Nine Bucks? Lites and Gaglardi Drop Dallas Stars Ticket Prices to Reunion Arena Levels.

Categories: Biz, Sports
GaglardiandLites.JPG
Dallas Stars
Tom Gaglardi, at center, is new to town. He's trying to make a good impression. Jim Lites, at right, is helping him do that.
Dallas Stars President Jim Lites says: No, this was not his idea. He wants to be clear about that. Interim team president Tony Tavares was already working on a plan to lower Stars ticket prices, Lites tells Unfair Park. But, of course, he could do no such thing -- not while the team was in bankruptcy, "not when the team was owned by 40 creditors." But Lites is in charge now -- in charge again, I should say, brought back by new owner Tom Gaglardi to restore the luster to a once-great franchise. And so, one of his first orders of business is to do what Tavares could not: make it inexpensive to attend a Dallas Stars hockey game at the American Airlines Center.

How inexpensive? Like, is nine dollars inexpensive?

On the other side you will find the freshly minted seating and pricing chart, which makes its bow a little earlier than expected. (Initially, the team was going to unveil its new low, low prices at midnight tonight, but Ticketmaster's little note today pushed that up a wee bit.) Mezzanine seats that cost $35 yesterday will run you $25 now; plaza seats that cost you anywhere from $70 to $125 yesterday will now run $70 and not a cent more. And StarsClub Premium seats that were $125-$150 will now be priced at $110. Says Lites, not only has the team cut prices, but it has simplified the structure.

The complicated tiering, says Lites, stemmed in large part from the move from Reunion Arena to the AAC -- that, and the "dynamic pricing" roll-out that made things even screwier back in '09. "We had five pricing structures led to seven led to nine led to 13," he says, "which was too many."

Says Gaglardi in a prepared statement, "One of the first things we did as a management team was look at individual ticket prices. The fans spoke and we listened. We're pleased that we can now offer a $9 ticket and we feel that these new prices make Stars games more affordable. Our team needs a full building every night to give us a true home-ice advantage."

Lites points to the game against Toronto the night after Thanksgiving, when the arena was sold out -- thanks, in large part, to the Student Rush program that makes available $30 lower-section seats on game day. He says thousands lined up for those ducats. "And it was electric," he says. "We don't want to be seen as cheap. It's a fair price for great entertainment."

Now, of course, you're more than likely going to ask about that October report showing the Dallas Stars as having the lowest average ticket price in the league at $29.95. Lites says that due in part to special deals necessitated by low attendance, and by the stacks of comps given out to fill seats. As Rob Scichili, the team's assistant veep of communications, put it when we talked today: "While I like the fact our average ticket price is low compared to the other 29 teams, what really matters is what our fans think of the price and if they want to pay it to come watch NHL hockey in Dallas."

Scichili acknowledges average home attendance has been low this season -- 11,470 per game through 14 home contests (which is up from 10,648 a few weeks ago). There were some bad gates in October, in large part because for the second year in a row the Rangers went to the World Series. "But attendance in November was better than October," says Scichili. "We benefited in having games around Thanksgiving, and people are thinking about hockey. Around here casual fans don't think about hockey in October. They're still wrapped up in baseball and football. Historically we've always been strong in the spring."

The price reduction, Lites says, when combined with realignment ("When your product -- your three-hour infomercial -- is on when nobody's watching, it's a waste") and the rise of younger players like Kari Lehtonen and Loui Eriksson and new ownership, really ought to get folks back in the AAC.

"One of my favorite people in Dallas is Mark Cuban, he says, "who, despite the demand, kept Mavericks tickets at reasonable prices. When we moved into the AAC, the decision was made to raise prices." Why? "Because people wanted in. We were never in a better position than we were on that day." And now, it's time to hit the reset button.

"People come to Dallas not to retire, not to get a tan, but to work, to raise a family," Lites says. "And they want to pay a fair price for great entertainment."Seating Chart Individual
My Voice Nation Help
19 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
white rock hockey wannabe
white rock hockey wannabe

where can kids play south of lbj?  the closest to us is in farmers branch wich miight as well be on the moon during ruch hour when most practice times are.

Guest
Guest

There's something south of LBJ?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Wait a minute...THAT'S why the burbs exist!

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

I'm from up north, where kids can actually PLAY hockey.  Let's face it, how do you get kids in Texas excited about a sport they can't play?  There's never going to be a committed core of fans who grow up with the sport here, so the long-term prospects have always been dim.  This is something the entire NHL really needs to think about.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

There's quite a few Dr. Pepper/Stars centers around the metroplex. It's my understanding if it's difficult to play hockey it's because the rinks are always in demand and we could use more.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

how long have you been here?The kids here don't play as much as they do up north, but if they want to play there are places all over the metroplex to play.

jfpo
jfpo

I hope Stars fans take advantage and fill the arena again so we don't wind up with the Vancouver Stars.

Bob
Bob

Better idea: return the NORTH Stars and their kelly green to their rightful city. Dallas can have the Wild.

jfpo
jfpo

You just tugged on my St. Paul - born - heart a little bit.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

"When we moved into the AAC, the decision was made to raise prices." Why? "Because people wanted in"

I disagree.  Ticket prices were raised because Tom Hicks didn't give a shit about his customers and long term fan involvement, he viewed the fans as an ATM.  Part of the reason there are so many empty seats now is because people like me haven't purchased a ticket since the team moved to the AAC .  I was a season ticket holder for the last five years in Reunion and have never heard from the Stars since I gave up my tickets.

Guesty McG
Guesty McG

We have a similar story.  We had season tickets the last four years at Reunion and gave up after one year at the AAC.  Reunion was a great place to watch hockey.  The AAC is a place to party and watch the blinking lights.

Also, during the 90s the Stars had worthwhile season ticket holder programs like "Skate with the Stars" and open-to-the-public, kid-friendly events like "Hot Dogs and Hockey Pucks".  After the Cup win and the move to the new building, the Stars organization seemed to care only about their corporate buddies and pretty much shit on the individual fan.

Jim Lites, BTW, was a big part of the move to crap on the loyal fan base around the turn of the century.  Keep that in mind when you hear these recent pronouncements WRT caring about the fans.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

"Dallas Stars President Jim Lites says: No, this was not his idea. He wants to be clear about that"

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I was backing you up, but if you want to be a jerk about it, go ahead. Fucking a, it's Friday, who pissed in your cereal today?

Guesty McG
Guesty McG

I can read, dude.  My point is that there's a lot of noise coming from the Stars about having a philosophy more like Greenberg's and being more fan friendly.  Lites was a big part of the destruction of the Stars' relationship with the average fan.

If you can rebut that with something a little smarter then cut-and-paste, please do.

Smy2k
Smy2k

Don't get me wrong, I think this is great. But as a season ticket holder for several years, I am now quite bummed at the prices I paid for my seats. Every year I wonder why I buy ahead. I do it to support my favorite team and I love going to the games. It would be cool if the loyal fans were thrown a bone every now and then.

G_David
G_David

I like the idea.  The crowds have been anemic - almost as negligible a home field advantage as the Cowboys in their cavernous, moribund living room.  Lower prices will hopefully bring large crowds, which will lead to winning, which will negate the need for the fire-sale prices.

CVOTE
CVOTE

Last month I tried to buy lower level tickets from the box office but though the marquee above the windows said they should still be open till 4PM the blinds were shut. So I called the box office and long story short unless I had plans to buy season tickets or a suite my best bet was to call ticketmaster. And they were ricks with a p about it so I'll spend my money watching the Mavericks lose 25 plus games this season than deal with the Stars.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...