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Orioles raising ticket prices, Ravens holding the line

The Baltimore Orioles announced Thursday they will raise ticket prices next season, while the Baltimore Ravens said they will keep their prices unchanged.

Orioles tickets will increase by $1 to $7 per seat, or an average of $3. This is the first hike for seats that are not “prime games” since 2007, the team said.

Meanwhile, at the Ravens’ end-of-season news conference Thursday, team President Dick Cass said that because of ongoing labor issues within the National Football League, ticket prices won’t be raised. Typically, the Ravens increase ticket prices every other year, and 2011 will be the second season without an increase.

If the NFL owners can’t reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the players in the next several months, games in the 2011 season could be canceled.

Major issues include an attempt by owners to cut player salaries by about $1 billion league-wide and a plan to add two games to each team’s regular-season schedule. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said Thursday he is not part of the owners’ bargaining committee.

Invoices for season tickets will be sent to customers next week, along with the team’s plans on how it will refund money in the event games are canceled, Cass said. If there is a stoppage, Cass said the team does not plan to cover lost revenue with money from season tickets. The money will be kept separate, and fans will get it back with interest, he said.

Bisciotti said he is optimistic a new labor deal will be figured out in time for a full season.

“We’ve got some work to do,” he said. “I have hope that smart people on both sides of this argument will get it done.”

While Cass and Bisciotti said there will be no layoffs among employees, coaches’ salaries may be reduced initially if games are canceled due to the stoppage. The coaches can gain back their full salaries if a full season is played, Cass said.

Another reason for keeping the prices steady was that other NFL teams plan to hold ticket prices for 2011, Cass said. Tickets sales across the league were off about 5 percent, but the Ravens “were solid again.”

The eight regular-season home games at M&T Bank Stadium were sold out this season. The stadium holds 71,000 people.

“We’re grateful for the support we’ve gotten from fans,” Cass said.

Meanwhile, attendance at Oriole Park at Camden Yards decreased 9 percent last season.

“We feel that the on-field product should certainly be much improved,” said Orioles spokesman Greg Bader. “A full season of Buck Showalter as manager is a definite positive.”

Bader said that the team doesn’t think the increase, which averages $3, will be an impediment to ticket buyers. He pointed out that the average cost of an Orioles ticket is $23.50, below the Major League Baseball average of $28. Nearly half of Camden Yards seats are priced at $22 or below for non-prime games, Bader said.

Orioles tickets purchased before game day will cost between $9 and $60. For the “prime games” — those with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox — seats will cost between $11 and $99.

Season-ticket prices remain unchanged from 2010.

The upper reserve tickets in left field will also remain $9 for non-prime games. Tickets go on sale to the public Jan. 29.