The Ravens have not had a ticket price increase in four years—but that economic fact is overlooked because the team has announced a roughly 8 percent across the board increase in the wake of its second straight non-winning season.
Needless to say, fan reaction has been mixed—and in some cases, downright angry.
The team is pointing to a bunch of expensive renovations it is making to M&T Bank Stadium to improve the overall fan experience at its home games. It is also making massive improvements to its training site about ten miles north of the city in Owings Mills.
Asking the fans to bear part of the extra freight would have gone over a lot better if the team had a more recent record of Super Bowl contention. So the timing of the price increase is somewhat flawed.
The Ravens unveiled plans for a massive renovation project at M&T Bank Stadium Tuesday morning. The stadium, which opened in 1998, will undergo a $144 million facelift over the next several years.
“Since our last ticket price increase in 2013, we have invested $45 million of our funds to make improvements at M&T Bank Stadium, including advanced Wi-Fi capabilities for fan use, redesigned concession stands, concourse upgrades and LED board advances,” Ravens Sr. Vice President of Ticket Sales and Operations Baker Koppelman wrote in a letter to season-ticket holders.
The fact is Baltimore has only raised prices once in the last eight years, and the Ravens were in the bottom half of the league in ticket prices during the 2016 season. But that doesn’t make the current increase feel any better to some disgruntled fans.
A notable improvement for next season will be the installation of a new set of video boards that will dramatically improve the current RavensVision boards. Samsung will make and install the new video boards, which will be significantly larger with a much sharper picture that utilizes the best available technology. In addition to the improved main video boards, the team will install new video boards in the four corners of the stadium. As part of the video board upgrade, the team is building a new control room to handle the gameday video production.
The Ravens will also add escalators and more elevators to make it much easier for fans for access the upper concourse.
Ravens fan “OTG32” is fed up with the whole deal:
“Nothing but GREED via upgrades…if I want to make improvements on my house, I don’t make my neighbors pay for it…As someone who has been to every home game to include the playoffs for the last 10 years, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back…I’m done with season tickets…Ravens are my team but will watch from home and save thousands of dollars!!! Besides, college football is a better product, maybe use some of that Ravens money and travel to see a games like Clemson vs South Carolina or Bama vs LSU…”
Ravens fan “The Greek” had a similar take:
“The only change really needed were the escalators. At some point no one but the rich will be able to afford the tix. Could see more empty seats around the NFL as teams keep raising prices.”
Most likely the negative fan reaction will cool down as the summer wears on and the 2017 NFL schedule looms closer. If any current season ticket holder does decide to give up their PSL in protest, there will likely be another buyer to take their place. But the awkward timing of the price increase is creating a public relations challenge for the team at the moment. It’s tough to spin the benefits of a higher ticket price when your team is coming off 8-8 and 5-11 seasons back-to-back.