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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Fans scream as the Utah Jazz take the lead during the game against the Orlando Magic at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

A Deseret News article by Jody Genessy last week featured the headline, “Here’s why Jazz season ticket prices are going up next year.”

My conclusion is they’re going up because they can. I don’t mean that in a snarky way. The Jazz are a business venture. The free market system has apparently shown there are enough revenue sources to justify the price hike.

That makes it a sound business decision.

But what about the feeling that fans have “ownership” in the team if ordinary people can’t afford the tickets? I’m sure there will be discount and multi-game packages available. But the most deep-pocketed companies and fans will end up paying the serious money.

A product isn’t based on what people want to pay; it’s what someone is willing to spend. The Jazz say their updated prices will be in line with the rest of the NBA.

Sports are a strange thing. Paying, say, $800 for a pair of lower-bowl tickets doesn’t guarantee it will be a good game. When the Jazz played the defending champion Warriors on Dec. 19, it was a high-demand event, but the teams each shot only 40 percent. Donovan Mitchell went 5 for 26 from the field. The Jazz had an unsightly 16 turnovers. There wasn’t much rhythm by either team.

Since the Jazz won 108-103, I’m sure Utah fans were happy. But if I’d paid $800 to see it with my wife, I would have been disappointed. We went to see Andrea Bocelli in November and paid approximately that much for two tickets. The famed opera star hit on every note. In basketball, if a player hits on just half his attempts, he’s a star. Meanwhile, a coach might decide to slow down the game, or employ the hack-a-Shaq defense. Possibly the teams won’t be able to throw a beach ball into the ocean.

I don’t attend a ton of concerts, but I can’t remember one that wasn’t great. However, I can recall a lot of sports events that made me tired.

4 comments on this story

I don’t have a philosophical problem with teams raising ticket prices, especially when they sell out as often as the Jazz. They have no obligation to give away their product at below market value. But from the minute the price raises go into effect, the Jazz must accept the impatience, criticism, blind expectations and unrealistic demands that go with it.

The Larry H. Miller Group has done wonderful things in charity work. The more money the Millers make, the more they’ll contribute to worthy causes that bless the city and state. But I also believe fans paying steeply higher prices will have a right to have steeply higher expectations.

Premium prices? Give them a premium team.