Memorial Cup ticket prices criticized

Memorial Cup ticket prices criticized

Hockey fans are picking up their tournament packages for the upcoming 2017 Memorial Cup at the WFCU Centre.

But some fans are balking at the ticket prices.

Tournament packages have sold for as much $885. The cheapest single game tickets now on sale are $75, compared to around $20 for the cheapest regular season ticket for a Windsor Spitfires game.

The cost didn't stop Debi Curran and her husband.

"This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity," she told CBC News.

The Currans paid more than $1,300 for a tournament package - more than they pay for season tickets for the Spitfires. But she agrees the Memorial Cup prices are too high.

"Well, it's not fair," said Curran after picking up her tickets at the WFCU Centre. "You have people who maybe can't afford to purchase the full package and would like to come to see the games."

Empty seats and high prices at World Juniors

Hockey expert Craig Greenham says Memorial Cup ticket prices should be in the $50 range to keep them more affordable. He believes fans are being gouged and players are being exploited. He also believes there will be empty seats at the bowl due to the pricing.

"There's this underlying assumption that Canadians will pay anything for elite hockey," said Greenham, an assistant professor of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor. "Recent evidence suggests that they won't."

Greenham is referring to the empty seats at the recent World Junior Hockey Championships in Montreal and Toronto, where fans had to fork over more than $1,000 for packages.

But John Savage, chairperson of the local host committee for the Memorial Cup, says Windsor prices are actually on par or lower than previous Memorial Cups. He added ticket prices only cover costs, such as chartering airplanes for the teams and putting up players and their families in hotels.

'It's really a break even proposition'

"Just looking at the work and effort that has to go into this, it's really a break even proposition," said Savage, co-owner of the Windsor Spitfires.

"We are renting the WFCU facilities. A hundred per cent of them for the ten days the events are being staged out there," he said.

"So there's a lot of costs that go into making up the budget that then has to be looked at and figured how much we should be charging per ticket," said Savage.

But Savage would not reveal the total budget for the tournament. He referred CBC News instead to the Canadian Hockey League but, so far, the league has not responded to our requests for an interview.

Greenham doesn't buy the idea that the tournament doesn't turn a profit.

"If they (the CHL) were losing money they would be fighting hard to change the system in their favour but they're not. They're fighting hard to keep the status quo," said Greenham.

Despite the prices, Savage said the tickets are selling as well as expected. Single game tickets are still available.

If you're looking for a bargain, tickets for the May 27 alumni game featuring former NHL and Spitfire players are only $15.