NHL playoffs: The sky-high ticket prices for Round 1 home games in Canada

All four Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs have home games coming up and if you are looking to see one in person, it’ll cost you a pretty penny.

Tuesday night both Vancouver and Winnipeg play at home, followed by Toronto and Edmonton on Wednesday.

The most expensive tickets, according to Ticketmaster as of late Tuesday afternoon eastern time, were for the Toronto game, followed by Vancouver, then Edmonton and lastly Winnipeg.

In Toronto, the most expensive tickets stood at $2,711.25 for Game 3 of their series against Boston. They were resale tickets.

Moshe Lander, from the department of economics at Concordia University who also specializes in sports economics, said the sky-high prices all come down to supply and demand.

“It’s as simple as that,” he told Global News.

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“The arenas have a fixed number of seats that are available, and all of a sudden, bandwagoner Leaf fans find their way to interest in the team and think that it’s now time to go to a game. And so all of those new fans that start showing up add to demand. And when demand increases and supply is fixed, prices go up.

“The Leafs are merely looking to capitalize on it. No different than the Jets, the Canucks, the Oilers, or any other American team that’s in the playoffs.”

Here’s a look at how much tickets cost ahead of the Canadian home games this week:

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins

Wednesday at 7 p.m. E.T. at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto

The cheapest price for a single standard ticket was listed at $369.25 for up top in section 317, row 10X. If you buy a pair of two tickets, the cheapest price drops to $318.12 per ticket in section 321S, row 19 (resale tickets).

In terms of most expensive, for a single standard ticket in section 107 , row 1 (near the glass), it was priced at $1,802.25. For a pair of two tickets, the most expensive price jumped to $2,711.25 per ticket in section 108, row 1 (resale tickets).

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Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators


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Tuesday at 7 p.m. P.T. at Rogers Arena in Vancouver

The cheapest single ticket (a resale) was listed for section 317, row 13 at $310.97. If you are looking to buy a pair of tickets together, the cheapest for each stood at around $300 in the 300-level and they were all resale tickets.

The most expensive for a single seat was listed as $1,208.79 for section 107, row 1, which is right on the glass (a resale ticket). Two tickets purchased together in section 117, row 6 would set you back $2,420 each. They were also listed as resale tickets.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings

Wednesday at 8 p.m. M.T. at Rogers Place in Edmonton

The cheapest single seats were listed for section 218 or 204, at $256.20, which is upper-level, both being resale tickets.

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Two or more of the cheapest tickets purchased together will set you back $230+ each.

The costliest single ticket (a resale) was listed for section 126, row 1 which is right on the glass at $810.08, while the most expensive pair of tickets (also resale) was listed for section 101, row 8 at $1,769 each.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Colorado Avalanche

Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. C.T. at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg

The lowest price for a single ticket (a resale) was listed as $260.15 for section 318, row 11 in the upper level. The cheapest pair of tickets will set you back $214.87 each in section 306, also resale tickets.

The most expensive single ticket (a resale) was listed for section 213, row 6 at $1,064.25, while the most expensive pair was for section 121, row 11 at $709.50 each, also resale tickets.

Canadian Stanley Cup drought adding to demand: Lander

Part of what may be driving the demand for tickets is that it has been since 1993 that a Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup, Lander said.

“So everyone kind of hopes that this is finally going to be the year,” he said.

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“Winning gets old. And so as counterintuitive as it is, if the Leafs or any team had a continued run a success, you’d actually find that it’s harder to raise ticket prices because people will say, ‘been there, done that.’”

In today’s social media age, consumers also want “to be seen,” Lander said, and heading to a playoff game — especially in the lower bowl where it’s more likely to be seen on TV — is a way to do it.

It’s also a way for people to flaunt conspicuous consumption, he said.

The younger generation also seems to value experiences more than accumulating physical goods, and going to an NHL playoff game is one of those unforgettable experiences, Lander added.

There are, of course, the diehard fans who also just have to be at the game, he said.

And given the supply and demand, he said he doesn’t think the prices are unwarranted.

“People are willing to pay it. If you see that the arena is half empty, then that’s one thing. But the arena is going to be packed. And so obviously, then these prices are not outrageous,” he said.

Lander said to some extent corporations have bought up the tickets, but regardless, they are dispensed to someone.

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“It’s still human beings that go there. It’s not corporations that go there,” he said.

And people may be nostalgic about times when tickets were cheaper, but ultimately times are different, Lander said.

“It’s a different time. And again, because you have a generation that values experience more than possessions, these are the types of experiences that only come around 41 times in the regular season and maybe only 5 to 10 times in the playoffs.”

Lander also said sports teams are simply good at their business.

“The reality is that sports is very good at controlling their product and limiting the number of games that they offer and that helps put in some of that pricing power,” he said.

And if a team makes it to the next round, ticket prices will do “nothing but go up and there will be a spillover effect into next year’s tickets, Lander said.

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