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TiqAssist Blog

NHL Playoffs: Season Ticket Holder Tips

by | Mar 30, 2022 | NHL, Season Tickets

Welcome to the NHL Playoffs

The most exciting part of the NHL season is just around the corner, as the 2022 NHL postseason kicks off on May 2nd! With five weeks left in the regular season, it’s going to be a thrilling race to see which teams advance to the postseason. 

NHL season ticket holders are already getting into the postseason action, as season ticket renewal deadlines for the 2022 playoffs and the 2022-2023 NHL regular season happen throughout March and April. 

With this being the first NHL playoffs since 2019 with full stadiums, we’ve prepared a Q&A for season ticket holders to consider when buying and selling NHL postseason tickets.

What are the important dates and schedules for NHL Playoffs?

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The NHL regular season ends on April 29th, giving way to the NHL postseason kicking off on May 2nd with the first round. 

For those unfamiliar with the NHL playoff format, per ESPN here is how the first round matchups are determined. The top three teams in each division earn berths in the playoffs. The next two teams in terms of total points in the conference, regardless of division, earn the wild-card spots. This provides a total of eight teams from each conference. The top seed in each division plays one of the wild-card teams in its conference. The division leader with the most points plays the wild-card team with the fewest points. The second and third seeds in each division face each other in the first round.

The first round and second round (also known as the Stanley Cup semifinals) both take place in May. The second and third seeds from a division playing each other in the first round often leads to division rivals battling it out, making the playoff action all the more intense. 

In June the stakes dial up as the winners of the Western and Eastern Conference finals are decided, netting both winners an invite to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.  The NHL Stanley Cup Finals wrap up by June 30th at the latest in the event of a Game 7. It surely will be exciting to see who hoists the Stanley Cup this year!

Buying Playoff Tickets

Should I purchase my playoff package?

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You should get good value out of NHL playoff tickets if the team charges a reasonable amount and you follow all our tips below when you need to resell. 

If you are unsure about whether to purchase your playoff tickets or are thinking of declining your playoff package, please email us at sales@tiqassist.com with your section/row/seat numbers and round-by-round cost information, and a selling expert will provide next steps. 

Should I pay my playoffs off in full, or choose the “pay-as-we-go” payment plan option?

If you are able to afford paying your playoff in full, we advise doing so. A key benefit to this is that you can list your tickets immediately, which means you compete against much fewer sellers and get to benefit from the highest-volume sales periods.

Those paying using the “pay-as-we-go” method may not be able to list until the teams advances to the next round (sometimes with a slight lag), by which point a lot of the great sales have already happened. 

Should I buy the pre-sale for additional playoff tickets?

It depends. It may be attractive if the team offers the additional playoff tickets with zero buying fees, but you’ll want to do your research first.  Look at the resale prices on Ticketmaster, Stubhub, and VividSeats; if the prices are already near the price you are going to pay, it’s not worth the risk of trying to flip for a profit. 

It does help if you buy three (or more) seats together, as pairs have a lot of selling competition.

We recommend avoiding buying additional tickets for game one of a series, as that game has the least turnaround time between the game being set and the game happening.

Selling Playoff Tickets

Is selling NHL Playoff tickets more difficult than selling regular season tickets?

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Selling tickets in the playoffs is much, much harder than the regular season. Believe it or not, it’s very easy to lose money if you don’t stay on top of the very volatile playoff market. Not only do you have more dollars at stake given the cost of playoff tickets, but the market is more dynamic given the compressed time windows to sell tickets.  Often times the day, time, and opponent are only announced 48-72 hours before the playoff game tips-off, which is terrible for sellers. It’s often a firesale trying to sell out a whole stadium in that short time period. 

  • The first round games can be the most challenging to sell. The dates and times for the first round are only decided when the regular season ends Friday, April 29, with the first round games starting Monday May 2nd. That’s just 72 hours to sell out a whole stadium, made even more challenging because game one of the series will be early-week games, not good for sellers! 

  • “If-necessary” games (games 5/6/7 in a series) also can be challenging games to sell if you don’t list early.  For games 5/6/7 there are early sales at high profits to be had when the series is first locked in. If you miss that window, sales for if-necessary games often don’t happen at high volumes until the game is locked in, which leaves potentially just 48 hours to sell. 

  • Game 7’s can create resale problems for the next round.  If the winner would host the next round, that can lead to just a 2-3 day turnaround to sell tickets for Game 1 of the following series.

  • Lastly, buyers are getting more and more comfortable each year with last-minute ticket buying. The technology to make last-minute buying smooth is advancing, and the secret is out that buying tickets last minute on average is cheaper. 

What playoff games will have the highest resale value?

  • Home Games, #3 and #4.  Home Game 2 can yield a great sale price if you price competitively to start. 
  • Evening games and weekend games
  • Potential clinching games

What playoff games will have the lowest resale value?

  • Home Games 1 and 2. List these games ASAP or plan on attending. The key reason for game 1’s poor sales performance is that there will be just 48-72 hours to sell the tickets after the date/time of the game is announced. Given people already made plans and it’s too late to cancel, that leads to extremely high supply on the resale market and demand can be very low.  Particularly for the noon/early afternoon games. 
  • Day games and Monday/Tuesday games
  • Elimination games – particularly if home team down big in the series
  • Conflict with the local NBA team being in the NBA playoffs

What are the best tips to sell my NHL Playoff Tickets?

List as early as possible.  

You can start selling your NHL tickets as soon as the resale marketplaces support it, which is generally in the first half of April. Take advantage of the various sales spikes that happen when:

  1. Your team qualifies for the playoffs 
  2. The opponent is determined
  3. The day/time of the game is announced 
  4. Each presale concludes on the team’s official ticket site
  5. The public onsale happens on the team’s official ticket site

After #4 and #5 in particular, eager buyers flock to the secondary market to secure tickets in the event the team sold out of tickets. When TiqAssist is able to sell our tickets in advance of these events, we generally get sales prices 3-4 times higher than if we still have tickets after all these events have passed. It pays to list and sell early!

Price aggressively (ie price at or even below comparable seats)  

  1. If you haven’t sold within a few hours of #4 and #5 above, prices start falling very quickly as it can be a matter of days if not hours before the game happens.  A stadium full of sellers trying to sell their tickets in just 24-72 hours leads to huge price decreases.
  2. Based on the number of “low-resale-value” factors that apply to the game, you will want to price slightly below comparable seats. Pricing your tickets an extra 5 or 10% higher than the competition is not worth the risk of your tickets potentially falling 50% in value.
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Article Summary

The NHL Postseason is just around the corner, so there are big decisions to make in terms of buying playoff packages and reselling games. 

We generally recommend buying your playoff package, provided you follow the reselling tips mentioned in this article. If you can we recommend choosing the pay up front option, so you don’t face a delay listing your tickets (and risk missing the best sales windows). 

When reselling, the most important tip is to get your tickets listed as soon as possible. This is all the more important in the postseason, as time windows to sell are much more compressed and prices fall faster. 

Secondly, price competitively to the market based on the game attributes we highlighted. Note that game one of a series is generally the lowest resale value game, given the limited time to sell the tickets. 

These tips were written by our selling experts. Follow us on social media to get more up-to-date information and the latest tips to give you an edge when selling tickets.

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We know most season ticket holders can’t make it out to all home games in their playoff ticket plan, so selling tickets is a necessity. If you plan on reselling your NHL playoff tickets, you’ll love having TiqAssist’s selling experts and technology fully manage your ticket resale for you. Just click “List” for any game on your personalized dashboard and you’re done!

To learn more about best practices around ticket resale and the top ticket resale marketplaces, read our blog article on Selling NHL Tickets and “How to resell tickets online.

Season Ticket Resale Made Simple

Powerful technology and dedicated experts that sell your tickets for you.

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