49ers drop average ticket price, but boost cost of best seats

San Franciscans, no strangers to rising prices, may be glad to hear that this year the average price of a 49ers ticket at Monster Park fell — by 30 cents.

While the decline might seem minuscule, it ran counter to the trend that saw ticket prices rise across the National Football League. The 49ers’ new pricing schedule brought the team’s average ticket price down from $64 in the 2005-06 season to $63.70 for the upcoming season, which the team kicks off on Sunday with a game in Arizona against the Cardinals. The league average is $62.38, a 5.6 percent jump from last year.

This year, instead of pricing all seats exactly the same, as they have done in previous years, the 49ers’ management decided to charge more money for more desirable seats and less money for less desirable seats.

“We’re unique in that we were the last professional sports team to have a single-price ticket system,” said David Peart, the 49ers vice-president of sales and marketing. “This year, after researching and talking with the fans, they told us they wanted to have a tiered ticket structure.”

Under the new system, season ticket holders will pay $49, $64 or $84 per game. Single-game tickets will go for $59, $74 or $94.

Matt Bonar, a 28-year-old receptionist from San Francisco and a 49ers fan, said, “The fact that the 49ers are such a horrible team, they probably couldn’t justify trying to sell tickets for that much more. But I still love those guys.”

Bonar said he agreed with the new pricing system. “It makes total sense. It’s true with everything. You pay for quality,” he said.

Fan Aasif Shabbir, a programmer from Sunnyvale, was mostly unimpressed by the pricing change, since it comes on the heels of several disappointing seasons, including last year’s 4-12 campaign.

“NFL tickets are by far the most expensive tickets compared to other sporting events. I’m sure the fact that the team [stinks] probably also is a factor. If you ask me, it’s still expensive,” Shabbir said.

The 49ers have sold out every home game for the last 25 years, Peart said, and appear to be on track to sell out this season.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders, who have suffered from undersold games, have transferred the handling of its ticket sales away from the Oakland Football Marketing Association. The team itself is selling season tickets this year, and has sold almost 30 percent more than the OFMA did at this point last year.

The average cost of a Raiders' ticket this year is $64.60.

amartin@examiner.com

Sajid Farooq contributed to this report.

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