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Thread: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    We were able to land Reds @ Yankees tickets for the June series at an average cost of around $38 via StubHub, or about $10 over face. This was merely hours after Yankees tickets went on sale two weeks ago.

    Seats in similar sections/rows are now going for $80-100 each, if not higher.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...v=ap&type=lgns

    By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer

    NEW YORK (AP)—Even Keith Olbermann had sticker shock when he saw the Ruthian prices for Yankee Stadium’s final year.

    His family first purchased four season tickets for seats behind the Yankees dugout in 1972 at $4 per seat for each game. This year, the price jumped to $250 from $150—more than double the $112 average for equivalent seats near the Mets’ dugout across town.

    “The thought did cross my mind, my investment in this might be better spent at Shea Stadium and Citi Field,” the MSNBC broadcaster said.

    Still, he kept the seats. All the offseason talk of the Mitchell Report and steroids hasn’t dented baseball’s boom.

    The Chicago Cubs have sold more than 2,775,000 tickets and had just 500,000 remaining at the start of the week. The Red Sox capped full season equivalents at just under 22,000 at Fenway Park, where capacity is 37,400 at night and 36,984 during the day. And Major League Baseball says the sale of season-ticket equivalents is up 4 percent.

    “I think we’ll draw between 80 and 81 million this year, which is an amazing number,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. “We’re having explosive growth right now. This sport has never been more popular, and the interest is just unbelievable.”

    Baseball is coming off a milestone year. The 30 teams drew 79.5 million fans in 2007, a record average of 32,785.

    This year, fans who want smokin’ seats for the Bronx Bombers have to be nearly as wealthy as the star players they watch. And still, the Yankees might sell out the season or come close before opening day.

    Scrambling for tickets is at its most frenzied in New York, where both teams are entering the final seasons of their ballparks. The Yankees have sold 3.75 million of about 4.4 million available tickets, and the Mets are on track to draw 4 million at home for the first time.

    Tickets for the Yankees’ final regular-season game, against Baltimore on Sept. 21, were listed this week at up to $16,199 apiece on StubHub.com. Of the 3,000 seats originally priced by the team at $250, only 111 weren’t renewed as season tickets, and the Yankees said they were resold within 24 hours.

    Olbermann remembered back to 1972, when four seats for the season wound up costing $1,056 (there were 15 doubleheaders). Now the seats—so close to the field that his mother got hit by a ball when Chuck Knoblauch overthrew first base eight years ago—cost him $81,000.

    “From $1,000 a season, it’s $1,000 a game,” he said. “So literally they’ve now crossed that mark where it’s 81 times more expensive to see the season as it was in 1972.”

    According to the Consumer Price Index, $4 in 1972 is about $20 now—meaning even when adjusted for inflation, there’s been a 12-fold increase for the best box seats.

    Twenty years ago, many teams had just two prices—box and reserved.

    Now, most clubs have dozens of ticket levels, sometimes different ones for season tickets, advance sales and day-of-game purchases. Some teams also charge differing amounts depending on the opponent and the day of the week.

    This season, clubs also must contend with StubHub. Twenty-nine clubs—all but the Red Sox—have agreed to make the Web site their official resale outlet. As of Tuesday, 434,000 Yankees home tickets were available on the Web site, including more than 6,000 for some games.

    Bob Bowman, chief executive officer of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, said 400,000 tickets already have changed hands on StubHub, where buyers pay a 10 percent fee and sellers are charged a 15 percent commission.

    The Washington Nationals, who move into a new ballpark, had 2.7 percent of their seats available on StubHub this week. For the Chicago Cubs, 6.8 percent of Wrigley Field’s tickets are on the Web site. For Dodger Stadium, it’s 3 percent.

    Bowman said he thinks StubHub makes fans less reticent to purchase seats from teams because they know there’s an easy resale market: “If the average fan see there’s a vibrant, legal, robust secondary market, the more likely they are to buy tickets.”

    Even for the Florida Marlins.

    Last in the major leagues with 1.37 million fans at home last year, the Marlins command $179 for tickets in the first row of seats behind home plate and $153 for rows two through four. But their Fish Tank section of bleachers in right goes from $9-15, depending on the opponent and when the tickets are bought.

    “A baseball stadium is a microcosm of a civilization, where very often it is the wealthy who support the programs and services that are taken advantage of by the less fortunate,” Marlins president David Samson said.

    Although Kansas City has 240 Crown seats behind home plate that sell for $185-240, the Royals’ equivalent of Olbermann’s seats cost $29 as part of a season ticket—up $5 from last year. They’re $37 when purchased individually for most games, going up to $44 when the Yankees, Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals come to town.

    With a good airfare, it would be cheaper to fly from New York to Kansas City and buy tickets for a series against the Yankees than to take the subway and watch three Royals-Yankees games in the Bronx.

    Then again, premier seats to “Young Frankenstein” on Broadway were priced at $450 in the Wall Street-driven economy of New York, where dinner at Per Se sells out at $275 a head, not including wine, and private-school tuition can top $32,000 per child.

    “There are some cities, particularly the ones on the East Coast, that can charge more than they do in middle America or even on the West Coast,” Selig said.

    Before setting their prices, the Royals compared what they charged with 10 other small-market teams and found they were significantly below the rest.

    “Tickets have been held down for years. It is a very price-sensitive market,” said Kevin Uhlich, the Royals’ senior vice president for business operations.

    Kansas City hasn’t been to the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, and home attendance dropped below 1.4 million in 2002, 2005 and 2006. The total rebounded to 1.6 million last year, still 28th in the majors, and sales for this year are running 18 percent ahead.

    “Once we do start moving up on the wins and losses, I think it’s going to make a difference,” Uhlich said. “To this point, it’s been real tough. We’ve had to continually kind of reinvent the packages. We started the buy two, get two free last year to get people reintroduced to coming out to the ballgame, and that was quite successful. We sold about 1,000 full-season equivalents.”

    San Francisco has had a tougher time selling tickets this season. Last year, when the Giants sold 26,000 season tickets, they hosted both the All-Star game and Barry Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron’s home run record.

    To boost sales, the Giants are building a 20-seat McCovey Suite jutting out of the wall by the right-field foul pole at SBC Park. The suite will cost $5,000 to $8,000, depending on the game.

    “It will have a glass view of the field, and you’ll also be able to see, at the back of the suite, McCovey Cove,” Giants owner Peter Magowan said.

    The Giants, who hope to draw 3 million to their bayside ballpark for the ninth straight season, also created a 100-seat party suite in the left-field corner of the club level that goes for $12,000 to $17,000 a game.

    “I think more and more teams are doing that,” Magowan said. “What we see is an increasing demand for day-of-game suites. People would prefer to spend a lot of money for one game and take a bigger crowd than can fit into a 12-18 seat normal luxury suite.”

    Some might argue all Yankees tickets are a luxury, and prices will only increase.

    Lonn Trost, the club’s chief operating officer, said the cost of about 50 percent of the team’s tickets will rise again next year, the first in the new Yankee Stadium.

    But the price will not go up for many of the sections farthest from home plate. Bleacher seats are $12-14 this season, depending on whether they are bought in advance, and upper reserved in the outfield is $20-23.

    “I have to make sure the fan who can afford it subsidizes the fan who otherwise couldn’t afford that price,” Trost said. “It’s a real estate play.”

    Olbermann isn’t pleading poverty, but the cost of his Yankees real estate is giving him and the friends he shares the seats with second thoughts.

    “If you were going to get Yankees tickets in lieu of Mets tickets at these prices and suddenly switched, said, ‘No, I’m going to get Mets tickets,’ you could afford limo service to each of these games with the difference,” he said. “So even for the guy who lights his cigar with $50 bills, there is some logic to giving up on the Yankees and going to get tickets at Shea and Citi.”
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    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Hey Cyclone,
    I've been thinking of going the Stubhub route for tix this year, but was curious as to how your experience was?

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Red in Chicago View Post
    Hey Cyclone,
    I've been thinking of going the Stubhub route for tix this year, but was curious as to how your experience was?
    This is the first time I've ever used StubHub, and since we bought tickets that hadn't even been printed yet we have a bit of a wait before we even get the tickets. The seller did confirm my order about 30 minutes after I made it so that's good. The tickets are supposed to ship around April 1st, and if they're in my hands in the first week of April then I'll be happy.

    StubHub isn't a route I'd take all that often though; we only went this route because we had no luck with yankees.com. They charge a 10 percent commission on all ticket purchases, and there's a hefty shipping cost of around $15 or so. Fortunately since we purchased tickets for 6+ people we'll be able to spread the shipping cost around.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Red in Chicago View Post
    Hey Cyclone,
    I've been thinking of going the Stubhub route for tix this year, but was curious as to how your experience was?
    FYI, Red in Chicago, all our StubHub tickets have already arrived for the Reds/Yanks series in June. The earliest arriving tickets were in our hands in mid March, and we just received the rest of our tickets (separate order, different seller) last week.

    Other than paying the markup over face, the commission fee and the shipping costs, I'd have to say we're pretty happy with StubHub. Obviously we didn't have much choice with the markup over face, fees, and shipping costs, but if the only option is StubHub or not going, then StubHub isn't a bad bet if you're willing to pay a little extra.

    BTW, for those who are interested ... we MAY, I repeat ... we MAY have a pair of extra tickets to the Sunday game in the Bronx. This is not confirmed as of yet, however.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Friends from Columbus are going to be in Boston in a couple of weeks, and wanted us to make the drive from Hartford to catch a ballgame @ Fenway on the 23rd. Sure, why not we thought. Then I asked my friend if she had the tickets already. She said no, and then followed that up with "Fenway doesn't sell out, does it? We should be able to pick up tickets, right?"

    So, after I stopped laughing, I steered her towards StubHub. I told her upfront that StubHub takes a 10% commission fee, and then charges shipping, so she might be looking at as much as double face value. I think she got tickets in the RF bleachers, and is paying just under double face value. The seller confirmed the purchase, and now she's just waiting for FedEx to ship the tickets.

    The great thing about StubHub is that they protect your money, so should something happen and you don't get the tickets to your event, you will get your money back. They can't, however, guarantee that you will get the tickets to the event. So, take that as you will. You can definitely always get a seat in the house to almost any event, as long as you're willing to pay. If money is no object, then I'd recommend StubHub everytime.

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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Living in NY and being familiar with the ticket market, if you want to see the Reds/Yanks, I highly suggest waiting till the game gets closer and then looking on ebay. I got tickets against the Red Sox last season (just before the ASB) for under face value. I know it's slightly different because this is the last year of Yankee Stadium. However, I still say waiting till the game date gets closer is the best strategy. Also, and I know this is ballsy, but you can get much better priced tickets on game day. The teams release tickets that they don't use at the box office and additionally, there are scalpers who will sell at or around face value.

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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    Friends from Columbus are going to be in Boston in a couple of weeks, and wanted us to make the drive from Hartford to catch a ballgame @ Fenway on the 23rd. Sure, why not we thought. Then I asked my friend if she had the tickets already. She said no, and then followed that up with "Fenway doesn't sell out, does it? We should be able to pick up tickets, right?"

    So, after I stopped laughing, I steered her towards StubHub. I told her upfront that StubHub takes a 10% commission fee, and then charges shipping, so she might be looking at as much as double face value. I think she got tickets in the RF bleachers, and is paying just under double face value. The seller confirmed the purchase, and now she's just waiting for FedEx to ship the tickets.

    The great thing about StubHub is that they protect your money, so should something happen and you don't get the tickets to your event, you will get your money back. They can't, however, guarantee that you will get the tickets to the event. So, take that as you will. You can definitely always get a seat in the house to almost any event, as long as you're willing to pay. If money is no object, then I'd recommend StubHub everytime.
    Unlike all other MLB teams the Red Sox do not use StubHub as their official online reseller - I forget who it is but it is not StubHub.

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    Member top6's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    FWIW, I have used Stub Hub multiple times for NFL games and have always had great results. (The prices can be high, though.)

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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    I've sold tickets on stub hub before. If you have some tickets in demand, it's an easy way to make a few bucks.
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    Re: Baseball boom leads to tough tickets even with colossal costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Nugget View Post
    Unlike all other MLB teams the Red Sox do not use StubHub as their official online reseller - I forget who it is but it is not StubHub.
    you are right and I can't remember either, but I see it advertised on NESN a lot. I still think you can get tickets on Stub Hub anyway.

    I have used stub hub a couple of times for concert tickets and have been very pleased. The prices are a little high sometimes, but usually it's worth it.
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