Entering the 2009 Major League Baseball season, there were concerns among teams that attendance could suffer in the face of the poor economy. Teams attempted to keep their stadiums full by reducing or freezing ticket prices at 2008 levels, but still ticket sales across the league have seen a slight decrease from last season.
The San Francisco Giants took a unique approach with 2,000 bleacher seats at their home ballpark, AT&T Park, deciding to experiment with dynamic pricing, a practice that adjusts the price of tickets based on multiple factors including opponent, weather and pitching match-up, among others.
Now more than 60 games into the season, the ticket experiment seems to be paying off for the Giants. So far this season, the Giants have sold 20 percent more tickets in the dynamic pricing sections than last season. The sections that were implemented with the new pricing system were left field upper deck and three bleacher sections.
The software being used to determine the ticket prices for Giants home games was designed the Austin, TX-based software company Qcue. According the company’s Web site, their dynamic pricing system was designed to help sell tickets by “enabling you to dynamically optimize prices to sell more tickets and recapture revenue from the secondary market while forging stronger bonds with fans through increased direct sales opportunities and better customer service.”
“We’re obviously seeing fans responding,” Qcue CEO Barry Kahn told TicketNews. “It’s definitely meeting our expectations, and we are looking to expand it next season.”
The expansion may not only be with more sections of San Francisco’s AT&T Park, but also with different sports teams and concert venues. Kahn said that his company has seen a ton of interest from other teams including those from other leagues. He will be a speaker at the 2009 Ticket Summit conference in Las Vegas, July 15-17 at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.
“We’re very happy with how it’s been working,” Russ Stanley, Giants vice president of tickets services, told TicketNews in April. “We think having the ability to be nimble on a daily basis is going to prove to be a very good thing.”
Fans of the team seem to concur with Stanley’s assessment, with many of which being happy with the new dynamic pricing model.
“The pricing makes it worthwhile when you look at the overall cost of the game, the parking, the tolls, the food,” Giants fan Karla Marroquin told the New York Times. “We used to go to the A’s games because of the cheaper prices, but now with the variable pricing, I might go to the Giants more often.”
As the dynamic pricing model expands, its success in different markets and in different entertainment genres remains to be seen, but early indications have been nothing but positive for the Giants and Qcue.