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Buying early the best ticket for Senators games

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Buy early and get the best deal.

That's the central message of a new "dynamic pricing" plan unveiled today by the Ottawa Senators. The program rewards fans who jump into line early to purchase tickets to selected high-demand matchups, either through regular on-sales or game packages, while also ensuring that season-seat holders still get the best bargains.

"Dynamic pricing is designed to encourage fans to buy early and reward those fans that do," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "I think the advantage will be more obvious over time. But we're hoping to do a couple of things. One is to encourage fans to buy their tickets earlier. And second, to make our on-sales — when we put a block of tickets on sale for specific games — become more meaningful."

The way the pricing plan works, tickets for certain games will increase in price as it becomes closer to a sellout. In effect, the market determines which games trigger dynamic pricing.

"It's not predetermined," said Leeder. The demand and the fans will determine which games will end up having dynamic pricing. You can look at the schedule and figure out which games it's likely to happen, but it's not predetermined around the league."

The practice of dynamic pricing is common in the airline and hotel industry, Leeder said, with National Hockey League teams just starting to explore that avenue.

"It's just new in the NHL, but it's been done in other sports as well," he said. "In football and baseball, different teams have tried it. In the NHL, Dallas, Philadelphia and L.A. have run models and there are a couple of other teams that are in the process of doing it as well."

Leeder expects dynamic pricing will become "more mainstream" in the next few years.

"There are at least five (NHL) teams that are doing it now and we would expect more as time goes on," he said. "You're just trying to manage what you have for inventory. If you have everybody rushing in at one time to buy your inventory, it makes it more difficult. So if you can spread that out and actually have (the sales) happen earlier, it's easier to manage."

What's important to note is that only a small portion of tickets for any game — "less than 10 per cent and no more than 15 per cent," said Leeder — will be subject to dynamic pricing. It won't apply to season-seat packages, mini-plans or affordable, family-oriented options such as Coke Zero Zone tickets, Metro 4 Packs or Subway Savings Games.

"Those tickets have a set price and they won't change," said Leeder.

Tickets for all December and January home games go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Also available are two holiday game packs. Click here for more details.

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