March 12, 2010

Ticket prices cut next year

— PORTLAND — The Portland Pirates announced plans Thursday to cut ticket prices next season by more than 10 percent.

''In recognition of the unprecedented economic challenges facing our fan base, we feel our new ticket sales plan eliminates price as a barrier to experiencing in person the excitement and experience of Pirates hockey at the Civic Center,'' managing owner/CEO Brian Petrovek said in a statement.

''Our prices in rescaling for the 2009-10 season are consistent with our mission to provide our fans with affordable entertainment.''

The Pirates, in their first season as an affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, have averaged 4,571 fans per game this season, including 11,144 attending a home game played at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., last week.

Last season, after their first 30 home games, the Pirates averaged 4,651 fans per game. Portland was an affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks last season.

The Pirates are scheduled to play 36 home games at the Cumberland County Civic Center next season. Depending on seat location, cost of a full-season ticket package will range from $288 to $486, about 11 percent below the current cost.

Full-season, half-season and flex-ticket plans for 2009-10 go on sale Monday. The Pirates also will cut the prices of single-game tickets by as much as 25 percent, depending on the location. College students will be able to purchase a ticket for a seat in any section for $10.

In addition, the number of people required to qualify for a group rate will be reduced from 15 to 10. Groups of 50 or more will receive 10 free flex tickets in the corresponding price range for every 50 tickets they purchase on a given night.

Next season, the Pirates will play two home games in Buffalo and two in Lewiston.

-- Paul Betit

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