Dynamic Scalping – A Fan Manifesto

Monday April.23, 2012

Lori Martini at Citizens Bank Park at the April.9th game on Opening Day 2012. The Phillies are at a 102% sellout rate capacity and don’t need dynamic pricing like some of the other clubs that are featured in this article.

Lori Martini (Baseball Writer and @lorimartini on twitter)- Kenneth J. Silver (Special Guest Contributor):

Imagine you’re standing on line to purchase film tickets on its premiere day.The film has just received very good reviews. When you initially passed by the box office you saw that each ticket was the standard local price of $12. After your long wait, when finally came your time to purchase admission, the ticket seller said that your $12 was no longer a valid admission price, that due to the laws of “supply and demand,” the theater was now at 70% capacity, which was a signal that the owner of the theater that s/he could raise his price up to $15. Too shocked to argue, you pay for your ticket and take your seat. You strike a conversation with the patron next to you, who tells you that s/he blindly paid for an advance ticket for the film months ago at $10 per ticket. Same film, same time, same place—but three different price tiers, manipulated by the owner’s need to raise quick cash for investment before the product is rolled out, a “bargain” that is only a bargain if one has absolute blind faith in the proposed product and/or unlimited funds to invest in an iffy proposition.

This is the concept of some MLB teams’ Dynamic Pricing policy, which was initiated in San Francisco by the Giants, and has since been adopted by sixteen other MLB teams. This stock-marketesque system presents a profound dilemma for the average baseball fan. In a bad economy, tickets are still generally high priced even at “advance-price” season ticket or plan levels. Of course one would like to see one’s team do well, but perversely, “doing well” would pose a severe challenge to the fans’ collective wallets, as Dynamic Pricing would only give the fan a “bargain” if the product is undesirable (your team is really, really lousy). So would other factors, such as the day’s weather (should one root for rainy game in order to endure both a ballgame and pay one’s rent?) To add to the irony, the “new benefit” is really an old benefit: What lower-tier team struggling to find consumers does not lower ticket prices as the season progresses? In fact, there was a time in the early 2000s, for example, when one could enter Shea Stadium with an empty soda can from a particular sponsor.

The authors feel strongly that the “win-win” proposition that many MLB teams are now using as a selling point for Dynamic Pricing is a myth, and it’s best for these teams to stop acting like a ticket scalper who forgot his meds to control his mood swings. Dynamic Pricing is a short-term strategy of exploitative profit that will endear very few fans to make a long-term investment in their team in the sale of season or plan tickets, and if we had any faith in Bud Selig to regulate this (we don’t), we’d certainly like MLB to step up and investigate.

*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Lori Martini for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports.  To learn more about Lori Martini and her story click here , you can also follow Lori on Twitter (@shortfilmcaught, or @lorimartini) and check out her song ‘Believe’ here on Youtube (Justin Turner of the Mets  walkup song and was recently heard on VH1’s House of Consignment.)  You can read Lori’s Ballpark Review of the New Marlins Ballpark here. Also read Lori’s Citi Field Expert Interview Article here.  Also thanks to Kenneth J. Silver for contributing to this Article. ***


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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on April 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Lori, great article. I had this happen to me just yesterday. The Yankees are doing this as well. I bought two tickets to the game at the box office on game day that normally go for $33 each; however, since it was not a “big” game, I bought them for $16 each!! Great for me, but I am sure the resellers out there were not happy!

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