The Wizards announced their 2016-17 season ticket prices last week. Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post had a column when the news came out, but I'll break down where the prices stayed the same and which locations have seen the biggest price increases this season, and also over the last three seasons when Monumental Sports began raising prices after a three-year price freeze from the 2011-12 through 2013-14 seasons.
Where have the seats gone up the most in price for next season?
If you're looking at which seats had the highest increases based on price from this season to next, the Owners seats (Gold South Row AAA) and Scorers table seats went up by $200 per seat a game for the 2016-17 season. This season, scorers table seats are $1,700/game and Owners seats are $2,000/game). Next season, they cost $1,900 and $2,200 a game, respectively.
In second place, Gold North AAA center section seats have bumped up $150 game from $1,100/seat this season to $1,250/seat next season. It's not surprising that the highest absolute dollar increases are with ultra-premium level seats.
Which seats have gone up the most in percentage for next season?
The seat with the highest percentages include some seats in the front rows of the 400 section (403, 404, 413, 414, 420, 421, 430, 431). This season, ticket holders are paying $16/seat. Next season, they're paying $20/seat which is a 25 percent increase.
In second place, seats in the front rows of lower end sections (Sections 104-107 and 115-118 Rows A-F) as well as all seats in lower level corner sections 102,109, 113, and 120 have gone up by over 21 percent each. The lower end seats affected go up from a price of $46 a game this season to $56 a game next season while the corner seats affected go up from $66/game this season to $80/game next season.
Which seats have gone up the most in percentage since Monumental started raising prices?
There was a section of VIP seats in row AAA Gold West away from the team's bench that cost just $375/seat in the 2013-14 season because they were specially discounted seats but now cost $1,050 a game for the 2016-17 season. That is a 180 percent price increase. In 2014-15, that special discount and the regular price increase kicked in so they more than doubled in price to $824 a game.
The only other seats that have seen prices double while retaining the same benefits throughout each of the last four season as VIP seats in Box East and West, Row CCC. In 2013-14, these seats were just $137/seat and were a great deal to watch a game. In 2016-17, these seats will now be $274/game. Ouch!
The 400 level seats in the center court sections have also seen significant percentage increases, as they cost $30/game in the 2016-17 season, 87.5 percent more than the $16/game price in 2013-14.
The regular 100 level seats to see the largest percentage increase since 2013-14 were the front rows of the lower end sections (Sections 104-107 and 115-118 Rows A-F) where prices went up 80.65 percent from $31/seat to $56/seat next year.
Some seats have remained at $16/game since at least 2013-14
Believe it or not, the answer is yes. Many of the seats -- but not necessarily all rows -- in the 400 level corners have remained at $16/seat for each of the last three seasons and will remain at those rates for next season.
My take on the increases
With the Wizards performing worse than expected this season, it would have been unreasonable for Monumental Sports to throw the gauntlet down and raise most prices by 20 percent of more.
However, one of the biggest problems about the Wizards and their lack of a home court advantage at Verizon Center is the fickle nature of the season ticket holder base. I'm sure that there are more season ticket holders today than there were in 2010 when John Wall was drafted. However, price increases of any type put a damper on building that base when the Wizards still haven't won 50 regular season games since the 1978-79 season.
If Kevin Durant plays in a Wizards jersey next season, these prices may very well look cheap. But let's not be silly and pray for him when Wall still hasn't been appreciated enough just yet.