are the most expensive seats in the Verizon Center, because they are literally an all-inclusive experience. They offer ticket holders complimentary food, drink (including beer and wine), and parking pass for each game. Row AAA, Scorers Table, and owner seat holders get even more benefits.
It's not surprising that the prices here increased the most dollar-wise, but most seats in this section have increased around 30 percent from 2014-15 rates as well. If you're trying to see who experiences the most sticker shock, some ticket holders who sit in Gold East and West, Row BBB will see their tickets move up from $315 a game this season to $500 next fall. That is a 58.73% increase!
This summer, Monumental Sports will also make improvements to VIP club areas which are often overcrowded because there are more people seated in these areas than before. According to the Capitals' season ticket holder renewal site, these areas will be expanded and there will have audio/visual enhancements. In addition, there will be expanded menu offerings.
Are these price increases justified?
Of course Monumental Sports is going to say that any price increase is justified. But really, there are good reasons for increasing prices. First, there are more fans attending Wizards games than in the past several years. Second, they need to make money -- and they should. I also have no problem with a price increase for these reasons, but they should have been more modest.
Price increases of 20 to 30 percent will price out some long-time fans from their seats, in particular those who sit in the 100 level sections. Even though the secondary market could help defray the cost of season tickets, you can't really predict the future with a veteran-laden team that is showing signs of aging right now. Raising the prices this much also eat up into the potential profit margins for season ticket holders who sell in a market which is still quite fickle. Should the Wizards have an early playoff exit this spring or a worse-than-expected 2015-16 season, this could backfire.
I'm happy to see that more fans are going to Wizards games at Verizon Center this season, and I hope that we'll see sellouts regularly, if not all the time. However, price increases like this are also bound to make at least some fans unhappy.
How do you all feel about these price increases? Let us know in the comments below.