Divvying Up Postseason Ticket Revenue

During the 2012 postseason, I wrote this post explaining how revenue generated by postseason tickets sales is shared among the league, postseason teams and players on postseason teams. The basic distribution formulas are established by MLB Rules and the collective bargaining agreement, and haven’t changed. But let’s review to make sure we’re all on the same page.

  • Ticket revenue is just that — revenue raised by the sale of postseason tickets. It doesn’t include concessions, parking or merchandise.
  • The Commissioner’s Office takes 15% of all postseason ticket revenue.
  • The remaining 85% of postseason ticket revenue is divided among the playoff teams and the Players Pool.
  • Fifty percent of Wild Card game ticket revenue is contributed to the Players Pool.
  • Sixty percent of ticket revenue from the first three games of the Division Series is contributed to the Players Pool.
  • Sixty percent of ticket revenue from the first four games of the Championship Series and the World Series is contributed to the Players Pool.

  • All postseason ticket revenue not paid to the Commissioner’s Office or contributed to the Players Pool is shared equally between the two teams in each Series or Wild Card game.

What kind of ticket revenue are we talking about?

I don’t have ticket prices the two Wild Card games as I started my research after those games were played, and the information is no longer available on the team websites.

For the eight teams that played or are still playing in a Division Series, below is a chart listing the range of ticket prices for the Division Series and, where applicable, the Championship Series. The Giants haven’t published ticket prices for the NLCS, so I estimated the their ticket price range for the Championship Series based on the increase in price for my seats at AT&T Park between the NLDS and the NLCS.

Team Division Series Championship Series Seating Capacity
Royals $76 – $450 $68 – $562 37,903
Angels $30 – $275 45,483
Orioles $15 – $150 $40 – $225 45,971
Tigers $30 – $150 41,681
Cardinals $35 – $165 $71 – $240 46,861
Dodgers $15 – $180 $50 – $200 56,000
Giants $50 – $339 $75 – $450 41,915
Nationals $25 – $275 $55 – $325 41,418

MLB sets ticket prices for the World Series for all ballparks. Tickets will start at $125 and go as high as $425.

Where do we stand so far?

The A’s and Royals shared equally in 35% of the ticket revenue from the AL Wild Card Game. The Giants and Pirates split 35% of the ticket revenue from the NL Wild Card Game. That’s all the A’s and Pirates will see from postseason ticket sales.

The Royals and Angels shared equally in 25% of total ticket revenue from the three games in their ALDS. Same for the Tigers and Orioles. That’s all the Tigers and Angels will see from postseason ticket sales.

The Dodgers and Cardinals will play at least four games. Those teams will split 25% of ticket revenue from the first two games in Los Angeles and the first game in St. Louis, but will share equally in 85% of ticket revenue from Game 4, and Game 5 back in Los Angeles, if necessary. The same will be true for the Giants and Nationals, with Game 4 in San Francisco and Game 5, if necessary, in Washington.

What about the Players Pool? That money is divided as follows:

  • World Series Winner: 36%
  • World Series Loser: 24%
  • Two Championship Series Losers: 24%
  • Four Division Series Losers: 13%
  • Wild Card Losers: 3%

Last year, postseason ticket sales contributed $62,683,962 to the Players Pool. And while ticket prices are likely higher this year than last year, there were 18 Division Series games. With the Tigers and Angels already eliminated, there will be a maximum of 16 Division Series games. Depending on what happens in the two Championship Series and the World Series, we could see the Players Pool funds go down from 2013, as they did from 2012 to 2013.

Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.

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7 years ago

What kind of distribution is there internally with the players pool? I have heard that teams will vote for which non-rostered players/personnel receive a share of the teams’ pools. Using my simple monkey math, the Red Sox cleared $22.5 million least year. Do you have any intel on the distribution within the team for that money?

7 years ago
Reply to  robertobeers
John Thacker
7 years ago
Reply to  Wendy Thurm

The NYT article confusingly seems to imply that the LCS losers *each* get 24% instead of sharing it, which is of course mathematically impossible:

the Baltimore Orioles, who are one win from a guaranteed 24 percent of the pool…
The World Series and League Championship Series losers receive 24 percent of that; the division series losers receive 13 percent; and the wild-card losers receive 3 percent.

Obviously the Orioles were not one win away from a guaranteed 24% of the pool; they were one win away from a guaranteed half of 24%.