AL HAMNIK: Hawks' success carries a hefty price for fans

2013-03-05T17:15:00Z 2013-03-07T19:09:23Z AL HAMNIK: Hawks' success carries a hefty price for fansAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
March 05, 2013 5:15 pm  • 

The problem with your favorite pro team kicking butt and having a super season is ticket prices.

You're going to pay a ransom to attend games.

That's now the case with the streaking Blackhawks, whom many believe will win the Stanley Cup. And with those high expectations come ticket prices that are through the roof.

John Wilson of Box Seat Tickets sees it every day.

"The demand has gone crazy," said the long-time broker. "But because the price is up, it's eliminated a lot of people who want to go."

Wilson estimates 98 percent of the United Center crowd for each Hawks' game is season ticket holders, which leaves only a few "crumbs" for Joe Fan wanting to catch the action live.

"Standing room is $100 to $125," Wilson added. "That's not even for a seat at the damn place."

Upper level seats through a ticket broker or outlet are running $175, with Club and lower level seats at around $250 apiece and $400 for the second row up.

Blame the Bulls in part, Wilson said.

"Since (Derrick) Rose didn't come back (from ACL surgery) for the Bulls, (fans) have all jumped onto the Blackhawks wagon," Wilson said. "Right now, we can still get you roughly 75 to 100 tickets for every single game.

"Believe it or not, we probably have more Club level and lower level seats than we have upper level seats because most of those upper level seat people are really the die hard fans. They're gonna go if the snow is three feet deep and it's 20 below zero."

Whereas the wealthier Hawks fans with season tickets sell theirs for a small fortune and then stay home.

"They're more fair weather people," Wilson said.

The United Center is the largest NHL venue with 21,000 seats and at the moment, Chicago is a Hawks town.

As blue-collar fans, we might all be better off if the Blackhawks were simply average and attending games there not so much a "status" symbol.

"There's still a lot of rich people out there who are buying tickets, no matter what," Wilson said. "They want to go. They want to say 'I went to the Blackhawks game.'

"It was the same during the Michael Jordan days. I'm in the luxury business. There's a lot of people with money who are gonna go even if they're not Blackhawks fans. They want to be 'included.'"

Wilson said you could hold two Hawks tickets above your head, walk through any bar within blocks of the United Center on game day, and make a killing instantly.

"You're not gonna eat the tickets, that's for sure," he chuckled.

And where does the little guy figure in all of this?

Well, he's standing outside, nose pressed against the icy window, wishing he could afford cable. 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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