For Perennial Postseason Teams, Ticket Price Fatigue

The secondary ticket price market for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series was the worst I’d seen in the postseason since the Giants opened AT&T (nee Pac Bell) Park in 2000. I had extra tickets to the game, listed them on StubHub for 15% above face value, and watched them sit unsold for days. I dropped the price to my out-of-pocket cost. Nothing. I dropped it to face value. Nothing. I dropped it below face value. Nothing. I offered them for free to friends of Facebook. No takers. I tried to sell them to shady ticket brokers outside the ballpark. They offered peanuts. I offered them free to my twitter followers. Free. The “Oh, I wish I could, but have to work!” responses rolled in.

Granted, it was a weekday game, with a 1:00 p.m. start time. But it was Game 3 of the NLCS, damn it. I could not give the tickets away.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone.

TiqIQ is an online ticket aggregator. The company scans secondary ticket sites on the web and displays the ticket options from all sites in one easy-to-navigate format. TiqIQ also tracks changes in the secondary ticket market, including for all postseason baseball games dating to 2010. And according to TiqIQ, there’s been a downturn in average ticket prices on the secondary market for teams that have made more than one postseason run over the last five years. [Note: the average prices is for ticketsĀ listed on a secondary ticket exchange. TiqIQ provided the information to me on Monday, October 20.)

Let’s start with the Giants. They are back in the World Series for the third time since 2010 and the average ticket price for the games to be played in San Francisco are considerably lower than they were in 2010 and 2012, even though the Giants will host weekend games this year.

World Series Game at AT&T Park Secondary Market Average Ticket Price
2010
Game 1 Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,625.73
Game 2 Thursday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,786.80
2012
Game 1 Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,272.69
Game 2 Thursday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,237.09
2014
Game 3 Friday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,074.21
Game 4 Saturday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,188.09
Game 5 Sunday, 5:00 p.m. local time $1,132.60

The average ticket price drop was even more pronounced in the NLCS, as I had personally experienced.

NLCS Game at AT&T Park Secondary Market Average Ticket Price
2010
Game 3 Tuesday, 1:00 pm local time $462.80
Game 4 Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. local time $539.81
Game 5 Thursday, 5:00 p.m. local time $289.81
2012
Game 1 Sunday, 5:00 p.m. local time $886.63
Game 2 Monday, 5:00 p.m. local time $835.95
Game 6 Sunday, 5:00 p.m. local time $478.68
Game 7 Monday, 5:00 p.m. local time $665.51
2014
Game 3 Tuesday, 1:00 pm local time $269.29
Game 4 Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. local time $260.01
Game 5 Thursday, 5:00 p.m. local time $279.12

In St. Louis, where the Cardinals have played in the NLCS four consecutive years, average ticket prices took a dip in 2012, rose in 2013, and declined again this season from the high set in Game 6 of 2013. As compared to San Francisco, the average prices have been lower, but more stable.

NLCS Game at Busch Stadium Secondary Market Average Ticket Price
2011
Game 3 Wednesday, 7:00 pm local time $261.22
Game 4 Thursday, 7:00 p.m. local time $297.13
Game 5 Friday, 7:00 p.m. local time $319.45
2012
Game 3 Wednesday, 3:00 pm local time $231.50
Game 4 Thursday, 7:00 p.m. local time $212.07
Game 5 Friday, 7:00 p.m. local time $247.42
2013
Game 1 Friday, 7:00 p.m. local time $241.14
Game 2 Saturday, 3:00 p.m. local time $246.05
Game 6 Friday, 7:00 p.m. local time $383.77
2014
Game 1 Saturday, 7:00 p.m. local time $266.80
Game 2 Sunday, 7:00 local time $264.30

The biggest ticket price fatigue showed up in Detroit, where the Tigers played in the ALCS three consecutive seasons. Granted, Detroit has been suffering through dreadful economic conditions, and that may very well have been a significant factor in tamping down ticket prices for the Tigers back-to-back postseason appearances.

ALCS at Comerica Park Secondary Market Average Ticket Price
2011
Game 3 Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. local time $249.58
Game 4 Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. local time $273.14
Game 5 Thursday, 4:30 p.m. local time $269.57
2012
Game 3 Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. local time $199.83
Game 4 Thursday, 4:00 p.m. local time $241.23
2013
Game 3 Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. local time $183.13
Game 4 Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. local time $193.09
Game 5 Thursday, 8:00 p.m. local time $187.77

These are changes to the secondary ticket market. Teams are still selling out their ballparks for the postseason. The losers in a soft re-sale market are ticket sellers and re-sale sites that take a percentage of each transaction.

We hoped you liked reading For Perennial Postseason Teams, Ticket Price Fatigue by Wendy Thurm!

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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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Paul
Guest
Paul

So the point of this article is that you wanted to make money out of your tickets on the secondary market and you are pissed it didn’t work?
Nice …

tomcat
Guest
tomcat

I think the point of the article is to point out a phenomenon about which she has personal experience. She used that personal experience as an introduction to the article.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC

I will say it is pretty easy to sell tickets on StubHub if you are just trying to get a decent return, instead of maximizing return. Just sell them for less than any other comparable ticket that is listed.

ZenMadman
Guest

I think the point of the article was to use the phrase “the Giants opened AT&T (nee Pac Bell) Park in 2000,” which is a pretty excellent phrase. The article addresses an interesting topic, though I wouldn’t mind a little more depth. If primary ticket prices have been increasing, then markup percentages are decreasing even faster than the secondary-market prices.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Lest we forget those 3 brief, inglorious years of SBC Park. The ‘Vegas Wedding’ of ballpark naming rights.

GBSimons
Guest
GBSimons

*That’s* what you took away from this article? Your reading comprehension skills seem to need some work.