February 7, 2008 By Alfred Branch Jr.
As the team prepares to head into a new stadium in 2009, the New York Mets have begun studying new ways to price and sell tickets, Dan DeMato, senior director of ticket operations for the team, told a group of venue operators, ticket executives and brokers Wednesday, Jan. 30, during a packed seminar at the International Ticketing Association in Chicago.
Among the moves the team is contemplating are dynamic ticket pricing, where the team adjusts prices on the fly as demand shifts, and ticket auctions, which the two Chicago baseball teams, the Cubs and the White Sox, are in the midst of implementing.
“It’s a place we want to be in,” DeMato said.
The Mets, which has seen its game attendance steadily rise over the past few years as the team’s on-field performance improved, is representative of a trend not only in sports but throughout the entertainment world where artists and teams want more control of, and more revenue from, ticketing.
DeMato said that dynamic pricing has been around in other industries for a long time, but the ticketing world has been relatively slow to implement it, partly out of fears that fans may object to the practice. “Airlines have been doing it for years, and nobody thinks twice about it,” he said.
Typically, teams or shows will discount ticket prices in an effort to fill otherwise unsold seats, but DeMato said they should consider the other way around and increase prices when demand spikes. Teams already employ variable pricing, where certain games are sold at higher prices because the opponent is popular, but those prices are set before the season.
Under the dynamic model, teams would adjust prices up at any point during the season based on how a game was selling. “I’m out selling tickets already, but we’ve been getting a ton of calls about tickets because the team traded for [Minnesota Twins pitcher Johan] Santana. Tickets are worth more now, and under dynamic pricing we could take advantage of that,” he said. “Dynamic pricing is in our future.”