02.10.10

Eskenazi : SF’s New Ticket Pricing Scheme Is A Gigantic Failure

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 5:32 pm by

(above : Tim Lincecum, whose tickets will undoubtedly cost a bit more than Surfin’ Barry’s)

Calling the Giants’ plans to charge fluctuating ticket prices based on the appeal of certain matchups “downright evil”, the SF Weekly’s Joe Eskenazi decries the new system “because it completely upsets the ‘Hey! Let’s go out to a game!’-notion that makes baseball unique.”  Though that notion was upset an awfully long time ago in places like Boston or the Bronx.

The oft-quoted model for the new, likely soon-to-be-ubiquitous baseball pricing system is airline ticket purchasing. It’s almost certain readers have experienced first-hand the joys of last week’s $300 tickets this week being priced at $410. It’s a strong incentive to buy early before myriad contrived supply-and-demand factors are tossed into the algorithm and you end up paying through the nose. As noted before, inducing people to spend quickly and pinging those who do not is a sound business practice — if not an endearing one.

On the other hand, it just seems downright wrong that you should be made to pay more for a baseball game because it’s a “great day for baseball.” It seems exploitative that you should be made to cough up extra dollars when Tim Lincecum is on the mound; will we be given a deep discount when Zito is pitching or Pablo Sandoval takes a day off? Further following the airline model, will we be charged extra for using the restroom? Do clean seats cost more? Do I have to pay extra to stay out of the all-felon, all-drunk, all-jerks talking loudly about work on their iPhone section?

I can understand why the same seats that cost $5 vs. Pittsburgh will run you five times that when Boston comes to town (or more, if it’s a really nice day and Lincecum ends up taking on Josh Beckett). But the notion of “premium game pricing” sends fans an unmistakable message. It means “premium” teams visit AT&T Park, but the home squad is not one of them.

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