As many Canadians are aware, being a sports fan can be rather expensive – especially if you follow the country’s favourite sports league, the NHL. In fact, NHL tickets in Canada can cost much more than they do in America, so in this article, we’re going to explore the hows and whys of NHL ticket prices across Canada.
According to the Montreal Gazette, the cheapest seating for a Montreal Canadiens game is around $50, which doesn’t seem too bad – it’s around the average for attending a live event, whether its a sports game or a music concert. Of course, this is the price of attending a single game, and most serious hockey fans would prefer attending several of their favourite team’s games, no?
In that case, we look over at season tickets, and this is where things get rather expensive. When you compare the average monthly salary of various cities in Canada to the price of season tickets for that city’s team, you find that Toronto season tickets are around 62% of a month’s salary for entry-level seating, with Montreal season tickets costing an equal amount for nosebleed seats, followed by Vancouver and Winnipeg as Canadian cities where season tickets cost over half of a month’s salary.
Corporate Ticket Holders and Ticket Scalpers
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most expensive team to follow, mostly because their games are the most popular. While annual hikes in ticket prices aren’t anything unusual for sports teams, the Maple Leafs have been increasing by around 15% annually for several years. This is partially due to the popularity of the team, but also the fact that a majority of Scotiabank Arena’s seats are reserved for season ticket holders, including corporations. In fact, as of writing, the Maple Leafs can’t even offer season tickets to new members, due to high demand. You’re placed on a waiting list.
Another factor in the high price of NHL tickets is the resale market, which further drives up the price. According to Norm O’Reilly, the Director of the International Institute for Sports Business and Leadership at the University of Guelph, a majority of NHL game attendees are not actually the original ticket purchasers. The tickets are most commonly obtained through corporate giveaways, or resale.
Some have blamed the practice of ‘ticket scalping’, or reselling tickets at outrageous markup. The Ontario government announced legislation to cap ticket resales at 50% of their face value back in 2017, citing “scalper bots” as a harmful practice (automated software for purchasing and reselling tickets). And yet in 2019, Premier Doug Ford’s government scrapped the proposed legislation, claiming it would be “unenforceable” and drive ticket purchasers to the black market. Now in 2020, ticket prices are higher than ever.
Of course it all boils down to supply and demand, and it’s not like Canada has any claim to the title of “most expensive sports tickets in the world”. Just cross the border to watch some American football, where fans of the New England Patriots can expect to pay over $700 USD for game tickets.
With all that said, let’s take a look at the most and least expensive NHL teams to follow, based on average ticket prices in 2019 (data from TicketIQ).
- Toronto Maple Leafs – $325
- New York Rangers – $225
- Boston Bruins – $215
- Winnipeg Jets – $205
- Vegas Golden Knights – $199
- Arizona Coyotes – $66
- Vancouver Canucks – $68
- Carolina Hurricanes – $74
- Anaheim Ducks – $78
- St. Louis Blues – $85
The bottom line? For the cheapest NHL tickets, move to the hottest parts of the United States.