Vindy.com

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mahoning Valley's least expensive seats are the most costly in its league



Mahoning Valley's least expensive seats are the most costly in its league

By DON SHILLING
and JOE SCALZO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITERS

There's nothing minor league about Mahoning Valley Thunder ticket prices.

With its inaugural kickoff two days away, the team is already atop the league in one key statistic. Youngstown's cheapest seats are the most expensive of the 31 teams in the af2 league.

Sitting in the top of the end zone — the least-expensive seat — at the Chevrolet Centre costs $18.50.

Two-thirds of af2 teams charge $10 or less for their end-zone seats.

Scott Linhart of Columbiana, who was watching a Youngstown SteelHounds hockey game recently, said he thinks the Thunder would attract more fans if the tickets cost between $10 and $30. The Thunder's most expensive ticket is $53.50.

"I've got six boys, from age 15 down to 8, and there's no way I could afford it. It's nice to go to SteelHounds game, and tonight I paid $80. That's livable," he said.

The cheap seats for the SteelHounds tickets go for as little as $8, while the area's other minor league draw, baseball's Mahoning Valley Scrappers, sell their lowest ticket for $6.

Adam Tokash, Thunder general manager, said he hasn't heard any complaints about the team's ticket prices.

"We're extremely happy. Our first set of goals have been reached," he said.

The numbers

The Thunder had hoped to reach 1,500 season tickets but had sold nearly 1,800 as of Wednesday. The number is still growing, plus several hundred single-game tickets are being bought each day, Tokash said.

He expects the first game Saturday to be close to a sellout.

In a weekly ticket report put out by the league, the Thunder has consistently ranked about fifth in sales and revenue so far this year, he said.

"It shows the support of the Valley for its football and for arena football," he said.

Tokash said comparisons among af2 ticket prices can be misleading. Teams with large arenas can offer lower-priced seats because those seats are farther away from the action, he said.

The team in Spokane, Wash., for example, offers $6 seats, but the arena holds 12,500 people.

The Chevrolet Centre seats about 5,700, not counting about 300 seats in the luxury suites. It is among the smallest in the league, Tokash said.

Another newcomer to arena football this year, Boise, Idaho, is off to a slower sales start than the Thunder.

The Boise Burn has a goal of selling 1,500 season tickets, but had sold only 800 as of Friday, said Ben Cottier, director of ticketing. The team doesn't play its first home game until April 21, however.

Tokash said ticket prices can't be judged only by the least-expensive seats.

The Thunder's midpriced seats, $28.50 and $33.50, compare favorably with many teams, he said.

The Thunder's most expensive seats are the front row, which cost $53.50. Tokash said not many of those are left.

The most popular option among season-ticket buyers has been the middle two sections on each side, which cost $43.50 for a single game. Tokash said these were almost sold out.

Trying another route

One arena team is going in the opposite direction with its ticket prices.

The Green Bay Blizzard cut its ticket prices last year and saw its average attendance soar from 2,800 to nearly 7,000. Its arena holds about 7,700. Season tickets grew from 320 in 2005 to nearly 1,800 last year.

The team cut its front-row tickets from $29 to $22, its midpriced tickets from $23 to $15 and its cheapest seats from $10 to $7.

Attendance also may have been up because the team won its conference title last year.

Jim Craft, general manager, said wealthy markets can charge more, but the Blizzard's new owners, who took over three years ago, realized that the team had to offer lower prices to attract crowds.

"Our philosophy is to get more people involved and make it exciting," he said.

Heather Gomez, director of team services and operations for the Chicago-based af2, said teams are free to set their own ticket prices. The biggest factors are the size of the arena and size of the market, she said.

All of the Thunder tickets carry a building fee of $3.50, which is included in the prices quoted above. The fee helps to provide free parking at some downtown sites.

As with other teams, buyers of Thunder tickets will pay other fees if they buy their tickets online. For Internet sales, the Thunder uses gettix.net, which charges service fees ranging from $2.50 to $4 per ticket.

That fee can be avoided by buying tickets at the arena or at the Thunder office, 888 Boardman-Canfield Road, Suite A, Boardman.

What fans say

Fans at a recent SteelHounds game at the arena were split on their opinions on Thunder prices.

Sherry Infante of Canfield said she thinks Thunder tickets "are a little high," especially compared with SteelHounds tickets.

"I'm wondering what makes [the Thunder] so expensive," said Infante, who has season tickets for the SteelHounds and has been to every game except a morning game held recently for schoolchildren.

James Gratz of Boardman, however, said he didn't think Thunder prices were too bad.

"I wouldn't go higher than $25," he said.

Ken Seeds of Boardman has club seats for SteelHounds.

"I think $50 is fair. I mean, the $50 tickets are prime tickets. They do a great job here, and it's a great venue," he said.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mahoning Valley's least expensive seats are the most costly in its league

By DON SHILLING
and JOE SCALZO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITERS

There's nothing minor league about Mahoning Valley Thunder ticket prices.

With its inaugural kickoff two days away, the team is already atop the league in one key statistic. Youngstown's cheapest seats are the most expensive of the 31 teams in the af2 league.

Sitting in the top of the end zone — the least-expensive seat — at the Chevrolet Centre costs $18.50.

Two-thirds of af2 teams charge $10 or less for their end-zone seats.

Scott Linhart of Columbiana, who was watching a Youngstown SteelHounds hockey game recently, said he thinks the Thunder would attract more fans if the tickets cost between $10 and $30. The Thunder's most expensive ticket is $53.50.

"I've got six boys, from age 15 down to 8, and there's no way I could afford it. It's nice to go to SteelHounds game, and tonight I paid $80. That's livable," he said.

The cheap seats for the SteelHounds tickets go for as little as $8, while the area's other minor league draw, baseball's Mahoning Valley Scrappers, sell their lowest ticket for $6.

Adam Tokash, Thunder general manager, said he hasn't heard any complaints about the team's ticket prices.

"We're extremely happy. Our first set of goals have been reached," he said.

The numbers

The Thunder had hoped to reach 1,500 season tickets but had sold nearly 1,800 as of Wednesday. The number is still growing, plus several hundred single-game tickets are being bought each day, Tokash said.

He expects the first game Saturday to be close to a sellout.

In a weekly ticket report put out by the league, the Thunder has consistently ranked about fifth in sales and revenue so far this year, he said.

"It shows the support of the Valley for its football and for arena football," he said.

Tokash said comparisons among af2 ticket prices can be misleading. Teams with large arenas can offer lower-priced seats because those seats are farther away from the action, he said.

The team in Spokane, Wash., for example, offers $6 seats, but the arena holds 12,500 people.

The Chevrolet Centre seats about 5,700, not counting about 300 seats in the luxury suites. It is among the smallest in the league, Tokash said.

Another newcomer to arena football this year, Boise, Idaho, is off to a slower sales start than the Thunder.

The Boise Burn has a goal of selling 1,500 season tickets, but had sold only 800 as of Friday, said Ben Cottier, director of ticketing. The team doesn't play its first home game until April 21, however.

Tokash said ticket prices can't be judged only by the least-expensive seats.

The Thunder's midpriced seats, $28.50 and $33.50, compare favorably with many teams, he said.

The Thunder's most expensive seats are the front row, which cost $53.50. Tokash said not many of those are left.

The most popular option among season-ticket buyers has been the middle two sections on each side, which cost $43.50 for a single game. Tokash said these were almost sold out.

Trying another route

One arena team is going in the opposite direction with its ticket prices.

The Green Bay Blizzard cut its ticket prices last year and saw its average attendance soar from 2,800 to nearly 7,000. Its arena holds about 7,700. Season tickets grew from 320 in 2005 to nearly 1,800 last year.

The team cut its front-row tickets from $29 to $22, its midpriced tickets from $23 to $15 and its cheapest seats from $10 to $7.

Attendance also may have been up because the team won its conference title last year.

Jim Craft, general manager, said wealthy markets can charge more, but the Blizzard's new owners, who took over three years ago, realized that the team had to offer lower prices to attract crowds.

"Our philosophy is to get more people involved and make it exciting," he said.

Heather Gomez, director of team services and operations for the Chicago-based af2, said teams are free to set their own ticket prices. The biggest factors are the size of the arena and size of the market, she said.

All of the Thunder tickets carry a building fee of $3.50, which is included in the prices quoted above. The fee helps to provide free parking at some downtown sites.

As with other teams, buyers of Thunder tickets will pay other fees if they buy their tickets online. For Internet sales, the Thunder uses gettix.net, which charges service fees ranging from $2.50 to $4 per ticket.

That fee can be avoided by buying tickets at the arena or at the Thunder office, 888 Boardman-Canfield Road, Suite A, Boardman.

What fans say

Fans at a recent SteelHounds game at the arena were split on their opinions on Thunder prices.

Sherry Infante of Canfield said she thinks Thunder tickets "are a little high," especially compared with SteelHounds tickets.

"I'm wondering what makes [the Thunder] so expensive," said Infante, who has season tickets for the SteelHounds and has been to every game except a morning game held recently for schoolchildren.

James Gratz of Boardman, however, said he didn't think Thunder prices were too bad.

"I wouldn't go higher than $25," he said.

Ken Seeds of Boardman has club seats for SteelHounds.

"I think $50 is fair. I mean, the $50 tickets are prime tickets. They do a great job here, and it's a great venue," he said.

Thursday, March 29, 2007
the least-expensive seat — at the Chevrolet Centre costs $18.50. Two-thirds of af2 teams charge $10 or less for...