Ticket pricing gets change-up

December 10, 2008
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There’s a new reality in professional sports. Slowly, but surely the people who run sports operations in central Indiana are waking up as the sun rises on a new day. Here’s some news that should help all of us understand that times are changing.

Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants recently signed a deal with a software company that enables team officials to change single-game ticket prices at any time. What does this mean? It means that sports franchises will start dealing with tickets they way airline companies have for years. When the demand is high, prices will be high. When demand is low … you get the picture.

The Giants will be testing their system next season with 2,000 seats. Sports marketers said it’s a trend that could sweep through all sports.

The Giants’ new partner, Austin, Texas-based QCue will connect its system with Ticketmaster.com, the team’s ticket agent. QCue’s system uses data mangers to crunch numbers and allows it to determine the price of tickets. QCue’s formula factors in recent and historical performances of the Giants and their opponent, the opposing pitcher, weather forecast, day of the week the game is played and gate giveaways to help determine the ticket price. Initially, Giants officials plan to limit the number of ticket price changes to once, maybe twice, a day. But team officials admit it could get to the point where ticket prices change numerous times per day based on supply and demand.

Sorry sports fans, you’re frequent flyer miles are not redeemable here.
  • So the pacers would be giving away tickets then right?
  • They might actually be paying people to fill the seats, kind of like movie extras for their TV telecasts on Fox Sports.
  • I'll take credit for this idea which as a Pacer STH I proposed years ago to the Pacers. I think the model is more like the symphony or a play. You pay more to see the Saturday 8pm performance than the Sunday matinee or the Weds night performance. You can't tell me seeing Boston Celtics on a Saturday night is the same as seeing the OKC Thunder on a Monday. Those mid Jan and Feb weeknight games when it could be below zero versus a March or April game have to be harder sells for walkups.

    I proposed that a number of games would be premium priced and the same number be discounted equally on an individual basis. The STH then pays the same, but those people that buy single games pay more to see the hot teams on good nights.

    Sure you might gauge some games wrong, but overall, you know the 'hot tickets' before the season begins.

    The Pacers are sort of doing that this year with discounted tickets to get fans in the door to see the product. Good move.

    Probably a moot point for Colts that are sold out, but tickets could be printed showing higher price for the Sunday night NE game more than a Sunday afternoon before Christmas with the Bengals. That might impact after-market resells.
  • Of course the people that have the final say so whether this will work are the fans. And fans being fans they will be stupid enough to play the commodity market with their tickets instead of boycotting and protesting the old fashion way.

    Morgan Burke in his letter to football season ticket holders at Purdue actually said that in appreciation for the fan support this year they were not going to increase tickets next year. If the economy continues and the caliber of play does not improve in the 2010 seasons he will be begging for ticket holders.

    Greed has overtaken all aspects of our lives.

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