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  1. Dynamic pricing is inherently flawed given the existense of StubHub. Teams will never go below a certain dollar amount (usually the price the season ticket holder pays) and thus will rarely if ever beat out the StubHub prices.

    Comment by Kevin — January 9, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

  2. This is true, but the only tickets available on StubHub are resale tickets. For teams that don’t sell out, fans may see more availability by dealing directly with the team.

    Comment by KH — January 9, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  3. Teams that don’t sell out frequently put much of their inventory on StubHub at rock bottom prices but deny it publicly. The Mets, at least, have been doing it for yeats, with whole rows available on StubHub for literally pennies.

    Comment by Kevin — January 9, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  4. I think this assumes of market of perfect information where everyone is aware that StubHub is likely to have lower prices than can be offered by the team. I believe this is a faulty assumption. Many, many folks out there who wouldn’t or couldn’t buy tickets on the internet, many more who would only go through the team because they aren’t aware of stub hub or are uncomfortable with it becuase of its connection with “scalping.”

    To me its clear dynamic pricing implemented by teams will generate more revenue and helps them take back some of that lost revenue from resale providers like stubhub.

    Comment by Billion Memes — January 9, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  5. Kevin,

    You are completely incorrect. Teams never sell seats directly to StubHub. Most likely what you are seeing are independent brokers who purchased large chunks of season tickets from the team and are stuck with them so they are willing to sell them for whatever they can get.

    Comment by Bob — January 9, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

  6. I have to disagree with you, Bob. Based on my own experiences searching StubHub, I have seen entire rows in the wort parts of the stadium going for quite literally pennies. How on earth does a broker have any kind of incentive to 1) purchase such undesireable tickets and 2) sell them for such a miniscule amount. It is far more likely that teams are trying to get people into the stadium so that they can purchase concessions. Of course there is no reason for clubs to admit this practice.

    Comment by Kevin — January 9, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

  7. I never argued that people will automatically choose StubHub. I simply stated that dynamic pricing is undercut by the exitense of StubHub.

    Comment by Kevin — January 9, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

  8. Wendy, every article you have written for fangraphs has been fascinating. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Ram — January 9, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

  9. Wendy,
    I love your series of articles on the economics of baseball. It is a subject I find fascinating and I look forward to more of your writing.

    Comment by cs3 — January 9, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

  10. Thank you!

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 9, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

  11. Thank you! More to come.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 9, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

  12. Kevin, you are making very large assumptions.

    1)Teams sell “undesirable tickets” to brokers when they are purchasing more high in demand locations.

    2)Brokers are the ones who sell their tickets at a “miniscule amount.”

    Comment by Tookie — January 9, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

  13. “And the fans? No one likes paying more for the same product.”

    It’s not the same product. The product you’re paying for isn’t the seat, you’re paying for the entire baseball experience. Speaking as a Giants fan, I don’t want to go to a baseball game on a Tuesday night to watch the Marlins in the same way I want to go to a Saturday day game against the Dodgers, even if it’s the same seat. And the reason for that is patently obvious.

    Another problem with this topic is that people tend to look at variable pricing as if that equals price increase. It doesn’t. Some ticket prices go up, and some go down. The fact that additional tickets were sold, proves this point. A price hike on premium tickets alone would not cause more tickets to be sold, it would cause less tickets to be sold. Teams were able to sell a higher volume of tickets precisely because they discounted the prices on tickets that weren’t selling.

    Comment by soladoras — January 9, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

  14. I went to a game at Citi Field last year, and tickets were actually cheaper through than they were through StubHub. I was shocked because I live in SF and tickets are generally much cheaper on Stubhub or craigslist, but for whatever reason, things were different for the game I saw in NY.

    Comment by OingoBoingo — January 9, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

  15. Huh? Why would a broker want to sell their assets at pennies on the dollar? Why would they invest in nosebleed seats that they are likely to sell at a loss? Isn’t it far more likely that teams are trying to put people in the stadium so that they spend money elsewhere?

    Comment by Kevin — January 9, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

  16. As a cheap mets fan who scoured the prices on both stubhub and, I can tell you this is not the case. Only time I could get tickets under 5 dollars was on Easter. Tickets started around 10-30 depending on how well they were doing at that point of the year. Even in August after their losing streak tickets were about 10 dollars, a far cry from your ‘pennies’

    Comment by Bill — January 10, 2013 @ 3:02 am

  17. Dynamic or Demand-based pricing is certainly here to stay and growing in the ticketing space. There’s another service company called that is also in this space and their model is unique in that they enable teams to engage the market dynamically through a Name-your-price mechanism. This helps the teams see actual demand versus the estimated demand of the different pricing algorithms…and MOST importantly, it actually engages the fans to participate in the process i.e. as opposed to just having price changes “done to them” like the airline industry – fascinating space.

    Comment by EarlWebb — January 10, 2013 @ 10:39 am

  18. I don’t understand what “variable pricing for season tickets” means in this article. Of course, season ticket prices are going to vary according to how good the seats are, but there seems to be a different concept here.
    Would some kind soul please explain this to poor, ignorant me, please?

    Comment by Baltar — January 10, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

  19. I was referring to the scenario when fans sitting next to each other at the same game pay different prices for their tickets. This happens with the secondary market and with dynamic pricing.

    I discussed prices going up and down with respect to both pricing strategies.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 10, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

  20. As I explained in the article: “With variable pricing (sometimes called tiered pricing), teams set different prices for the same ballpark seat, depending on the day and the time of the game and the popularity of the opponent. Variable prices are set before the season begins. The goal is to drive demand for certain games with low prices and maximize ticket revenue for high-demand games with high ticket prices.”

    In other words, you pay more to see the Red Sox at AT&T Park on a weekend than the Rockies at AT&T Park on a weeknight.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — January 10, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

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