The University of Maine has lowered its season ticket prices and has cut the prices on single-game seats for 12 of its 21 home games this season in an attempt to increase attendance at Alfond Arena.
Ticket prices will decrease $3 per game for eight of the 12 games and $6 per game for the other four.
But the price will be $1 more for eight of the other nine home games and $2 more for the exhibition game against the University of New Brunswick.
Last year, all the single-game tickets were $23, except the three exhibitions, which were $15 apiece.
Attendance at Alfond Arena has been on a steady decline so athletic director Karlton Creech and associate athletic director for external operations Joe Roberts have made some changes to try to stop the decline.
“We made some price changes based on the opponent, the game time and the time of year,” Creech said. “I think it will be beneficial for both revenue and attendance. The goal is to make sure the arena is full for every game.”
Maine drew an average of 4,092 per home game a year ago, which was the lowest since the 1991-92 team drew 4,024 per game. That compared with 4,175 in 2012-13 and 4,437 in 2011-12.
The capacity at the Alfond Arena is 5,125.
Creech said he and Roberts sat down and surveyed the schedule and decided to vary the prices.
“There’s a little more variety than we’ve seen in the past, and if we need to make more changes next year, we probably will,” said Creech. “We’re working to identify the right value for each game.”
Season ticket prices are $355 for 21 games for bleacher seats and $385 for seatbacks.
That includes the nonconference game in Portland against New Hampshire.
The price was $350 for 18 games a year ago for both bleacher seats and seatbacks.
Roberts said the team’s performance also will enter into the equation when it comes to ticket prices.
He said they have sold over 1,700 season tickets so far, which is below last year’s 1,844.
Creech said the possibility of offering multi-game ticket packages has been discussed, “but we’ve got to see how we do with season-ticket sales first.”
Roberts explained that the games have been broken up into three pricing tiers.
This year, single-game tickets against Union (2), Boston University (1), Boston College (1), New Hampshire (1 at Alfond) and Notre Dame (2) will cost $24; the second tier games against Alaska-Anchorage (2), UMass (2), UMass Lowell (1), UConn (1) and Northeastern (2) will cost $20; and the third tier games against Canisius (2), New Brunswick (1) and Vermont (2) will be $17.
Roberts explained that the reason the New Brunswick game is $2 more expensive than a year ago is to avoid confusion since they already have three different price scales.
Roberts pointed out that in addition to the prices being cheaper on a per game basis, the home schedule is “better” than last year’s.
Maine’s nonconference home games last year were against Bentley, which went 19-14-4 and lost in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals; American International College (10-25-1), which lost in Atlantic Hockey’s first round and UMass (8-22-4), which lost in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. Maine played two games each with AIC and UMass and one against Bentley.
Maine played two nonconference games against league opponent UMass to help fill out the schedule. It also played two nonconference games at Vermont.
This season’s nonconference games are against defending NCAA champion Union (32-6-4), 2013-14 NCAA Tourney team and league rival Vermont (20-15-3), Alaska-Anchorage (18-16-4), which reached the WCHA semifinals, and Canisius (17-21-3), which reached the Atlantic Hockey championship game a year after winning it.
Maine will play all four teams twice.
Maine played three exhibition games against Canadian colleges a year ago, but it has just one this season, the opener against New Brunswick on Oct. 5.
Maine had its first two sellouts since Dec. 10, 2010, a year ago against Boston College and New Hampshire and first-year coach Red Gendron guided the team to a 13-3 home record compared with the previous year’s 2-9-6 mark at Alfond Arena under former coach Tim Whitehead.
There are 960 prime donor seats available for season ticket holders who will pay $500 or more in addition to the $385 they will pay for a season ticket. Those willing to pay $750 plus the $385 for one season ticket also will get a free parking pass, and those willing to pay $500 each for two tickets plus the $385 apiece will earn one free parking pass.
The $50 donor seats that aren’t purchased will be available on a single-game basis for $50 (tier one games), $40 (tier two) and $30 (tier three games). They were all $50 a year ago.