By David Pollak
Tickets to comparable seats for a Sharks game next season will cost more if they're located in the end of the rink where the home team shoots twice.
"We've structured our seating so it's priced higher for the attack end and not as high for the non-attack end," executive vice-president for business Malcolm Bordelon said. "It's far and away the preferred location for fans of all walks in life and has become a common process around the league."
Bordelon said 15 other NHL teams have a similar system in place and others are expected to make the change this summer, all part of the variable pricing trend in pro sports that factors in supply and demand in establishing price. The price gap depending on which end zone the seat is in will be $1 to $4.
Season-ticket holders will receive their invoices this week for 2012-13. Overall, prices are going up about 6.5 percent -- though that figure will vary from section to section. Pricing for single-game seats will not be announced until after the schedule is revealed and for a second season will be determined by opponent, night of the week and demand.
Fans not wanting to pay extra for sitting in the attack zone during the first and third periods will have the opportunity to switch their seats to the opposite end of the ice.
"If it's a pain threshold issue — and I don't think it went up that dramatically — but if someone in 212 said I don't
The Sharks also have increased the number of distinct ticket price levels at HP Pavilion from 11 to 18.
"It's going to allow us to price more accurately based on seating location," director of ticket sales John Castro said. As an example, he noted that a ticket in the second row at center ice in the upper bowl has always cost the same as one in the twelfth row of a corner section.
"We think that's not very consistent in terms of what it should be priced," he added.
As an example, Castro noted that the sideline upper bowl seats stretched from section 212 to 218 until now and cost season-ticket holders $53 each. Going forward, it'll be broken into three different price ranges with 212 and 213 considered the attack zone ($59), 214-216 center ice ($56), and 217 and 218 in the non-attack end (no increase at $53).
In the lower bowl, a reserved seat that cost $75 last season will cost $80 in the attack-twice zone and $76 at the other end.
Club seats will be the same at either end of the rink because they carry additional perks; those at center ice are increasing from $122 to $130 while those in the corner and ends are going from $112 to $120. The biggest increase next season will be for club seats on the glass, a $20 bump to $192 each.
Bordelon said the staff has looked into the change in pricing for the last few years and decided this was the time to implement it with ownership's blessing.
"Every business is expected to generate additional revenue," he said. "We wanted to do it in a fashion that we could still achieve the revenue goal we wanted to achieve, make it as palatable as possible and -- of course, as anybody does -- capitalize on the most appealing inventory."
He likened it to hotels charging extra for identical rooms with better views.
The decision had to be made, Bordelon said, before the Sharks' early playoff exit -- and that means the team's post-season performance can never really be much of a factor in pricing.