Supply and demand. The twin forces that drive the study of Economics. And they are ideally illustrated this weekend in San Francisco. The Giants have a finite number of tickets available. And nothing stokes demand like a heated playoff chase that comes right down to the final weekend of the season. The Giants hold the slim advantage of a two-game lead. With both teams in action today, that buffer may shrink even more prior to the season's final act - a three game set in San Francisco between the rivals. The drama has provided the club with the chance to put their dynamic ticket pricing system into full-effect.
Rob Gloster of Bloomberg News highlights the process that allows the team to increase the price as much as four times what some seats cost at the start of the season. As reported earlier this week by Pete Toms the Giants "have been the most aggressive practitioner of dynamic/variable pricing in MLB." That aggressiveness has been rewarded with enhanced revenue for this weekend's games
A ticket in the Field Club behind home plate for that game started the season at $68. It cost $92 on Aug. 1, $121 a week later, $145 on Sept. 4 and $175 now.
According to Russ Stanley, director of ticket sales for the Giants, that revenue advantage has been nearly 10 percent per seat over the course of the season. That increase is fueled in part by the greater demand the Giants pennant push has prompted. But also aiding the effort are the price floors that protect season ticket holders from any potential price deflation.
Spurring the trend towards dynamic ticket pricing is the success of transaction facilitators in the secondary market, like StubHub, where supply and demand reign supreme. The difference between contention and playing out the string could be no more stark than it is there. Recently eliminated Colorado plays recently eliminated St. Louis in a four game set this weekend. Seats for the series opener start at less than a dollar for tonight, climbing up as high as four dollars for Sunday's season finale. The price will drop as Sunday gets closer and the demand slacks off. The Giants are counting on increased demand to keep prices maxed all weekend, even if it means the race goes right down to the wire, because after all, more drama means more demand.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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