Last week, Monumental Sports released Wizards season ticket pricing for the 2017-18 NBA season. The good news: Most Wizards season ticket prices are the same as they are this season, mostly if you sit in the 100 and 200 levels.
If you sit in the 400-level, many of you will see an increase. Those in the first four rows of lower center court will see an increase from $30/game this season to $36 next season, which is a steep increase of 20 percent, considering what they are paying now.
If you’re in the 100 and 200 level, this is good news, because Monumental has increased prices in most locations for three straight seasons since 2014-15. The price increase in 2014-15 was relatively small, followed by a significant increase in 2015-16, and a smaller one for the current 2016-17 season. I kept a log on how much prices have changed over the last four years here on this spreadsheet.
Before 2014-15, Monumental Sports put a three year price freeze that began in the 2011-12 season. And for those of you who had season tickets continuously since the pre-John Wall and Monumental Sports days, ticket prices were relatively stable since 2009-10.
Why would Monumental Sports want to keep Wizards prices stable?
The Wizards are on pace to potentially win 50 games for the first time since 1978-79. They won 19 straight home games and are filling the arena quite consistently over the course of this season. So why would Monumental keep prices the same? Sounds like the sales staff is being a bit generous, right?
Yes, they are. But here’s a couple valid reasons why they may choose not to raise prices in a successful regular season:
The 2016-17 Wizards’ home attendance was poor
|17-11-16||New York||W 119–112||16,704|
|26-11-16||San Antonio||L 100–112||17,066|
|28-11-16||Sacramento||W 101–95 (OT)||12,571|
|18-12-16||LA Clippers||W 117–110||17,380|
|31-01-17||New York||W 117–101||16,683|
|02-02-17||L. A. Lakers||W 116–108||16,473|
|04-02-17||New Orleans||W 105–91||19,651|
|06-02-17||Cleveland||L 135–140 (OT)||20,356|
|13-02-17||Oklahoma City||W 120–98||20,356|
|28-02-17||Golden State||W 112–108||20,356|
The Wizards have played 35 home games to this point in the season. Though they won 19 games in the middle of the season, they played many of those games in front of sparse crowds below 19,000 until February 4, when the Wizards were well above .500 once again.
Here’s a line graph, to show how attendance has fluctuated throughout the season. Early in the season, attendance was poor minus the season opener and the November 11 sellout against the Cavaliers. They were only able to sell out four games this season, including the aforementioned November 11 game.
The Wizards’ 2016-17 season was home-heavy
The Wizards have played 61 of their 82 games, or 74.4 percent of their regular season scheduled. But their home schedule was very home heavy to this point since they’ve played 35 of their 41 games at Verizon Center, or 85.3 percent of the home schedule. That exacerbates the “lost revenue” from their poor start when their 19 home game winning streak began.
2017 NBA Playoff season ticket prices
I’m not sure if playoff pricing levels in relation to the regular season are set by the NBA or if teams decide it. I’ll assume it’s the latter. But Monumental hopes to make it back up in the post season If the Wizards advance far in the playoffs. Here are the relative increases:
- First Round - 120 percent of 2016-17 season ticket rate (A regular season ticket that costs $100 will cost $120 in the first round)
- Second Round - 146 percent
- Eastern Conference Finals - 210 percent
- NBA Finals - 260 percent (The $100 regular season ticket is $260)
I’ll say these prices are fair if the Wizards make it to the Eastern Conference Finals or better. At this point, the Wizards would be a very hot ticket in town, and the gate price for a $100 level ticket would be more than these rates.
Conclusion: Good call to keep many of next year’s prices the same
The Wizards need to keep building their season ticket holder base. By keeping rates in most locations the same for next year and having a successful playoff run, there’s a better chance that they’ll sell out Verizon Center for more games than the teams that LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant play for.
That said, I feel bad for those who sit in the front rows of the 400 level in center court, so let’s hope that the Wizards’ recent winning ways continue.