It’s pricier than ever to have fun, just ask Raptors fans

It’s getting more and more expensive to see sweaty men jump really high these days. 

Driving the news: The average price for season tickets to the Toronto Raptors will be ~4% higher on average next season. According to a ticket-holder interviewed by the Toronto Star, her two seats in the 300 level will cost $6,700 next season, up from $6,300 this season.

Why it’s happening: Ticket prices for pretty much all major Canadian sports teams, not just the Raptors, have accelerated in recent years as tickets have turned into a vital business perk. Companies snap up large blocks without regard for cost, driving up overall prices.

  • Canadian teams also have very devoted fanbases, and teams know that the legions of die-hards are willing to pay big for tix. 

Big picture: The increase, despite being one of the lowest of the past decade, comes at a time when the Raptors aren’t doing too hot after trading several top players. The squad has left many ticket-holders upset that they are being asked to pay more for an inferior product. 

Why it matters: The rising cost of sports tickets is part of a broader trend of ‘funflation,’ in which tickets to all types of fun outings are rising exponentially with no slowdown in sight. This has been in part driven by pent-up pandemic demand and inflation, but also greediness. 

  • Feverish demand has fuelled concert tickets to all-time high prices, which have been compounded by practices like dynamic pricing and reselling tix at ludicrous markups.

  • Amusement parks have cranked up prices. Unsurprisingly, Disney World leads the pack: A one-day ticket for peak season is 47% higher than it was five years ago.

  • Even a modest trip to the zoo is pricier nowadays. The Toronto Zoo raised children’s peak ticket prices by ~26% in 2022, and the Calgary Zoo now has dynamic pricing

Bottom line: Outings like sports games were once attainable for even lower-middle-class families in cities. Today, the only deal to be found at the country’s sports venues is seemingly Loonie Dogs Night at the Rogers Centre.—QH