Rams raise prices for 6th year in row
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, Feb. 15 2005

Like Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day and Presidents Day, it is becoming a regular part of the February calendar for Rams football fans in St. Louis. For the sixth straight year, the Rams have raised ticket prices, albeit by a moderate amount once again.

Personal seat license (PSL) holders at the Edward Jones Dome will pay between $2 and $5 more per ticket to watch the Rams play next season. The club sent out invoices earlier this month.

The average ticket price for 2005 is $62.44 a game, according to Michael Naughton, the Rams' vice president of ticket operations, an increase of more than $3 a ticket over the 2004 average of $59.25. Those figures are for nonpremium seating only, which excludes club seats and luxury suites.

Bob Wallace, the Rams' executive vice president, explained the latest increase in terms similar to how he addressed previous ticket hikes.

"Once again, it's an attempt to remain competitive," Wallace said. "It's the cost of doing business. The salary cap has gone up. Everything's more expensive."

The Rams did not raise ticket prices during their first five seasons in St. Louis. By the end of those five seasons, they had the lowest ticket price in the league, at $34. Then again, it was hard to justify a ticket increase during the team's first four seasons here based on the product on the field. From 1995 through '98, the Rams went 22-42 and never won more than seven games in any season.

But since the beginning of the '99 campaign, the Rams are 70-36, including five playoff berths, two Super Bowls and three division titles. After the '99 Super Bowl championship season, the club hiked ticket prices an average of nearly 24 percent.

Since then, the ticket increases have been more modest. The overall ticket increase for both 2004 and '05 has been 5.4 percent. The cheapest seats in the Dome - the upper-deck end-zone seats - now cost $44, up $2 over last season. The most expensive seats- the lower deck and terrace level seats between the 20-yard lines - now cost $85, up $5 a game from 2004.

In 1995, the first year for the Rams in St. Louis, the price range for tickets was $25 to $45. So the cheapest seat in the Dome in 2005 ($44) costs only $1 less than the most expensive seat did in 1995 ($45).

In a letter sent out to season-ticket holders, team president John Shaw wrote that the Rams' season-ticket package "remains an excellent value and maintains Rams ticket costs in the middle tier of the NFL."

The Rams feel they can remain competitive by being somewhere in the middle one-third of the league in ticket prices. Last season, the Rams' average ticket price ($59.25) ranked 14th among the 32 NFL teams, according to Wallace.

Even with the recent spate of annual increases, Naughton said renewal rates remain high among PSL holders.

"We've been in the high 90s the last couple of years - around 98 percent," he said.

PSL holders have until May 1 to renew. But those seeking an upgrade of seat location face an earlier deadline - March 1. For more information, the Rams' ticket office number is 314-425-8830.