Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Paying full price for pre-season games

There's been a lot of discussion in the media recently about fans having to pay full price for pre-season tickets, specifically relating to the suggestion of moving to a 17 or 18 game schedule. That move warrants a separate discussion later, but I wanted to address the pre-season ticket issue here a moment.

I don't think fans are looking at this in the correct way at all. Let's say that a seat costs $100 per game at X stadium. Fans will pay $100 for eight regular season games, and another $100 for two preseason games, so $1,000 for the season tickets. Now let's say that the owners decide to only charge $25 per seat for the pre-season games. Does anyone really think they're going to simply cut that revenue out and keep the regular season tickets the same price?

No. They'll spread that $150 they lost among the 16 regular season games and charge $118.75 per seat. Or worse than that, they'll round it to $120.

I think it has to be thought of the same way on the back end. The problem is that on average, regular season ticket prices aren't meeting the demand for tickets. More fans can sell their seats at higher than face value than cannot. So there has to be an assumption that owners are baking in a discount on regular season ticket prices when you look at face value, and that's funded by paying full price for pre-season tickets.

No one gets hurt in this scenario. It's all optics. What's the big deal?


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