Stargazing: Dallas Stars announce "dynamic" ticket pricing

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars news, as well as a look at what's happening around the Pacific division and the rest of the NHL. Stargazing will run every other day or so, now that things are picking up, becoming a daily feature once the preseason begins.

The Dallas Stars have announced that for the 2009-2010 season, they'll be adjusting ticket prices to match the "value" of a particular game. Prices won't vary wildly, but the marketplace will have a hand in determining the value of a game like never before in the NHL. And while letting the market dictate prices might not exactly be news in most industries, this case is getting quite a bit of coverage and we'll recap it all for you here on Stargazing.

Meanwhile in Traverse City, third time's the charm for the Dallas prospects as they defeat the Columbus bunch by a score of 4-3 in what is being described as a "hard fought" victory. Stars goaltending prospect Richard Bachman rebounded from a shaky performance in their first game (a 9-6 loss) to get the win for Dallas.

We're a mere 3 days from the official training camp open, and we've got plenty of Stars reading to get you ready on today's Stargazing...

After the jump, "Dynamic ticket prices" garner national pub, the Stars prospects win one in Traverse City, Ivan Vishnevskiy, and more news and notes for your Dallas Stars.

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The Stars have entered into a partnership with a company called Qcue, that will help them adjust the prices of upper level seats only (sorry, no cheap suites on a Tuesday in January). The first block of prices is out for October and November games. A "Premium Terrace" ticket for the first home game of the year will be $60, and the same ticket for the second home game of the year (a Wednesday vs Nashville) will run you only $36. Quite a difference. Says Jeff Cogen:

"We are very excited to partner with Qcue and introduce dynamic pricing to our fans this season," said Stars President Jeff Cogen. "The system is very flexible and will create fantastic opportunities to come watch the Dallas Stars. In an environment where everyone is looking for the best value possible, dynamic pricing will truly benefit both our team and our fans."

 

This is a first for NHL teams, but not an unheard of strategy around sports. Last year Dallas had $15 tickets to all February home games, adjusting for a down year and an empty barn (And trust me, at least in our section, it really worked). All sports teams engage in this kind of discounting when the chips are down. The other side of the coin has always been true as well, as Boston Bruins fans are finding out with their recent success.

The difference here of course, is that they're not doing poorly yet. They're not doing well yet. So why adjust any prices? They're setting this data on the historical trends, the nights of the week, the opponent and their star players.The USA Today:

"We're really looking at much more matching the value of the game to the price of the ticket than we are just a carnival game," said Barry Kahn, chief executive of Qcue, the Austin-based software company that is implementing the plan for the Stars.

 

Another question people might have: How do season seat holders feel about this? Full disclosure, I buy my seats from my father. We split the games as our busy schedules and families allow. We pay $21 a seat. Even at the cheapest, the variable pricing has similar seats going for as cheap as $24 dollars. Translation: I think it's a good thing. Sorry Los Angeles, you're not worth the same admission price as the Maple Leafs are on October 28th, but I'm not upset that my price is the same for both games. If it helps put the butts in the seats, it might help payroll, so I'm all for it even if that bathroom line on a Wednesday against St Louis is a little longer than it usually is.

CNET says they've taken all of this season ticket holder mumbo jumbo into consideration...

Fan reaction
One of the biggest potential issues the Stars might face while using Qcue's technology is fan response. Prices swing wildly between games. In fact, Premium terrace seats will be offered for $36 for the Stars' October 14 game. Just two days later, those same seats will be offered for $60. Granted, Dallas plays against Boston the second night, and it's a Friday night, but will a $24 price swing really appeal to fans?

Moore thinks so. And he doesn't believe that $24 is a wild swing. He said that "if there are wild swings, there might be some kickbacks, but we don't plan to have any wild swings." In the end, he said, the Stars' main goal is to "protect season ticket holder value."

The Dallas Business Journal took notice.

By the way, the steal of this early group of tickets looks to be the Hurricanes on Monday, November 23rd. An Eastern Conference opponent and a premium terrace seat for $36 bucks. Not bad.

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Every game so far has been an improvement for the Stars prospects in Traverse City. They earned their first victory on Wednesday, defeating the Blue Jackets by a score of 4-3. The power play and goaltending helped get the job done:

"It’s good sometimes to get tested, especially if you get through it," Bachman said. "You get a lot of confidence."

The Stars built on that confidence by going up 2-0 on a power play goal in the second period. Scott McCulloch jabbed in a puck that had trickled through the pads of Columbus goalie Jamie Tucker. Zak Stebner and Scott Glennie had the assists on the play.

Richard Bachman was great in goal as he had 35 saves and allowed only two 5-on-3 goals and a puck that deflected in off of his own defenseman

Mike Heika breaks down the big picture for the prospect tournament so far.

The Stars will play Detroit in the fifth place game tomorrow at 2pm Central.

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Mark Stepneski has a great piece on Stars prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy up today at Andrew's Stars Page. Like Jamie Benn, Vishnevskiy is finding a lot of eyes looking his way this go around:

"I just have to work on everything," said Vishnevskiy. "Join the rush and be like the fourth forward, move the puck quick, see my play before I get the puck. The NHL is really quick, so you have to know one or two plays before you get the puck."

Cracking the Stars' roster out of training camp might be a tall order, but there's a belief that with a strong showing Vishnevskiy will get a chance to see more time in the NHL this season.

"Great skill, great skater, good passer," said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. "With the loss of [Sergei] Zubov, it's a great opportunity for a kid like that."

Sounds like Marc Crawford's kind of guy, no?

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Want some free tickets? Drive on up to Mckinney for the opening of the newest Dr. Pepper Star Center next Saturday on September 19th. They'll have free tickets for everyone in attendance.

The public is invited to check out the new facility on the southeast corner of Alma and Collin McKinney Pkwy for the ceremony followed by free public skating from 12:30-2 p.m. Not only will there be free skating, but everyone in attendance will receive two free tickets to a Dallas Stars home pre-season game, and if McKinney residents can’t make a game, not to worry. It won’t be long before the team will be practicing here in McKinney. The Dallas Stars Hockey Club will practice at the McKinney rink once a year with the first practice scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4.

 

Around the NHL:

 

Citing two unnamed league executives, the Sun claims the Senators are involved in trade discussions with the San Jose Sharks that could also include the Los Angeles Kings.

According to the paper, Heatley would be on his way to the Sharks, center Patrick Marleau would move south to Los Angeles, and forwards Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll would end up in Ottawa

The Stars may have to adjust ticket prices again! ;)

 

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