Bears raise prices on most seats

After holding prices steady last year, the Chicago Bears are raising them for most of their tickets for the 2010 season.

The team announced that non-club seat increases range from $2 to $17. Club seats will be raised from $10 to $20 per ticket. Prices for the Bears' non-club tickets, which make up about 85 percent of the seating at Soldier Field, now range from $68 to $125.

About 25 percent of all seat prices remain the same for the second straight year.

"The raising of ticket prices was justified for business reasons," said Chris Hibbs, the Bears Senior Director of Sales and Marketing. "We recognize that it's not a good time because we underperformed on the field. We spent a ton of time and analysis on this, and we knew it would not be well received, no matter what, unless the team was successful. "

The majority of the major increases will come on the better seats, as all of the seats in the 400 level in the west grandstand, will stay flat.

Hibbs thinks the Bears offer significant values for high-priced sections, and they will continue to cater to season-ticket holders, which account for almost 90 percent of tickets sold.

"Last year you could sit at the 50-yard line, the best seat in the house, for $108," he said. "That's a rock-bottom price."

The $108 seats have gone up to $117 and $125.

The Bears' 2010 home schedule includes games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and New York Jets.

Part of the ticket increase is due to the city's increased amusement tax, which is now 12 percent, a 1 percent increase from previous years. The team's small stadium capacity, 61,500, doesn't help either.

"Although we're the largest single-team market in the league, we have the smallest stadium capacity, and we pay one of the highest amusement taxes in the NFL," Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said in a release.

Hibbs said the team didn't lose any major sponsors this season and is beefing up its marketing strategy to further engage fans. The team, which has started advertising more recently, is planning on more interaction with fans through major events leading up to the season. Those plans aren't finalized yet.

"We are going to have more fan-related events before and around the 2010 season," he said. "We're going to harness the excitement people have for the Bears, and contribute to it."