MIAMI – The Miami Heat will raise season-ticket prices for the 2011-12 season, and will have some allowances built into pricing plans if there's a work stoppage this summer.
"We're going to hope for the best," Heat president of business operations Eric Woolworth said Saturday night at halftime of the Miami-Toronto game. "It's in everybody's best interest to be prepared if things don't go well."
The team said the price increase will be "minor," without specifying further. In some cases, ticket prices will rise by less than $10. Woolworth said a number of factors would go into the increase, including seat location and length of time a ticket-holder has held a season plan.
It puts the Heat into a delicate spot that every NBA team will deal with: Selling a product that might not be there, if a lockout wipes out part or all of the 2011-12 season.
One of the options available to current season-ticket holders would allow the team to keep money for 2011-12 plans in accounts if next season is affected by the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement. Under the terms of that plan, season-ticket holders would receive a 5 percent "loyalty payment" refund monthly if any preseason or regular-season games are missed.
"Heat season ticket holders indicated that discounts on playoff tickets and interest payments on any future unplayed games were the two most important renewal drivers this year," Woolworth said. "And so we crafted our renewal campaign accordingly."
The deal between the league's players and owners expires July 1.
"If any preseason or regular-season games are missed during the 2011-12 season or the entire season is canceled, season ticket holders selecting this renewal option will receive a refund plus a small interest payment ... on a monthly basis in arrears for all games missed," the team said in a statement.
Those who renew ticket plans with the Heat may be eligible for discounts throughout this season's playoffs. Ticketholders can choose whether they want to participate in the loyalty plan, although those who opt out will pay higher prices for playoff seats this season.
Last season, the Heat offered season-ticket holders the chance to lock in prices for 2010-11 at lower rates, noting that last summer's free-agent bonanza — which netted Miami stars such as LeBron James and Chris Bosh, plus saw the team keep Dwyane Wade — would lead to increases.
"We spent all fall talking and surveying our season-ticket holders," Woolworth said. "I feel very confident saying the price increases they're getting are lower than what they thought was possible."