Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Tickets in Tiger Town
My favorite baseball team the Detroit Tigers has had quite the offseason trading for Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis, and Edgar Renteria. With these trades the Tigers are among the favorites with the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, and Indians to win the American League. As part of this excitement there has been a huge surge in demand for tickets to Tigers games. The Detroit News reported that season tickets sales are up 25% from an already record high of 20,000 (full year season ticket equivalent). So before individual game tickets go on sale, the Tigers will have sold about 25 out of 41 thousands seats in their stadium. There are discussion of capping season ticket sales, in part because of the lack of potential playoff tickets that would go along with those tickets. With few individual game tickets, Tiger General Manager Dave Dombrowski, is suggesting Tiger fans buy their tickets early as they might not be there for long.
Yes, I’m excited about the Tigers, but from an economist point of view this poses an interesting question: Why not raise prices? First their prices were set before the trades were made, even with an expected increase in demand, the increase was a modest $2 per ticket (article). They could redo their prices, but that would probably be bad publicity.
Over longer periods the Red Sox who have sold out over two years worth of games with 388 straight sellouts, and are approaching the Indians record from the mid 90s of 455 games. The Red Soxs similarly raised their prices only 10% this year (article)
Why? Two guesses.
1.) Publicity to keep ticket prices within reach of some average fans.
2.) Long term fan base. Having a variety of people go to the ball park, might increase the fan base for lean years and the TV audience