Wolves say increased ticket prices won't gouge 'little guy'

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD
  • Star Tribune
  • March 6, 2012 - 7:10 AM

With the Timberwolves riding a crest of increased fan interest, the team will begin its push for new season ticket holders this week.

There are 17 levels of ticket prices, ranging from the $1,310-per-game average for premium court-side seating to a limited number of seats available in the upper bowl for $5 per game.

The biggest change? The discounts the team offered in past seasons trying to maintain a home court advantage are starting to go away, which is to be expected for a team improving on the court. But team president Chris Wright said there still will be at least 1,000 seats in the lower bowl that will be priced at $20 or less per game and at least 6,000 seats in the upper level that will be priced at $10 or less.

"As we grow things back, we're not going to forget about the fans who have been there with us during what we consider to be very, very difficult times," Wright said.

That said, there will be fewer seats at the lowest prices available than in the recent past. The $5 per-game season ticket, for example, will be at the top of the upper bowl at each end of the court. Compare that to this season, when the entire upper level could be had for $7 per game. The rest of the seats on the upper tier are priced at $8, $12 and $17. In the lower bowl, the $17 tickets will be at the top of the bowl at each end of the court.

Wright said ticket price levels next year still will not be back to the level the team charged in 2004-05, the season after the Wolves reached the Western Conference Finals.

Ted Johnson, the team's senior vice president of marketing and communications, said the team has gotten better at tracking demand in the marketplace -- by watching secondary ticket markets, for example -- and that the prices for next season reflect "true demand in the marketplace."

Among the premium seating, the highest level price has actually dropped by 6.4 percent and none has risen more than 8.4 percent.

For the rest of arena seating, the highest increase for any level is 15 percent, with tickets increasing from $20 to $23. Here are the price tiers for arena seating, with per-game averages: $193, $123, $83, $58, $38, $23, $17, $12, $8 and $5.

Familiar face

Rookie Derrick Williams' recent tweet said it all: "Getting back to the old me,'' it said.

He is playing with more confidence after spending the first half of the season getting comfortable and finding his place in the offense.

He appears to have found it. In five games leading up to Monday's game with the Clippers, Williams was shooting at a 24-for-44 clip (54.5 percent) and had hit eight of 14 three-pointers.

"I felt like in the first half of the season, I wasn't really playing like I used to, like I know how I can play, like I was playing back in school," Williams said.

Williams credits increased confidence and a newly-aggressive attitude. It was evident in his 27-point performance against the Clippers in L.A. last week.

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