Calgary jacks up Grey Cup ticket prices
Canadian football fans will have to dig deeper if they want to attend this year's Grey Cup in Calgary.
Ticket prices for the 2009 CFL championship game at McMahon Stadium will range from $195 to $370, according to notices sent out this week to Stampeders season ticket holders. That's up from the $87 to $274 charged for the 2008 contest in Montreal.
Stampeders season ticket holders will get a break, as they'll pay between $119 and $295.
"We've created a two-tier system in that season ticket holders are entitled to one price, and public seats are entitled to a separate price," said Greg Albrecht, president of the 2009 Grey Cup Festival.
"Obviously, we want to see our season ticket holders get the benefit of their commitment with the Stampeders."
Stampeders president Scott Ackles said one reason for the price increase is a relative lack of seating at McMahon Stadium, which typically holds 35,650 fans for football games.
An announced crowd of 66,308 at Olympic Stadium saw the Stampeders defeat the Montreal Alouettes in last year's Grey Cup game, the second-largest attendance figure ever.
At last year's CFL championship in Montreal, fans shelled out between $87 and $277, while tickets ranged from $94 to $560 in 2007 in Toronto. The previous year in Winnipeg, fans paid between $141 and $275.
"The Grey Cups the last three years have all been in 55,000-to 60,000-seat stadiums, and the most we can seat is about 45,000," Stampeders part-owner Ted Hellard told the Calgary Herald earlier this month.
"Obviously, with less tickets out there, you're going to have a stronger demand. But only time will tell."
Football fan Chas Young told CBC News she's been to the last nine Grey Cups, but can't afford to attend this year in her hometown.
"They make lots of money from us all through the year. Grey Cup is just a big cash grab because they do up the prices astronomically," Young said.
"To demand from us little wee ones to pay the big bucks … yeah, I'm not too happy with them for that."
In November, CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said he wasn't in favour of cutting ticket prices in light of the current economic slowdown.
He said the problem with lowering ticket prices is that it gets difficult to bring them back up again.
Meanwhile, the National Football League announced in November it would reduce playoff ticket prices by an average of 10 per cent in response to the economic crisis in the United States.
Cohon said he would prefer teams in his league explore ticket packages and incentives rather than reducing prices.
"Our games are very affordable, and I believe we would be better served to take an aggressive approach to tickets," he said, adding aggressive companies are the ones that tend to survive tough economic times.
The CFL is in good shape, Cohon added, pointing to league attendance that topped two million for the seventh year in a row in 2008 and a salary cap that will remain at $4.2 million for 2009.