snorting zoloft forums canadian pharmacies no prescription cialis avapro 300 side effects cheaper cialis viagra nolvadex dosage sinemet brand positioning i pill retin-a 0,025 website early ovulation after clomid quibron-t for men in usa purchase rosuvastatin online bupron xl dosage what is the generic for lamisil omnicef medication what is chloromycetin made of depakote mais barato safe place order blopress to buy estrace in uk much does ventolin hfa inhaler cost zyloprim limited india buy toradol online no prescription united states nitrofurantoin prescription coupon how many baclofen does it take to overdose lincocin cheap coumadin price india brand viagra online in us antabuse uk next day delivery wellbutrin sr on line in the uk benzac mg buy paroxetine overnight shipping prescription order zovirax medicine for chickenpox allegra 60 mg capsules purchase plavix 75 mg fucidin generic usa can you buy viagra jelly in ireland sildenafil citrate bactim to buy online side effects of pulmicort medication cheap brand cialis pills buy procardia online usa plavix dose in acs ampicillin online buy zestoretic with visa lamisil online rebate how to order finpecia best online pharmacy generic minipress erection packs 2 from mexico testosterone cream for women weight loss zyban 20 mg compazine iv for migraine rogaine foam allegra 40 mg dose ordering micardis generic viagra price comparison claritin coupon usa buy cefadroxil mexican pharmacies buy femara mg how to buy cytotec in quiapo buy serpina australia actoplus met xr side effects eurax pharmacy prices list if my synthroid dose too high dostinex discount medications retin a cream 0.025 used for wrinkles how much flagyl for dogs fda pharmacy summer internship atarax comprimidos contraindicaciones boots pharmacy brighton north street azulfidine generic reviews atomoxetine hydrochloride wiki buy dramamine overseas what over the counter pills can you take to get pregnant buy digoxin products buy atorlip-20 in india online drugstore canada free shipping ordering low dose anafranil capoten side effects claritin during pregnancy zoloft how to buy generic for bentyl lioresal maintenance dose digoxin uk next day delivery nexium dosage capsules levothroid over the counter wellbutrin xl vs. generic bupropion where is artane in dublin januvia discount coupon buy amoxicillin without prescriptions best place order viagra online canada pharmacy ordering paroxetine mexico how long does it take for propecia to start to work drugstore cowboy watch online free plavix patent expires propranolol brands india benemid discount voucher calan canadian pharmacy post cycle hcg clomid nolvadex cheap lithium polymer cells 4 corners pharmacy review better than viramune tell real cialis rumalaya liniment for men sale in uk valtrex shelf life cognitive enhancement drugs work viagra side effects long term nolvadex italiano accutane before and after results can you only get erexin-v on prescription online pharmacy paypal no prescription fastest ditropan uk delivery rumalaya brand positioning citalopram rx levitra prices australia ondansetron odt 8 mg price yagara prescription only what is keflex lotensin overnight ?? isoptin 40 mg viagra soft buy on line can we trust nootropil online generic azulfidine no prescription trileptal generic name seroquel cost in canada brand viagra sale approved sildenafil lowest price carbozyne best drugstore foundation for oily acne prone skin full coverage buy renagel new zealand online us online pharmacy no prescription levothroid hyaluronic acid tablets do they work buy robaxin no prescription fast delivery ceftin overnight delivery american academy of pediatrics diflucan where to buy nolvadex forum propecia 100mg buy venlor paypal tramadol nights wiki pediatric dosage of augmentin can you buy ortho tri-cyclen online danazol patient reviews keflex uk buy levothyroxine and alcohol cost of viagra generic form of premarin cheap micardis 80mg best site for synthroid furosemide with no rx finasteride manufacturers in india western drug glucophage how to purchase xbox live gold online plavix without prescription medication drugs that interact with erythromycin sumycin where to get alphagan on line purchase safe to buy generic omnicef from canada lopressor online bestellen where to get deltasone non prescription innopran xl pharmacy buyers of nitroglycerin canada styplon online without rx elavil for sale no script buy zebeta online india nexium global sales 2010 orlistat back in stock uk benicar pas cher italie allopurinol prescription drug levothroid how to buy how to buy motilium flagyl suspension mexico premarin 625 mg tablets best place buy viagra online reviews home insurance comparison how to buy metformin in singapore can you get high off snorting zoloft ventolin evohaler wiki buy avapro online reviews allopurinol generic equivalent generic wellbutrin xl problems watson nexium prescription cost target doxycycline price rise can you buy doxycycline over the counter in spain pictures of bactrim pills rumalaya forte for sale philippines is canada pharmacy online legitimate cheap chloramphenicol no prescription amitriptyline sleep walking decadron sublingual dosage pharmacy mexico micardis online pharmacy no prescription needed dipyridamole ciplox western australia herbal medication for anxiety in children i pill quibron-t website what is cephalexin usually prescribed for where to relafen tricor no prescription reviews generic prednisone for dogs order calcium carbonate online uk buying trental using paypal mentat ds syrup canadian pharmacy recommended metformin dose for pcos acai to buy in australia generic drug for colchicine can buy lanoxin online online drugs without prescriptions amaryl online in usa vasotec side effects impotence motrin 800mg Purchase tetracycline 250mg nexium 40 mg tablets buy celexa roche precio argentina buy floxin online no prescription united states accutane online shipping where can i get some tadacip cytoxan pas cher italie lithium lawsuit noprescription-meds coupon code low cost altace genuine cipro 100mg indian pharmacy online cheap meds canada canada pharmacy discount drugs generic levitra super active buy canada is benadryl the best allergy medicine lady era now buy strattera medication clonidine prescription only himplasia price in india chloramphenicol cost where alligators attack buy synthroid levothyroxine online buy duetact buying glyset from canada no prescription order cialis super active cheap prevacid solutab generic best site to buy tegretol omnicef perth australia requip side effects elderly cheapest antivert to buy ampicillin manufacturer in india ordinare viagra e pagare alle consegna generic levothyroxine synthroid descubrimiento viagra femenino south american village nitroglycerin buy brand levitra for daily use voveran sr brand order etodolac in croatia imitrex headache medication remeron to buy is benzaclin better than duac what does cefixime do acai dose weight loss diovan uk sale anti anxiety drugs for cats ondansetron 8 mg during pregnancy walgreens keflex prices como comprar zanaflex allegra 180 mg canada what is benzaclin used to treat capoten ships from india biaxin ordering online pharmacy lantus cymbalta cost canada differin cheap hoodia dosage too high cabgolin 0.5 discount brand levitra acheter pas cher female viagra flovent online overnight new coumadin medication what is flonase spray used for prezzo cialis in farmacia italia buying kamagra in uk canada pharmacies online that sell phenergan order tinidazole tablets retin-a 0,025 discount voucher cheap amantadine us buy aciphex in uk best prices next day cheap precose pharmacy has best price femara very cheap allopurinol xenical tablets side effects ordering viagra plus medrol dosepak side effects can you buy alligators at flea markets canadian remeron generic mirtazapine ordering vpxl canada cialis trial pack levitra buy generic order zoloft from uk without prescription top 10 online ranitidine sites fucidin on line no script can i get atacand is there a generic substitute for avodart buy kamagra oral jelly 80 mg online yasmin mogahed youtube what is clonidine taken for cytotec western australia online pharmacy generic seroquel voveran sr shopping mail order generic brand cialis abana supplier in uk buy haridra new zealand online mexican innopran xl best place to buy grifulvin in usa online pharmacy safe where purchase prednisone why has fertomid been discontinued clomiphene citrate organon medication diarex online canadian proventil inhaler usage isoniazid pharmacy mail order amitriptyline tablets from buy what is augmentin used for in adults aap ki adalat december 2012 v-gel usa cvs prices famciclovir dosage for shingles ephedraxin tablets online buying evecare in manchester brand advair diskus online sales wellbutrin generic 2013 drugs artane residential care home metformin india pharmacy buy fosamax in india online is norvasc a good blood pressure medication mexico pharmacies online that sell periactin singulair ordering online pharmacy buy cialis professional online no prescription usa purchase minocycline mircette side effects reviews what does nitrofurantoin 50 mg look like atacand over counter generic diovan us viagra professional sold over counter do you need rx fincar bromocriptine pregnancy safe beat way to order levitra my dog is taking prednisone what are the side effects buy norvasc from mexico online trental without script zixen trimix mechanik is there a generic for advair diskus 500 50 prilosec without prescription miami prilosec cheapest price what is trileptal made of purchase lamictal 25mg how long to take flomax prednisone asthma regimen ventolin inhaler dosage per day flagyl er in the uk now how much will quibron-t cost topamax alcohol addiction generic viagra manufacturers india advair diskus best price what are the long term side effects of taking zoloft minocycline canada head office viagra costa rica precio buy ventolin nebules 5mg online over the counter hydrocortisone cream rimadyl safety data sheet risperdal next day aricept medicine side effects generic citalopram no prescription nolvadex sale zantac vs prevacid for infants topamax mg india can order metoclopramide online asthma uk inhaler demo buy robaxin generic what is the drug proscar used for tetracycline canada no prescription best place buy dipyridamole ciplox in canada med cab zetia cheapest vytorin to buy what is the side effects of hydrochlorothiazide private phone number search can buy wellbutrin sr online crestor 20 mg cost valtrex drug store online what does saw palmetto look like haldol decanoate injection comprar tadalafil argentina better than wellbutrin buy zanaflex astrailia fluoxetine with birth control pills nitrofurantoin on line buy meclizine 25 mg online l-tryptophan tablets side effects order zocor can you buy erection pills over the counter cheap tricor sale uk buy generic metoclopramide with bonus best drugstore makeup remover for oily skin finax online shipping fertomid shortage allegra over counter 2011 cost generic name of betnovate n donde comprar exelon accutane dosages mild acne what is 1 guy 1 jar yahoo does valtrex have a shelf life an analysis of uk drugs policy baclofen withdrawal schedule purchasing yasmin online bupropion cheap amoxicillin 500mg capsule ingredients birth control pills grifulvin v pariet 10 mg side effects online pharmacy uk rumalaya liniment overseas pharmacy no prescription yagara is generic cytotec effective how much does celebrex cost generic nolvadex reviews staxyn vs levitra altace pills drugstore cost of cleocin t solution can you buy ventolin over counter america diovan to purchase without a prescription buy eldepryl fast shipping canadian medication dictionary buy tinidazole from mexico online lexapro for sale india elocon cream drug class low price prandin uk fucidin now why does benadryl work better than claritin low cost anafranil motrin uk buy canada no prescription for desyrel where to get tadapox what types of silagra are there azithromycin dosage for chlamydia treatment is lukol legal in uk orange percocet from india buy nizagara online with out prescription moduretic without a script reviews on cephalexin cheap genuine astelin online prednisolone refill pack brand diclofenac buy buy growth rx cheap buy mentat ds syrup with paypal no prescription buy isoniazid mg sex stimulant pills for men albendazole discount online mg female viagra 100mg tablet hydrochlorothiazide sigma serevent sale flomax 40mg lamisil price oral prescription pill identifier m357 nexium cost comparison buying propecia in the uk bentyl tablets 20 mg liquid maxaman review long term side effects of cytoxan and taxotere fast serpina deleviery online pharmacy uk remeron buy aceon without prescription use isoptin coupon online brand clomid for sale how to buy cheap cialis artane boys band music viagra en ligne au que'bec pulmicort prices at costco online cialis jelly purchase which is stronger viagra or cialis what do lopressor pills look like how to take medrol ivf buy generic clozaril craigslist usa search tempest erexor buy online ireland where to buy acai berry pulp alavert 10 mg tablets mexican drug stores online viagra in spain where to buy overnight delivery rx buy amaryl coming off fluoxetine dizzy tadacip (cialis generico) 20 mg generic toprol xl uk paypal buy ophthacare mg prednisone before a race cheap phexin cialis sublingual medicine online septilin shopping diovan sales 2010 buy alesse pills redustat orlistat 120 mg strattera weight gain or loss best place to order eurax in us bystolic now zovirax 800mg pills for sale side effects of kamagra gold pill identifier bayer 20 what does allegra d 24 hour look like learn is melatonin better than unisom grifulvin v refill pack cheap generic viagra super active buy testosterone cream low cost calan vasotec medication use aciclovir tablets 150 mg chloramphenicol 1000x stock solution allegra discounted yagara buy online ireland lasix 20 mg daily what is fertomid drugs synthroid t4 or t3 what is doxycycline hyclate 100mg capsules used for how to import serophene silagra cost canadian generic uk paypal glyset valacyclovir valtrex buy speman online with mastercard lov cost didronel best place buy methotrexate buy antivert us diclofenac some free or low cost rumalaya vgr 100 street value order yasmin tablets walmart pharmacy careers in canada ci cipro 85 sale voltaren gel dosage and administration carbozyne medicine online albendazole without prescription pills accutane uk brand name erectile dysfunction vitamin d deficiency how often to use erythromycin ophthalmic ointment buy medrol online no prescription pharmacy estrace drug in usa pharmacy aspirin tablets 150 mg buying dostinex using paypal drug market order levitra best viagra pills pakistan is it illegal to buy prescription drugs from canada online differin mail order generic baclofen tablets buy seroflo 20 order augmentin tablets cheap nexium buy online where to buy zestril drugs online to buy lasix in uk levitra super active uk online donde comprar finasteride colombia what is avapro for diamox visa buy viagra without a prescription from canadian pharmacy toradol tablets dosage purchasing crestor online anti-anxiety medicine buspar zyprexa pills side effects phone in order for duetact buy canada no prescription for flagyl er maxalt from patient valtrex generic cost where can i purchase extendaquin can allopurinol get you high is promethazine codeine legal in canada comprar fertomid online keftab barato elimite reviews for men alli perth australia diltiazem cream cost where to buy buspar online ciprofloxacin alcohol effects mircette generico italiano lexapro dosages what high nizagara good viagra alli walmart reviews unicure india noida strong sleeping pills without prescriptions order premarin 1.25 mg cheap uk fexofenadine allegra mg rimonabant withdrawal what is prilosec dr cialis super active spain what is cholestoplex made of vasotec overseas can buy mentat online where to lipitor university of new mexico pharmacy school buy proscar online overnight wellbutrin pill shop discount code generic pills for precose altace side effects weight gain floxin without prescriptions precose buy canada buy ortho tri-cyclen buy suprax hong kong low price propecia uk donde consigo cialis barato buy promethazine online pharmacy get aceon toronto singulair cost 5mg liquid cialis dosage forum aciclovir canadian medications without prescription buy dilantin united states antivert women buy accutane side effects hair loss shortage of prevacid 2012 resources for prilosec canadian pharmacy aceon cialis professional over counter amoxil pharmacy prices list health canada sustiva levitra 40 mg online acheter viagra chez pfizer dramamine medicine online lithium orotate dose for children entocort buy online ireland clonidine 25 microgram tablets bp chance twins 150 mg clomid where can i buy synthroid online without a prescription cheap buy generic stromectol prescription best price for zyrtec d hydrochlorothiazide pharmacy prices list buy nitrofurantoin no prescription fast delivery xenical australia pbs foreign pharmacy price for atorvastatin zantac dosage instructions ampicillin iv rxlist buy anafranil capsules celexa western australia viagra wikipedia italiano order abilify 2.5 mg what is singulair 10mg tablets best overseas pharmacy forum retino-a cream 0,05 paypal clomid drug store online medrol shelf life keftab over counter uk buy tadalis with no script why has floxin been discontinued buy precose buy brand cialis paypal accepted buy vasotec online no prescription us pyridium mg price colchicine generic prescription drug astelin discount naprosyn brand cialis sale discount tadalafil low carbon energy university alliance awc canadian pharmacy reviews cheap car insurance triamterene without prescription discount code for dilantin
Home Pete Toms LWIB: Ticketing Gets Creative in MLB, Portland Beavers Update, MiLB Might Face Tough Year, Plus Tidbits

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 381 guests online

Atom RSS

LWIB: Ticketing Gets Creative in MLB, Portland Beavers Update, MiLB Might Face Tough Year, Plus Tidbits PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 24
PoorBest 
Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Monday, 22 February 2010 06:50

Last Week in Bizball by Pete Toms

This week in “Last Week in BizBall”, the Cubs pre-sale of tickets at 20% over face value brings attention to the shifting sands of “ticketing”, an update on the future of the Portland Beavers franchise, difficult times ahead for MiLB owners?, and tidbits.

“TICKETING” UPDATE

LWIB saw much reporting and controversy surrounding the Chicago Cubs pre-sale of tickets at 20% over face value. In August 07, MLB and ticket resale leader StubHub announced they had entered into a 5 year revenue sharing partnership. At the time, many sports business pundits believed that the formal entry of the “big 4“ into the “secondary ticketing” market would bring vast amounts of new revenue to professional sports. More recently, some question if “secondary ticketing” has been the boom to professional sports that many foresaw and if the “big 4” should be in the “secondary market” at all. The last few years have also seen the introduction of sophisticated “ticketing” systems. This new technology is revolutionizing “ticketing”, allowing clubs to introducing the “variable pricing” model long used by the airline industry. MLB revenues have never been more diversified and ticket sales no longer account for a majority of industry revenues. However, MLB remains at its core a “butts in the seats” business, as ticket sales continue to be the single biggest source of revenue in the industry. How franchises adapt to the rapidly changing world of “ticketing” bears watching.

LWIB the Cubs staged their first MasterCard First Chance Presale. From February 15-18 tickets were available via the Cubs at 20% over their face value. (15% if purchased via MasterCard)  Pre-sales of tickets amongst MLB clubs is not new or unique. Many clubs, to varying degrees, offer pre-sales to existing customers (e.g. full and partial season ticket holders) Ken Belson pointed out in the New York Times that, “…the Cubs’ presale stands out because there are no preconditions to participate — just a willingness to pay more.” Mr. Belson also described the conditions that allowed the Cubs to implement such a pre-sale.

In Boston and Chicago in particular, where the Red Sox and the Cubs are intensely popular, the ballparks are famously small and the high proportion of season-ticket holders has reduced the number of individual-game tickets available, fans feel the pressure to immediately get online and buy seats before it is too late.

AND

…..the waiting list to get a season ticket at Wrigley Field has 110,000 people on it.

Media reaction to the Cubs pre-sale was mixed. Tim Joyce was offended by the Cubs new practice and expressed his disdain at RealClearSports:

Yes, the Cubs are now in the business of officially scalping their own tickets. Their cynical and contemptible new policy gives their fans a chance to purchase advance sale tickets for regular season games this week for a limited time, but with a 20% Scalping Tax added on. And the owners of the most storied Chicago franchise haven't neglected their corporate duties - if one pays with a MasterCard, it's only a 15% fee.

Don Walker wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Depending on your point of view, what the Chicago Cubs are doing today is either a naked money grab or marketing genius.” Mark Brown wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, “This is the conundrum in which the Cubs always find themselves: Their tickets are worth more than they can get away with charging for them from a public relations standpoint, a fact proved out by the prices those tickets fetch on the secondary market.”

The Cubs pre-sale also illustrates the entanglements amongst franchises and ticket resellers/brokers in contemporary professional sports. While MLB, via their official “secondary ticketing” partnership with StubHub is active in this marketplace, the Cubs staged the pre-sale in part to insulate themselves from the secondary market. Along with the pre-sale the Cubs have increased the number of “platinum” games on the Wrigley schedule, again in part due to the secondary market. Petrina Crockford reported for TicketNews.com:

The team increased the number of platinum games for the 2010 season, from 14 to 26.

The Cubs also attribute the increase in ticket prices to the secondary market. Cubs president Crane Kenney told the Chicago Tribune that 25 percent of platinum tickets ended up on StubHub, which is also the official reseller of MLB.

Brian Borawski reacted to the Cubs pre-sale at The Hardball Times, “This is also an obvious attempt by the Cubs to chew into the resale ticket market. I know the ticket resale business was huge a couple of years ago and while I’m sure it’s regional, I know they’re still around. Teams have made attempts to get in on the game with varying results and this is just one more stab.”

The Cubs reasoned that their pre-sale would be popular with fans indifferent over whether they paid a premium on the “secondary market” or directly to the team to ensure their attendance at games they had a strong interest in. While no numbers were released, Cubs CMO Wally Hayward was quoted after the first two days of the pre-sale, "From what we saw yesterday and today, we received tremendous support from the fans, We've had a lot of positive response to this."

Not surprisingly, the pre-sale also brought attention to the long time controversy surrounding whether or not the Cubs have been scalping their own tickets for many years. From the aforementioned Mark Brown column:

At least this 20 percent premium fee for the pre-sale is right out in the open, unlike Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services, the ticket broker surreptitiously created by former Cubs owners Tribune Co. to enable the team to scalp its own tickets. Because the ticket broker service was owned by Tribune, the team was successfully able to argue that it was separate from the team and therefore legal.

It might interest you to know that this "separate" company was part of the sale of the team to the Ricketts family and that the Cubs will continue to sell tickets to Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services for resale to the public.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE MORE ON TICKETING, AN UPDATE ON THE POSSIBLE RELOCATION OF THE TRIPLE-A PORTLAND BEAVERS. WHETHER MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COULD HAVE A TOUGH YEAR, AND OTHER TIDBITS

While the Cubs strive to see fewer of their tickets sold via the “secondary market”, last season saw reports that the Yankees were doing the opposite. There was speculation that in order to move ticket inventory that had been over priced using a pre recession model, the Yankees turned to the “secondary market”. Last season Alfred Branch Jr. reported for TicketNews.com:

Less than a week after the team slashed prices for many of its premium tickets, hundreds of premium New York Yankees tickets are turning up on StubHub, and speculation is rising that the team or intermediaries may have posted them.

While there is no direct proof that the team is involved – as a policy, StubHub does not disclose seller information – large quantities of premium seats are not turning up on other broker Web sites or exchanges, only on StubHub, which gives the impression that the tickets are not coming from multiple sources.

Many of the Suite seats tickets began turning up on StubHub after the team cut prices for them last week, and began offered extra tickets to previous purchasers and season ticket holders.

Is the “secondary market” the friend or foe of MLB clubs? The answer is likely neither but certainly the hype around “secondary ticketing” has abated. At the end of 07, CNNMoney.com reporter Chris Isidore named StubHub his Sports Business of the Year, “….nothing has been more significant, or will have as long-lasting effect, as the rise of the market for ticket reselling.” Mr. Isidore was far from the only sports business pundit at that time predicting newfound riches for professional sports from “secondary ticketing”. Less than two years later, some sports business reporters are arguing that “secondary ticketing” has been a disappointment to the industry. While there is obvious profit in reselling tickets to high demand games, “secondary ticketing” has also resulted in a glut of ridiculously cheap tickets. In July of last year, Tom Van Riper reported for Forbes:

The resale market for sports tickets has gone the way of the real estate boom--a bonanza driven by ever-increasing prices that came crashing down when the bubble proved unsustainable.

AND

But these days, online prices are dropping along with demand, with many games going for far below face value. At the same time, management's double-dipping into the ticket till turns off some fans who believe teams were already squeezing every last dollar out them. Never mind that StubHub prices move with demand, whether or not the team gets a cut of the sale, perception often trumps reality. And the revenue that clubs are realizing from the practice isn't living up to expectations, some say.

In May of last year, Eric Fisher reported for the SportsBusiness Journal that the ticket resale market has changed dramatically from its origins when it catered to a high-end clientele. Last season saw an overabundance of MLB tickets on the “secondary market” resulting from a flood of individual resellers into the marketplace, spurred in part by the recession.

“There is so much inventory out on the markets right now, particularly for baseball,” said Mike Janes, co-founder and chief executive of FanSnap, a Bay Area-based startup that acts as a metasearch engine for secondary tickets. More than 15 million tickets are accessible through the site, and the majority of those tickets are for sporting events. “I joke now that you’re going to pay more for your beer or your parking to go to a game than your actual ticket. Heck, you could pay more for your large mocha latte. But we’re living in a very, very different world now.

“There was a general thought for a long time in this business that ticket resale was a supplier-driven business, but the supply-demand equation has totally swung the other way now,” Janes said.

“Secondary ticketing” is not the only major change of recent years in “ticketing“. Clubs are adopting “variable pricing” (aka “dynamic pricing”) models. In the “variable pricing” model, ticket prices for the same seat are continually adjusted according to a broad range of factors including (but not limited to) day of the week, weather forecast, opponent, starting pitcher(s), standings, in stadium promotions, etc. Many have pointed out that this strategy is not new, the airline industry has practiced it for many years. However, the introduction of sophisticated ticketing software developed by companies like Qcue and Stratbridge has recently allowed MLB franchises to implement the same approach.

Darren Rovell of CNBC was likely the first sports business pundit to predict the use of “variable pricing” by professional sports franchises. In December 08, Mr. Rovell reported on the Giants decision to use Qcue’s software to manage some of their ticket inventory for the 09 season.

The SF Giants are going to do very well with this program and I think, in the end, will find out that they're going to make more money through airline pricing than static pricing. At this point, many clubs wrongly see this as a risk and that's why it's going to take some time. But in two years, I'm thinking a third of the baseball teams will be doing this with thousands of their seats.

In October, Don Muret reported for the SportsBusiness Journal that the Giants were very satisfied with the results of their limited use of Qcue’s “dynamic pricing” software during the 09 season.

The San Francisco Giants’ dynamic pricing program at AT&T Park proved to be such a success in 2009, the club says, that it is exploring the possibility of expanding the system to the entire ballpark for 2010.

The Giants say they generated $500,000 in incremental ticket revenue after signing a one-year contract with software company Qcue that enables the club to change single-game prices at any time.

The team sold 25,000 single-game tickets for seats in the outfield bleachers and upper deck, in the stadium’s least desirable locations. The Giants wouldn’t reveal a total revenue figure for the seats or how it compared with previous seasons.

Darren Rovell’s aforementioned prediction appears prescient in light of the SportsBusiness Journal’s recent prediction to, “Look for more teams to start testing dynamic pricing to sell tickets in least demand.”

The recent changes in “primary ticketing” (premium games, variable pricing) have met with some media backlash. Earlier this month, Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly described the Giants “dynamic pricing” as “downright evil”.

….it just seems downright wrong that you should be made to pay more for a baseball game because it's a "great day for baseball." It seems exploitative that you should be made to cough up extra dollars when Tim Lincecum is on the mound: will we be given a deep discount when Zito is pitching or Pablo Sandoval takes a day off? Further following the airline model, will we be charged extra for using the restroom? Do clean seats cost more? Do I have to pay extra to stay out of the all-felon, all-drunk, all-jerks talking loudly about work on their iPhone section?

Mr. Eskenazi’s disdain for “dynamic pricing” comes on the heels of the complaints last month from Kevin Cowherd of The Baltimore Sun regarding the Orioles announcement to charge more for 19 “premium games” (Opening Day plus all Yankees and Red Sox visits) as well as tacking on an additional charge to tickets purchased on game day. Mr. Cowherd reported that, according to the Orioles, 10 other teams charged a premium for game day tickets last season. Sports economist Dennis Coates responded to Mr. Cowherd’s column and wonders if the MLB franchises charging a premium on game day purchasers are ill advised.

…Early purchasers of airline tickets get lower prices than last minute purchasers. The airline bears risks of flying with empty seats, and the higher last minute prices capture the opportunity costs of selling the seats earlier, for example. Of course, virtually no one has to suddenly and unexpectedly rush to a ball game, so holding seats open for these last minute purchasers cannot justify the higher prices for game day purchases.

It isn't clear to me how it is a reward to advance ticket buyers to know that day of game ticket buyers paid a higher ticket price. It is even less clear to me that a "reward" to the buyers least likely to alter their purchasing behavior is a profit-maximizing business move. In other words, it seems to me the Orioles have their pricing with respect to day of game tickets versus advance tickets exactly backwards.

Variable pricing is here to stay if it fulfills its promise of allowing clubs to sell more of their least desirable ticket inventory. As for the philosophical debate over whether it is positive for baseball fans, not all are in agreement with Mr.‘s Eskenazi and Cowherd that the fans are being “played” by the franchises. Aside from the premiums being charged by some clubs on “game day” purchases, some argue that “variable pricing” of MLB tickets is a positive development. Stanford economist Roger Noll remarked to the Biz of Baseball in an interview published November of last year, “Economists have always wondered why pro sports teams do not engage in more price variability than they do. It makes sense economically to have the sticker price be the price that is appropriate for the weekend, and to offer discounts for week days, especially if the opposition is weak.”

J.C. Bradbury reacted to Mr. Eskenazi’s criticisms of “dynamic pricing” at his Sabernomics blog. Mr. Bradbury argues that the introduction of “dynamic pricing” to MLB is a positive for baseball fans.

….The blessing of charging different prices for a product is that it allows more units to be sold at a lower price. In a world were a seller chooses only one price for a product, it must be the one where it maximizes the gains from selling a few units at a high price and selling many units at a low price. Where that price occurs it’s going to result in some people paying prices less than they value the product and some having to pay more than they value the product. The former group will continue to purchase the product, but the latter group is priced out of the market—this is very bad.

AND

But with price discrimination, those marginal fans have the opportunity to go to games when other fans value them less…Fluctuating prices don’t just mean higher prices, they result in lower prices as well. The team now has the freedom to charge lower prices without losing revenue from all the fans willing to pay higher prices when games are in high demand.

If dynamic pricing goes away, so do the cheap seats. If you have to choose one price to maximize profits, it’s going to be one that prevents a lot of fans from going to the games, and that is a bigger tragedy in my mind.

Selling tickets at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park is a much different proposition than selling tickets at Progressive Field and Rogers Centre. For some clubs the concern that the “secondary market” cannibalizes their “primary market” market is a legitimate concern. For other clubs, the challenge is pricing tickets on their “primary market” closer to what the “secondary market” commands. With “variable pricing” in MLB in its infancy, it is too early to know if selling baseball tickets is analogous to selling seats on an airplane. “Ticketing” will be an interesting and important area to both fans and franchises in the present and near future.

PORTLAND BEAVERS UPDATE

Last month, Last Week in BizBall reported on the real possibility that the Portland Beavers franchise will relocate subsequent to this season. LWIB, Josh Leventhal reported for Baseball America:

Triple-A Portland is exploring the possibility of temporarily relocating to Tucson, Ariz., for the start of the 2011 season if it cannot complete construction on a new local ballpark in time for Opening Day, a pair of newspapers recently reported.

The Arizona Star reported that Portland owner Merritt Paulson has been exploring the Tucson market, which hosts a pair of ballparks suitable for Triple-A baseball. Meanwhile, Portland general manager Chris Metz confirmed to the Oregonian that the team has been looking at other markets, but he would not elaborate as to where.

Houston suburb Sugar Land has also been rumoured as a possible future home to the Portland franchise. LWIB, BallparkDigest.com reported that negotiations are moving ahead on the construction of a new ballpark in Sugar Land. But the possibility of the Portland franchise relocating to Sugar Land is suspect because, “…the front office of the Houston Astros has been adamant in its opposition to any affiliated team entering the market.”

DIFFICULT TIMES AHEAD FOR MiLB OWNERS?

MiLB attendance declined approximately 3% last year. By comparison, MLB attendance declined approximately 6.5% last year. Both were very satisfied with the results given the economic recession. Nonetheless this off season has brought reports that some minor league owners are experiencing difficulties not seen in the recent past. LWIB, Will Lingo the Editor in Chief of Baseball America reported on the January annual shareholders meeting of Rochester Community Baseball (aka the owners of the Triple A Rochester Red Wings).

…this year the Red Wings lost money for the first time since moving into Frontier Field in 1997. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, the Wings lost $24,349 last season—driven primarily by investment losses —and while that's a small loss, it shows the tight times minor league teams are facing, even the successful ones.

Shareholders, while approving the issues put before them like officers and bylaws, had the most questions about Rochester's ownership of the Batavia franchise in the New York-Penn League. The Red Wings saved the franchise from ruin by taking it over before the 2008 season and assuming its debts, and the Muckdogs operation has lost a total of $396,920 since Rochester took it over.

The Red Wings hope to recoup their investment by eventually selling the franchise, but some were skeptical that they'll find a buyer in these economic times.

Mr. Lingo’s report was reminiscent of a year end prediction made by BallparkDigest.com.

It will continue to be a buyers' market in the minors. It is a good time to have money, as there are some deals to be made if you're looking to buy a baseball team. Former MiLB President Mike Moore repeatedly warned owners about the escalating valuation of ballclubs, and it looks like he was right: Many teams were overvaluated the last five years, and unfortunately a lot of folks bought into the market at its high point. We continue to hear about affiliated teams on the market for some pretty decent and fair prices. Valuations are even more depressed in the indy ranks. We don't expect this trend to wane in the coming year.

TIDBITS

  • Mike Ozanian of Forbes is very critical of the pending sale of the Rangers from Hicks Sports Group to a consortium led by Chuck Greenberg.  “This deal stinks. It is rotten to the core. And it sets a bad precedent…..It will be a sick joke if 75% of MLB's owners sign on to this deal, as is required for league approval.
  • MLB continues to grow its RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program. This weekend saw MLB’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton host a tournament for 2 HBCU’s and 2 Division I schools. (details here)  A second Urban Youth Academy is set to open in Houston to be followed by a third in Hialeah, Florida. LWIB, Don Walker reported for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Jimmie Lee Solomon recently visited Milwaukee and discussed with local business people the possibility of an Urban Youth Academy in that community. In the 09 amateur draft, 21 athletes who either played or trained at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy were selected.
  • Diane M. Grassi is very critical of MLB and the MLBPA for not taking measures to improve the working conditions of Costa Ricans who manufacture (by hand) 2.2 million baseballs annually. “As America’s National Pastime has continued to rake in record high revenues over the past several years – in the billions of dollars each season – MLB continues to remain deaf to its critics concerning the manufacture of its Official Baseball, apparel and other accessories, with regard to unfair labor practices in the Third World.”
  • Sarah Talalay blogged about the Marlins’ FanFest for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Ms. Talalay quotes Marlins President David Samson on the prospects of the Marlins hosting an All Star Game in their currently under construction new stadium. “It has not been confirmed, but if you thought to yourself we would host the All-Star Game in 2015, you would probably not be misleading yourself,”


Pete Toms is an author for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter Twitter

FacebookFollow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?