Behind The Scenes In Sports: Dynamic Ticket Pricing (Updated)June 21, 2011, by
In an effort to bring you all more information about what fellow suits in the sports industry are discussing in boardrooms around the country, I have decided to start a new series called, “Behind The Scenes In Sports.” Adequately titled, I know. Each posting will feature a different topic be it ticket pricing, sports technology, etc, that could directly or indirectly impact you, the fan.
To start this series we are going to be talking about “Dynamic Ticket Pricing,” which has become a hot topic lately in meetings I’ve been attending.
So what the hell is “dynamic ticket pricing?’
Essentially it means that ticket prices to individual sporting events will be determined by supply and demand instead of having locked in prices all season, which is the current model for most sports teams. In essence, tickets to a sporting event will be more like booking an airline ticket, meaning that the prices keep changing from the time they are released up until the time of the event. What you actually pay will be determined by when and what you are purchasing.
For example, say Chris is in town from England and he’s trying to buy a Rangers ticket that normally sells for $60 on the Rangers website. But because the Rangers are playing the Flyers the evening Chris is looking to attend the price per ticket could shoot up to $75 depending on how quickly they’re going. On the other hand, if the Rangers are playing the Oilers the price per ticket for the same seats could drop to $30 0r $40.
If there are any MLB Giants fans left in New York, perhaps you are already familiar with this concept, as the Giants have been implementing dynamic pricing for years. Their website shows the cheapest seat for a Wednesday night game with the Marlins at $8, but that same seat four nights earlier for an inter-league Saturday night game with the neighboring Oakland A’s was $46.50.
Now let’s say the Oakland A’s tank in the standings and trade away all their star players (right like that’s a stretch). If you time your purchase correctly, that $46.50 may drop to $36.50.
Ultimately this allows you to choose from broader pricing options. If you don’t care about who the Rangers are playing and just want to see hockey at MSG, you can do some research to save yourself some money. For those of us sitting in board rooms, it allows leagues and teams to compete with ticket resellers like Stubhub, who most teams don’t see a penny from anyway.
Anyway, I would expect well-run teams to start rolling out this new way of buying tickets within the next year or so.
*** One thing I should add. This model does not effect season ticket pricing. Season ticket holders should always have the biggest discount, since they are making the biggest investment. This model is only for individual ticket pricing.