The New York Knicks have figured out a new way to squeeze money from fans at Madison Square Garden — even though the team has only made the playoffs twice in the past decade and tickets are already among the most expensive in the league.
Team owner James Dolan is rolling out a plan for a new section of ultra-premium courtside — expected to sell for as much seats as $3,000 a ticket — by breaking up the scorer’s table where media and game officials usually sit, The Post has learned.
By opening up the prime real estate, a front row and second row of seats can be added, allowing deep-pocketed fans to practically rub elbows with players getting set to check into the game.
The face value of the new seats will be up to $3,000, according to Knicksseatingchart.com.
“New York Knicks courtside seats are located right next to the scorer’s table and an arms-length away from the players on the floor. The best Knicks courtside seats are described as Scorer’s Table Seats and fill out the sideline on either side of the scorer’s table,” the site says.
During an earnings call Thursday, Madison Square Garden Sports confirmed there would be new courtside and floor seating, but didn’t provide any specifics. The Golden State Warriors and a few other teams had previously ditched the nearly full-length court table for a few smaller desks.
The Knicks also announced they would not hike prices on any of their tickets for the upcoming season, as Dolan has a policy of not instituting hikes when the team doesn’t qualify for the postseason. Aside from a short run in the playoffs last year, the franchise hasn’t been to the NBA Finals in more than two decades and has not won a title since 1973.
That hasn’t kept die-hard fans from filling the Garden. Last season, the Knicks averaged $2.99 million in gate receipts per game, third in the league. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors led the league during the regular season, averaging $4.2 million per game, according to confidential NBA documents.
Madison Square Garden Sports on Thursday reported the Knicks and Rangers are now at a 91% season ticket renewal rate and rising.
The Rangers, who fell just short of playing for the Stanley Cup last season — losing to two-time defending champion Tampa Bay in the semifinals — will raise ticket prices this year, MSGS said.
The team raked in an average of $3.5 million in profit for each of its 10 home playoff games, MSGS said, which is a near record for any team during a playoff run.
MSG’s shares on Thursday rose 5.9% to $170.73.
That was not the only good news for Dolan.
Dolan’s separately traded Madison Square Garden Entertainment — which includes the cable company, arena and other venues — also got a boost Thursday after announcing it may spin off some of its assets.
MSGE’s shares popped 6.8% in after-hours trading to $67.