After nearly 2 ½ years of waiting, hockey fans who made deposits on Seattle Kraken general season tickets finally found out what they’ll cost when the team unveiled pricing Tuesday.
Among the more interesting developments: 9,712 tickets will be sold in 22-game half-season plans – the biggest such offering by any NHL team. Depositors can also purchase those seats in both the upper and lower bowls at Climate Pledge Arena, formerly KeyArena, without a multi-year commitment, though there will be options for three years and five years at current pricing.
The cheapest of those seats, in the upper bowl, will be $50, or $1,100 for 22 games while the most expensive lower bowl tickets go for $170 or $3,740 per half-season. Beyond easing costs for fans unwilling to pay the full-season price — which runs as high as $12,320 per lower-bowl ticket over 44 games with a three-year minimum commitment — Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke hopes the 22-game plans and more than 40 pricing options offered ensures tickets for most people on the team’s remaining deposit list of 26,500 from March 2018.
“We’ve been listening a lot to what fans wanted and how they felt,” Leiweke said in an interview Tuesday. “I think that no decision is perfect but this decision felt right because that one day, March 1, 2018 — which by the way is a company holiday — is one we’ll never forget because people paid to place deposits.
“They placed deposits with the hope they would get to come and play a part in it.”
The team will not restrict fans’ ability to re-sell their seats on the secondary market — with the proviso they refrain from engaging in “broker behavior” and unloading large swaths of them in lieu of attending games.
Depositors will start receiving appointment times this week to book tickets either on their own or via Zoom with the team’s staff; all appointments go according to a depositor’s spot on the team’s priority list with the earliest ones starting Aug. 24 and new invites going out every two weeks. While the Kraken initially planned to allow these depositors, who put down $500 per seat in 2018, to visit their season-ticket preview center, that’s been shelved due to COVID-19 concerns.
Instead, the Zoom appointments will offer fans a virtual view of prospective seat locations from multiple vantage points.
The initial deposit list of nearly 33,000 was whittled down during the sale of 2,613 premium club level seats that wrapped up in February. An additional waiting list now numbers more than 53,000 — including individuals wanting multiple seats — and could see those on it get a crack at tickets this time around depending on how many depositors exercise their option to purchase plans.
While the half-season offerings are unprecedented in number for an NHL team — amounting to the equivalent of 4,856 full-season packages, or 44% of the roughly 11,000 general season tickets the team is selling — the 6,118 full-season plans for sale are on the pricey end as expected. They will also require a minimum three-year commitment with further options for five and seven.
Lower-bowl seats run $140 to $280, or $6,160 to $12,320 per season — with the three-year commitment taking that to a minimum outlay of $18,480 to $36,960 per seat. Upper bowl seats are $90 to $170, or $3,960 to $7,480 per season with the required three-year outlay at $11,880 to $22,440.
Seats in the Space Needle Lounge — a 21-and-over area with a glass ceiling view of the city’s iconic landmark — go for $160, or $7,040 a season. Mount Baker Hall — which has a private entrance and food stall area — will have full-season packages for $115 to $200, or $5,060 to $8,800 per season.
Other teams, including Winnipeg, Edmonton, Nashville, Detroit and Columbus, do place multiple-season purchase requirements on some of their season tickets. Leiweke said the Kraken could have been “more aggressive” in pricing, especially given the waiting list for tickets, but really did want as many fans as possible to attend games.
“We came up with a plan, we tested it and we asked people what we should do,” Leiweke said. “And the plan is that basically people who put that deposit down on that day should have a really, really good chance of getting a package and tickets to the opening season.”
The team says more than 5,000 season tickets will cost $100 per game or less. It will also offer 600 single-game tickets for $40 and less — including $20 tickets for youth groups — that will be sold within close proximity to game days to reduce them being placed on secondary markets.
The half-season plans will come with two options: A “red line member” and “blue line member” plan in order to avoid seating conflicts.
Red line members will get the team’s first home game of opening weekend and one matchup against each Pacific Division opponent. They’ll also get two pre-season games, guarantees of seeing “Original Six” Detroit, New York Rangers and Toronto squads and get access to two specified home games for each potential playoff round.
Blue line members will see the team’s second home game opening weekend, the same number of Pacific Division matchups and be guaranteed games featuring “Original Six” opponents Montreal, Boston and Chicago. They won’t have access to pre-season games, but will also receive up to two playoff matchups per round.
As for secondary-market resale, the Kraken will recommend fans use Ticketmaster or a team-branded “Season Share” website still in the works but won’t prohibit fans from selling through StubHub or other platforms. The caveat will be that they refrain from “broker behavior” by selling too many of their seats — though a specific threshold limit has not been identified.
Leiweke hopes the half-season packages reduce the number of secondary market tickets sold to visiting fans.
“I think for those people, they’ll be more inclined to keep their seats instead of selling them,” Leiweke said. “We want to create a great environment in the building.”
General season tickets were initially to go on sale in early March, but the coronavirus pandemic curbed that and other announcements the team had planned. In recent weeks, the Kraken announced their team name and that a naming rights deal had been struck with Amazon to rename the former KeyArena, which is undergoing a $930 million overhaul ahead of the NHL expansion team’s late 2021 debut.