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Sports Biz Chargers under league average in ticket prices

Women’s Pro Soccer Gets Thumbs-Up

From League

According to Chicago-based Team Marketing Reports, it’s become more expensive for a family of four to attend an NFL game.

For the first time, the average ticket price for a professional football game surpassed $50, meaning an outing for a family of four could cost $300.

The average ticket cost for all teams is up 8.7 percent, to $53.64. But that increase will not affect local fans. The Chargers reported no increase in ticket prices this year and maintain an average price of $47. The last ticket increase, according to Bill Johnston, the team’s director of public relations, was about 10 percent after the 2000 season.

“We’ll sit down every year and evaluate our ticket pricing structure,” Johnston said. “Really our goal is to stay in the median, or mid-range, in terms of NFL prices.”

During the team’s first home game, Sept. 9, announced attendance was 60,629, including about 9,000 purchased by the city of San Diego because of their deal with the Chargers to guarantee the sale of 60,000 general-admission seats per game. Last year, the city spent more than $7 million to purchase unsold Chargers’ tickets.

Around the league, the highest ticket average is in Washington, D.C., where the Redskins’ tickets average $81.69. The Arizona Cardinals have the lowest average at $37.60.

The largest increases were reported in Pittsburgh and Denver, where both teams are playing in new stadiums. Tickets in Pittsburgh increased 52.2 percent to $62.03. In Denver, prices increased 66.8 percent to $77.61.

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Kicking In:

The inaugural season of professional women’s soccer has officially been deemed a success by the league.

The Women’s United Soccer Association credited strong attendance and sponsorships for the league’s first-year accolades.

According to league reports, the original business plan called for an average of 6,500 fans per game and was increased to 7,500 before the season began. The league’s 87 games drew 721,677 fans, an average attendance of 8,295.

The WUSA’s local team, the San Diego Spirit, averaged 5,800 fans per game at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium. Although General Manager Kevin Crow said they initially anticipated an average attendance of 6,000 fans, they fared well because ticket prices were a little more than expected. An average ticket for a Spirit was $15, according to team officials.

Crow said the team’s losses were in line with projections, although he would not disclose that figure.

The Spirit did well in television ratings. The team drew a 1.2 share, with games broadcast on Cox Channel 4.

One area they plan to work on for next year is landing local sponsorships. Crow said corporate revenue was not what the expected due to their late start.

Local sponsors who did jump on board included Cox Communications , which owns the Spirit as well as the Atlanta Beat franchise, Golden State Graphics, 24-Hour Fitness, Vincenzo Restaraunte Italiano, Tricomm Wireless, Mission Federal Credit Union and Mission Hills Nursery.

Giving Credit:

San Diego County Credit Union is giving one lucky person a shot at a $1 million.

It’s part of the credit union’s Holiday Bowl $1 Million Hole-In-One Golf Shootout, which runs until Sept. 21 at Stadium Golf Center in Mission Valley. The event, presented by Culligan, will give golfers of all skills level the chance to take a shot for daily prizes, and ultimately $1 million.

The final shootout will be held at Morgan Run Resort & Club Sept. 24 for a chance at grand prize. For more information, call (619) 283-5808 or log onto (www.holidaybowl. com).

The deadline for the next Sports Biz column is Thursday, Oct. 4. Send related items to dward@sdbj.com.


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