P.G. Cougars Change Season Tickets Policy
Prince George, B.C. – Season tickets holders with the Prince George Cougars can expect to see some changes starting this month.
The team has moved away from “age based pricing” – including special rates for seniors and students – to “location based pricing” – where fans will instead pay to sit inside of one of four designated zones.
The red zone is the most expensive and spans nearly red line to red line on both sides of the rink at an average per game price of $20.22 (averaged out over 36 home games a year).
The blue zone is the second costliest plan at an average price of $16 a game and is in sections Z through F – the Cougars attacking zone in the first and third periods.
Seasons tickets in the white zone – the Cougars defending zone for periods one and three – will cost an average of $11.67 per game while tickets in the Green zone are cheapest at an average cost of $7 per game and located in the first four rows in both ends (to see a diagram click here).
Prices for single game seats haven’t been determined though Cats management says they will be going up in price too.
“So, basically the Prince George Cougars are in a situation where we’ve had three consecutive years of financial losses ($2.3 million) that are exceeding the tolerance of the shareholder group,” says president Greg Pocock.
“And so, we charged Andy and Mark to go out and find some alternatives as to the way we were doing our business and try to help make this thing a viable operation.”
(Andy Beesley, the club’s business VP, and Mark Goodwin, the team’s sales manager).
He says the search included an extensive review of best practices of other major leagues in Canada like the Ontario Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and several professional sports teams.
Once the review was complete the Cougars settled on “location based pricing.”
Beesley acknowledges it means seasons ticket holders will be forced to pony up a lot more to keep their seats in the red zone but notes it also opens the doors for cheaper ticketing options too.
“This is an opportunity to give people more choices. No different from if you go to a concert here at CN Centre, or you go to a Canucks game, or you go to other WHL buildings,” he says.
“Where instead of us simply saying, this is your price to be a season member, you can pay this (and) if you don’t like it too bad. Now what we’re doing is we’re saying we have different price points for you.
“So, whether you’re 70 or seven years old, or anywhere in between, we now have four different price levels, depending on where you want to sit.”
One season ticket holder last year – who also happens to be a senior and wishes to remain anonymous – contacted 250News this week and said he canceled his two season tickets because it would’ve boosted his two tickets from $830 to $1,440 a year.
The fan said he didn’t feel a whole lot of sympathy for the team considering all the money they’ve lost.
“No, I don’t. If they had proposed a 10 per cent increase I would have swallowed it. I might have even swallowed 20 per cent. That’s not unreasonable, I would’ve grumbled but I would have paid it but my pocketbook doesn’t allow for a $600 increase.”
Goodwin admits there’s been some push back from season ticket holders since the plan was announced but says there’s also been more inquiries from people interested in buying new packages too.
“So, with people wanting to stay in their seats, I get that. But the cool thing is we have some great options in the arena that can fit everybody’s budget.”
Pocock adds the Cougars are far from the only team to adopt “location based pricing.”
“When we looked at the WHL specifically, there are only seven teams that continue to do tickets on an “aged based” system,” he says.
“The other 15 teams have all adjusted it to location based or a hybrid model that includes a portion of age based and location based pricing. We’re lower than the league average in every category and in three or four categories we’re lower than every team in B.C and our red zone is the second cheapest.
“We know it’s a big change for people and we sympathize, but we don’t think that we are out of line with what the rest of the WHL in doing this.”