Dynamic Scalping – A Fan Manifesto
Monday April.23, 2012
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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Posted on April 20, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged angels, bud selig, cubs, dynamic pricing, justin turner, kenneth j silver, Lori Martini, marlins, mets, mlb, padres, phillies, StubHub, Vh1 house of consignment, white sox. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.