How Sharks Ticket Prices Have Changed Over the Years
Whenever an organization is under new management, change is inevitable. The San Jose Sharks learned that first hand in 2013 when Hasso Plattner became the team’s majority owner. Initially, there were changes both good and bad, ultimately leading to the Sharks reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016. Included in some of the changes both on and off the ice, Sharks ticket prices have also undergone plenty of change, sometimes in unique and radical ways. Let’s take a closer look at how Sharks ticket prices have changed over the past few years and how fans can get cheap Sharks tickets this season.
A Drop in Demand
Whether coincidence or not, the Sharks experienced a drop in attendance in the years that followed Plattner taking the reins. Part of that was due to a frustrating loss in the 2014 playoffs in a series that San Jose led 3-0. Early in the 2014-15 season, the Sharks saw a sell-out streak of more than 200 games come to an end. After five straight years of selling out every game, the Sharks only had 13 sell-out crowds that season. With season-ticket renewals on the decline and overall ticket sales waiting, the Sharks were forced to create more incentives for fans to renew their season tickets. When the Sharks reached the playoffs in 2016, playoff tickets were offered to season ticket holders at a considerable discount compared to tickets available to the general public.
During this time, the Sharks had some of the cheapest tickets available on the secondary market. In some cases, a large volume of tickets on the secondary market went unsold. The tickets that were sold were purchased at a price well below the face value of the ticket. This forced Sharks ticket prices to continuously drop, creating more incentive for fans to buy tickets.
Following the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016, the Sharks celebrated their 25th season during the 2016-17 campaign. In part because of the 25th anniversary and in part because of the declining ticket sales, the Sharks created a number of promotions during the season to encourage fans to visit the SAP Center, specifically younger fans. One of Plattner’s ideas was to offer ticket prices based on the age of the fan.
In addition to using creative ticket pricing, the Sharks had a wealth of promotions and giveaways throughout the 2016-17 season to help sell more seats. For almost every game, the Sharks were giving away some kind of team apparel, whether it be a t-shirt, coasters, hats, or something a little more inventive. Doing this helped the team to avoid dropping ticket prices too much with the hope of drawing more fans, even as Sharks ticket prices on the secondary market were among the cheapest in the NHL.
One of the primary avenues for keeping old fans and generating new fans during the team’s 25th anniversary season was the creation of Sharks365, a special membership group geared toward the most loyal fans. Sharks fans who joined the group were given special gifts and opportunities to earn discounts, although it didn’t necessarily create a change in the ticket price of most fans either on the primary or the secondary market
A couple of years after Sharks365 was first introduced, the team added even more features to the group. The first was a Ticket Trade program that allowed members to trade tickets for games they knew they couldn’t attend for tickets to other games or upgrades to better seats for certain games. Of course, this is already a common feature many pro sports franchises offer to fans with season ticket plans. Another feature offered to Sharks365 members is the chance to lock-in the price of their season tickets for three years as long as they sign up to be a Sharks365 member for the same amount of time.
Row by Row
More recently, the Sharks have taken a more radical approach to ticket pricing that takes into account the market value of tickets on the secondary market and has led to some tickets within the same section being priced differently based on row. During the 2016-17 season, there were 16 different prices for tickets based on location within the SAP Center. However, that number doubled to 32 different price levels ahead of the 2017-18 season.
The biggest increase in Sharks ticket prices was for some of the best seats in the house, which are the club seats that are nearest to the ice. Tickets for those seats increased by 8% while non-club seats in the rows closest to the ice saw a more modest 2.5% increase in the ticket price. Tickets in those same sections but in rows further from the ice did not increase as much in price, which is what helped to double the pricing groups for Sharks games. The end result is a wide variety of ticket pricing options for fans at shark games depending not just on the section of the seat but the row within the section. While somewhat complex, it offers Sharks fans more options when looking for the perfect seat.