Major League Baseball and all of its franchises have plenty of questions that still need answering going into the upcoming season, one of which...

Major League Baseball and all of its franchises have plenty of questions that still need answering going into the upcoming season, one of which is how will the economy effect ticket sales?

Early into this off-season those organizations believed the answer was that it would have some effect, so they searched for proactive solutions. Many of the teams started implementing special ticket offers for their fans. The Seattle Mariners offered a package of four season tickets for the price of two, while the Minnesota Twins offered season tickets for the low price of just $3.09 per ticket. Many other teams followed by either lowering or freezing prices at 2008 levels as well as offering similar specials.


“There used to be a theory … that we seemed almost to be recession-proof,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told the Reuters Media Summit in December 2008, according to MLB.com. “This is different, clearly, and so we’re going to be very sensitive. To think that all of this won’t have some kind of impact on the sport is probably unrealistic.”

As Spring Training kicks off and the regular season inches closer, the secondary ticket market has also experienced the economic pinch, but not in terms of individual game sales.

“We are but a snapshot into the overall baseball ticket sales business but so far secondary sales on StubHub have been very strong,” Sean Pate, spokesperson for StubHub, told TicketNews. “Tickets sold volume is up over 45 percent from last year which is a great metric displaying the excitement people are feeling for the upcoming baseball season.”

Pate did add that overall the average ticket price is down $5 from last season, to $78, which is not a sizeable difference from 2008.

Jim Holzman, owner of AceTicket.com which is the official ticket reseller of the Boston Red Sox, told TicketNews his company has seen similar results. He claims that overall sales for baseball tickets are strong, but seats are going at lower prices than in previous years. He added that the market right now is in favor of the consumer, with plenty of good values available.

“It’s a very challenging time for brokers,” he said. “Brokers are making a lot less money.”

When the regular season kicks off, ticket sales and prices on the secondary market will ultimately be determined by the performance of teams on the field, Holzman says.

The state of baseball ticket sales will become clearer after the season gets underway, when haves separate themselves from the have-nots. But one thing is certain, fans will be able to find value on the secondary market for many of the games in 2009.

(The image accompanying this article is from Boston.com)

By Tim Fraser