The 2014 season will be Calvin Johnson's eighth with the Lions. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
The cost of season tickets for the Lions will increase an average of 8.2 percent in 2014 as they become the NFL's first team to switch to a variable pricing system.
The new ticketing system will assign each game to one of three pricing categories depending on the anticipated demand.
Tier pricing is popular in other leagues, including Major League Baseball. The Tigers have instituted it for several years.
The Lions last raised ticket prices after the 2011 season, and the last bump before then was after the 2007 season. The team has yet to host a home playoff game at Ford Field, which opened in 2002.
The two exhibition games will be in the lowest tier and will decrease about 70 percent in price. A team spokesman said fans have said for years they didn't want to pay regular-season prices for preseason games, so the exhibitions now will cost season-ticket holders about $30.
The regular season will be divided into mid-level games and high-profile games, such as Thanksgiving or primetime games. The more expensive "touchdown" games in 2014 are against the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and either the Buffalo Bills or Miami Dolphins, depending on which visits Detroit for Thanksgiving.
The mid-level "field goal" visitors next season are the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants and either the Bills or Dolphins.
In the end, Lions season-ticket holders will see an 8.2-percent average increase in their package price, and the average price per game will bump to $83.36, the team announced Monday. Despite the increase, the Lions will rank no higher than 25th in average ticket prices next season, assuming other teams don't decrease their prices, the team said.
The Lions ranked 29th in average ticket price last season.
“The decision to incorporate an increase in overall ticket pricing was made after careful consideration,” Lions president Tom Lewand said in a press release. “To remain competitive in the NFL and offer an extraordinary fan experience, we need to be able to invest right back into our product, and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.”
The Lions finished the 2013 season 7-9, collapsing after a 6-3 start.