It’s no secret that many major league baseball teams — even the Yankees! — are having a hard time selling season ticket packages this year, and one must begin to wonder if the economics of baseball, and major league sport in general, are forever changing for the betterment of the impulse buyer and to the detriment of the dedicated fan that these teams covet, and often, overcharge.
In the Age of Instant Satisfaction, teams still want fans to adhere to a set schedule and to commit a lot of upfront money and regularly attend a season of baseball. Do we really want the same seat for a season of games? Or do we now prefer our wanderlust instead of the dedicated seat beneath us? Requiring personal seat licenses doesn’t help foster goodwill between team and prospective fan:
With the first regular-season game in their new stadium three months away, the Jets have again slashed the price of thousands of personal seat licenses in a bid to ensure that their homes games are broadcast on television.
Jets fans who want season tickets in the lower bowl of the New Meadowlands Stadium are required to buy the seat licenses, which cost as much as $30,000 per ticket.
Teams want to sell season tickets because it guarantees them a predictable bottom line. The Yankees have famously refused to honor StubHub ticket resales this season because that tickethouse cheapens the sales of their overpriced tickets. Feeling the stab of the economy in the gut, the Yankees recently recanted and now, in a limited fashion, allow StubHub to sell the pinstripes without argument but with condition.
If you want to watch a baseball game in person, the best way to get the cheapest price is to make a last-minute decision to attend a game and then look for a $300.00USD ticket selling on the street for $25.00USD. You can’t beat the byways — both online and in the alley — for dirt-cheap ticket pricing and, that too, confounds the major sport teams. How can they control the quality of their game if their tickets are being sharply undercut by disinterested third parties who are just looking to make a buck or two and not needing to meet a player payroll?
I don’t think this trend toward itinerant impulse purchases over the traditional fan’s season ticket holding bodes well for the major league teams. It’s a matter of simple economics. Do fans want to pay a lot of money upfront for a guaranteed, but likely average, seat? Or do they instead want to risk sitting right next to the action for ten cents on the dollar by simply waiting until the last possible second to make a buy choice?