This concern that baseball teams have over the secondary ticket market is all about the teams trying to make money. They don’t care about the fans. Don’t be fooled by any attempts on their end to pitch this as some benefit for the fans.
If I sell my ticket in the secondary market for $1 after I paid the Yankees $85 for it, they don’t care that I am losing $84. But, what the teams do care about is that someone is buying my ticket because I am selling it for $1 – and that means, then, the person buying it is not forced to by an unsold ticket from them at $85.
That’s all this is…period.
Funny, teams used to be concerned with scalpers buying lots of tickets and then selling them for more than face value. They felt that someone was making money off them. So, they got all kinds of scalping laws out there to take care of it.
And, now, they have the reverse happening – people selling tickets for way under face value and the teams now feel that they are losing money as a result.
Teams better be careful. Before you know it, we’re going to have a situation where it’s unlawful and/or not mechanically possible to get a ticket for anything else than face value. And, when that happens, they’re going to be looking at a lot of empty seats because ticket prices – like in the case of the Yankees – are too high.
With the technology that’s out there today in terms of television broadcasts and sets to view it on, people will just elect to stay home, watch the game on their big screen, and avoid the cost and time of commuting to and from the ballpark. And, then you’re not buying any $9 beers or $7 garlic fries too.
The best solution here? Teams should sell tickets at prices that will prevent people from looking to buy them from someone else. If they did that, it would take all the power away from the secondary market.
But, what I suspect will happen is that teams will react differently – and simple go to variable ticket pricing, if they haven’t already, and then really jack up the prices of those “premium” games.
Why? Well, what’s happening now is that fans are buying some sort of season ticket package, keeping the “really good games” – either because they want them or they know they can sell them later at prices way above face value – and then selling off their crappy games – like a Tuesday night game in April against the Marlins – at crazy low prices, just to get “something” back on them.
And, it’s possible that teams may raise the prices on the “hot ticket” to make up for their perceived losses at the ticket window or to try and make it hard for buyers to re-sell those tickets at a price where it makes it worth their while to eat the cost on the “crappy” games.
But, if teams start charging tremendously higher prices on those “premium” games, then fans won’t want them as much – because they cannot afford or sell them later (and recover their cost).
This will bring the same result as fixing the ticket resale price at face value. People will just stop buying tickets and there will be more empty seats at the ballpark.
There may be other possible scenarios out there. And, many of them may also lead to more empty seats at the ballpark. That’s why teams should be careful what they wish for with the secondary ticket market.