Citing already competitive prices and a difficult economy, the Ravens have decided not to raise ticket prices at M&T Bank Stadium for the third straight season.

"There were two principle factors: We know that fans are stretching to buy our season tickets in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, and second, looking around the league and where we are right now in terms of ticket prices, we didn’t feel that competitive reasons would compel us to raise our ticket prices," team president Dick Cass said today.  

The last time that the Ravens raised ticket prices was before the 2009 season when select seats were increased anywhere from $5 to $15 per ticket. From 2001 to 2009, the Ravens had raised ticket prices every other year, but that pattern ended last year, partly because of the uncertainty surrounding the potential lockout.

Overall, the Ravens have had five ticket increases at the downtown stadium since it opened in 1998. However, Cass said after a “thorough process” that included several meetings with some of the organization’s top decision makers, the Ravens decided against an increase.

Season ticket holders are expected to get their renewal letters in the mail early next week.

"We know that our fans are stretching financially to buy our season tickets," Cass said. "The economy is getting better but it’s still not strong. That’s always a factor we think about. We balance that with the competitive nature of our business."

The Ravens, whose ticket prices remain in the upper half of the NFL, have sold out every game in M&T Bank Stadium history, and there remains a waiting list of more than 3,000 accounts for permanent seat licenses.

"We try to keep our ticket prices somewhere in the upper tier. We don’t want to fall behind. But looking at it this year, we just decided that we didn’t need a raise," Cass said. “We are fortunate that we are able to sell all of our tickets. We sell all of our suites and our sponsorship revenues continue to be strong. But we don’t take that for granted. You have to know that a lot of our fans are really reaching to buy your tickets.”

The Ravens have had one of the best home-field advantages in football in recent seasons. Including their 20-13 victory over the Houston Texans in the AFC divisional playoff round on Jan.15, the Ravens went 9-0 at home during the 2011 season.

Since 2008, the Ravens have won 18 of their last 19 regular-season home games and are 27-5 in games played in Baltimore. Only the New England Patriots have a better home record at 28-4 during that span.

The dates and times of the Ravens’ 2012 schedule won’t be revealed until mid-to-late April, but the team will face a challenging home slate, including games against both of Sunday’s Super Bowl participants – the Patriots and the New York Giants.

Along with their three AFC North home games versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, the Ravens will also face the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium.

Five of those eight teams made the playoffs this season.