Watching the Carolina Hurricanes play will cost less next season as the hockey team tries to attract more families to games.
"If you look at the competition, it's not other NHL teams," said Jim Cain, chief operating officer of the Hurricanes. "It is movies, it's ACC basketball games, it's traveling shows."
"This price gets us within an affordable range for a family, and this is really about families. We're trying to make this affordable for families on budgets," he said.
The Hurricanes said Wednesday they would lower ticket prices by an average of $3 next season. The biggest change will come in the less expensive seats at the Raleigh Sports and Entertainment Arena, where 6,200 will be priced at $22 or less, compared to about 3,800 at that price this season.
The average ticket price of $38 for the 2000-2001 season would put the Hurricanes at or near the bottom of the NHL. The league's average price for a ticket this season is $43.
The new ticket prices will apply to this year's postseason if the Hurricanes make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In all, 45 percent of the tickets in the new arena will be priced under $30 per game for a season ticket, and 2,190 seats in the upper deck will go for $12 at the box office.
The Hurricanes have also lowered ticket prices at the goal the Hurricanes defend twice, an innovation started by several other NHL teams.
General manager Jim Rutherford said it was important to get the word out to fans early.
"When you are talking about hockey in June, July and August in a state that is as hot as this and people like going to the mountains and going to the beach, it becomes a tougher sell," Rutherford said. "People are following the team now, we're in our stretch drive and it will become more exciting as we go along, and we feel we can get the word out there better to our customers."
Carolina averaged 12,208 fans before Tuesday's game with Florida after averaging a league-low 8,383 in its temporary home in Greensboro last season.
"One of the problems we deal with is when people start analyzing our operation here. Sometimes they are comparing it to teams that have been around for 75 or 80 years, which is unfair," Rutherford said. "We are in a non-traditional hockey market, we feel very strong about the market, and we're going to build this on a month-to-month basis. I think we're making a lot of headway."
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