FanPost

Dynamic Ticket Pricing and the Fans




Last spring the Cincinnati Reds announced that they will be moving away from set ticket prices towards a dynamic pricing model.  The idea being that the club can increase ticket sales for April and September weekday games against Pittsburgh by lowering ticket costs, and can increase revenue for high drawing games against St. Louis on a July weekend by raising prices with demand.  We already have seen that a bit with the tier system, but this will function more like an airline model, in that basically for every ticket sold the cost of a ticket increases, and ticket prices will likely go up the closer you are to game day.

 

The Chicago White Sox implemented dynamic ticket pricing this year, and the result was attendance dropped by the average price of a ticket greatly increased (as discussed in this article).  I personally experienced this last spring, when I attended a weekend game against the Dodgers.  My experience was that the decrease in ticket prices did not happen; a few days before the game I attempted to buy tickets from Whitesox.com and the cheapest ticket in the ballpark was $25, and it was in the upper deck in the outfield, yet only 25,000 tickets were sold.  Neither the White Sox or the Dodgers were terribly good teams last year, so that should not have been an expensive ticket, and the fact that only 25,000 tickets were sold, and significantly less people showed up demonstrates the lack of demand despite the high cost of a ticket.

 

Dynamic ticket pricing is bad for fans.  It punishes us for wanting to wait till close to game day to buy tickets to see what the weather will be, pitching match ups, or if our schedule will allow it.  At the very least if teams are going to foist dynamic ticket pricing on us, they should then allow us to return the ticket to the box office for a credit of that dollar amount towards a future ticket, since for some fans the only way they may be able to afford a ticket is to buy it well in advance.  Dynamic ticket pricing also discourages walk up fans, I don't want to play Russian Roulette at the box office on the day of game, and it is significantly more difficult to barter with a scalper if you don't know what the cost of a ticket is at the box. 

I guess what is most frustrating about this is baseball and everybody involved is making a ton of money, whether he be Joey Votto or Bob Castilini.  Beside the cost of tickets, cost of ballpark food, baseball makes a killing with media contracts, apparel, novelties, and mlb.tv.  This just strikes at continued and unnescary greed of trying to squeeze those of us who care and make this business possible, for all we are worth.  For me personally, if I am in Cincinnati for the next baseball season, this may seriously reduce the number of games I see.

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