What's a team to do after a 7-9 season? Sign a big ticket free agent? Draft a quarterback?
For the Browns, the answer is none of the above. The correct response is: "Raise season ticket prices and adopt variable ticket pricing."
Four months after announcing a hike in ticket prices, the Browns announced their adoption of a variable ticket pricing model for the 2015 season on Friday.
There will be four tiers of tickets (from most expensive to least expensive):
- Tennessee Titans (Sunday, September 20, 1:00 p.m.), Denver Broncos (Sunday, October 18, 1:00 p.m.)
- Baltimore Ravens (Thursday, November 30, 8:30 p.m.), Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, January 3, 1:00 p.m.)
- Oakland Raiders (Sunday, September 27, 1:00 p.m.), Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, November 1, 1:00 p.m.), Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, December 6, 1:00 p.m.), San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, December 13, 1:00 p.m.)
- Washington Redskins (Thursday, August 13, 8:00 p.m.), Buffalo Bills (Thursday, August 20, 8:00 p.m.)
Season ticket holders will not see a ticket increase from what was announced in January.
According to Cleveland.com's Tom Reed, season ticket holders have already been notified and will not be charged extra.
Half of the NFL used a variable pricing system in 2014.
Variable ticket pricing is nothing new in professional sports.
The MLB, NHL, and NBA have all used it for years now. The Indians experimented with it back in 2002 before fully diving in prior to the 2008 season, according to Sports Business Daily and Cleveland.com.
What's an example of how the ticket prices will work?
At the most basic level, the first tier will be more expensive than the second tier and so on. Ohio.com's Nate Ulrich explained it in this way: "Here’s an example of how the new model will work: A typical $60 ticket will carry a $72 face value for tier one, $63 for tier two, $60 for tier three and $45 for tier four."
Single game tickets are not yet on sale, but you can sign up for a notification when they go on sale right here.
At the end of the day, it comes down to this: If you're a season ticket holder, you won't be affected by the new ticket model (although the resale value of a lower tier game could be less). If you tend to buy single game tickets, expect to pay more for better games.