The cost of watching the Maple Leafs at the ACC is going up

As the Toronto Maple Leafs close in on earning back-to-back appearances in the NHL playoffs, it seems the cost of a night out with the family at the Air Canada Centre has nowhere to go but up.  

Toronto already has one of the most expensive tickets in the National Hockey League.

The team is telling season ticket holders this week that renewals for next fall will cost roughly an extra 10 to 15 percent, on average.

It comes on the heels of a similar increase after last season.

On a per-ticket basis, the price of an average seat in the lower bowl is heading up $24, to $270.  

In the upper bowl, prices are going up $12 per ticket to an average of $94 each.

The face value of those season tickets matter to every-day fans because 9 out of 10 seats at the ACC are tied to a Leafs season ticket package.  

That means that the re-sale market will command higher prices, as re-sellers mark up the value to turn a profit.

James Mirtle writes about the Maple Leafs for The Athletic.

He thinks a surge in demand could be a growing problem for a business looking to grow revenue, and for fans who want an affordable way to see their hockey heroes in person.

This season, the average re-sale price of a ticket in the nose-bleed sections sells on re-sale websites for close to $150 dollars.  

It is a market the team has no control over.

"We already see the stands are full of Leafs fans everywhere else," Mirtle says.

"People are flying to Winnipeg, or they're driving to Buffalo or Ottawa ... its cheaper to go to a game anywhere else in the league, so that's what people are doing."

Mirtle expects demand for Maple Leafs tickets will only grow as the team improves in the standings.

"The Leafs either need a bigger arena, or they need to crack down on scalpers," he says.

The other valve that might relieve pressure on ticket prices, Mirtle suggests, is the allowing another NHL team to set up in Toronto.

The league currently has no plans for a second team in the Toronto region.

The Maple Leafs have said that their goal in raising ticket prices is to protect consumers and make more tickets available.

It argues raising the face value will cut out margins for ticket brokers and scalpers.

Earlier this week, the Leafs' parent company announced plans to do away with print-at-home tickets and move toward digital tickets.