The baseball ticket stock market

This might be the worst news for baseball fans since the designated hitter. The system that’s used to set airline ticket prices is now migrating to baseball tickets.

We’ve already seen some changes in this area in the last few years. The Twins’ charging more for games against the Yankees, for example. But now it’s possible you’ll never pay the same price twice for the same seat.

It’s an experiment being used by the San Francisco Giants. Traditionally, prices for games are set before the start of the season. Now, they’re being set depending on such things as the weather, the team being played, the starting pitchers, and whether the team is in a playoff hunt.

Just as you could be sitting on an airplane next to a person who paid $200 more (or less) for the same seat, you could soon be sitting next to someone who paid more for his/her ticket because the forecast was for sunshine when he/she bought it, while you waited for the clouds.

With that system in place, the next idea was only a matter of time — an “options market” to hedge against it. The Giants are rolling out a system allowing fans to “lock in” their ticket prices at a given amount.

In the meantime, buying a ticket is becoming like playing the stock market, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

But ticket prices vary widely. A lower box seat for a Tuesday night in June against the Colorado Rockies, not usually a big draw, was priced at $30 (down $1 from last week), while that same seat for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the popular Boston Red Sox was priced at $89.50. In the middle was a Saturday match against the cross-bay rival A’s costing $65.75.

Still, Stanley said, the Giants aren’t trying to match prices on the secondary market. Similar lower box tickets for that Sunday Giants-Red Sox game were going for $355 each on StubHub.

“We’re not gouging,” Stanley said. “We’re not sticking it to people. While we increase prices, we’re not getting greedy.”

If you’re following a model perfected by the airlines, you will. You will.

(h/t: Bill Catlin)

  • JackU

    One has to wonder if they price like the airlines will they eventually suffer the same fate? I can see it now, Since no one in the Bay area cares about the Nationals, the Giants request that at least one of their dates with the Nats at home be a double header. (canceling a “flight” to save money)

    Of course the MLB Players Association (one of the strongest unions in the country) might complain.