Live sporting events are not so cheap



Planning on taking in an NHL game in either Edmonton or Calgary one of these days?

If the answer is yes, then you might want to make sure your finances are in order first.

According to the latest numbers from Team Marketing Report, Calgary had the third highest fan cost index (FCI) in the National Hockey League last season, while Edmonton sat in seventh.

The Toronto Maple Leafs led the way, with Montreal coming second.

Vancouver is fifth, and 11th place Ottawa was the cheapest Canadian market in which to catch a hockey game.

Now, who is this Team Marketing Report, you may be wondering?

Well, they’re a group based in Chicago that does an annual analysis of the NHL’s 30 clubs, crunches the numbers, and then lets us know what sort of impact going to a game would have on a family of four.

And according to them, the FCI for Flames’ fans went up 1.7% in 2009-2010, with the average cost of attending a hockey game pegged at $366.29 US.

That includes four average price tickets, two small draught beers, four small soft drinks, four regular size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and a pair of cheap, adjustable adult sized hats.

Up in the capital, where the Oilers skated themselves into a last place finish in front of an always sold out Rexall Place, the FCI last season went up 3.1%, to sit at $346.46 US.

Are you kidding me?

Even if you remove the two hats from the FCI equation, you’re still looking at over $300 to spend a night with your family at the rink.

How is the average middle class family supposed to afford that?

Not all of us work in the oil and gas industry and have that much disposable income to throw around.

Heck, not even the oil and gas industry workers have that much extra cash to give away these days.

Just the other day, I read a story that Canadians have surpassed over $1 trillion dollars in mortgage debt, and that our fellow country men and women are swimming in levels of red ink never seen before.

And the powers that be in Edmonton and Calgary think its ok to charge us, on average, over $65 per ticket?

I realize that not all tickets are priced that high (you can get standing room only tickets these days for $40 or cheaper if you buy a bundle of tickets, or “mini-pack”), and I also realize that these numbers aren’t anywhere near Toronto’s league leading FCI of $572.32 or Montreal’s $474.44.

But still, I shouldn’t have to access the equity in my ever devaluing home to take my wife and two young sons to a professional hockey game.

Yes, I’m going to extreme’s here, but the bottom line here is that the price we pay at the turnstiles is far higher than the quality of the product to which we are treated on the ice.

When you look at the top three teams, as far as the FCI is concerned, just one of the three made the playoffs last season, that team being the Canadiens.

Toronto finished just a few points ahead of last place Edmonton, while Calgary missed the post season for the first time since 2003.

By comparison, the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks had an FCI of $350.58, and while that number may be high, it was a 20.2% increase over the 2008-2009 season.

I guess that’s the price you pay to watch the best team in the NHL.

But Calgary and Edmonton are far from being the best in the league, and their ticket prices should reflect that.

Until they do, my money is staying firmly parked in my wallet.