The Boston Red Sox are traditionally one of the most active teams on the secondary market when it comes to playoff tickets, but despite grabbing another American League Wildcard berth last night the team is not quite generating the same level of interest, industry insiders observed.
A lot has to do with the best-of-five American League Divisional Series (ALDS) generally not being as popular as the later playoff rounds, and also with the fact that the Red Sox are limping into the playoffs due to nagging injuries to many key players. This, despite the team beating the Los Angeles Angels, this year’s opponent, in every playoff series they’ve faced each other since 1986.
Add to that, the economic recession continuing to wreck havoc on the spending habits of many fans, and Red Sox playoff ticket prices are rising at a lower rate compared to prior years, or dropping slightly.
Christian Anderson, spokesperson for ticket search engine FanSnap, told TicketNews that Red Sox tickets spiked last night following the team clinching the AL Wildcard, going from an average of $528 to $716 (figures represent an average of the total range in prices from premiums to bleacher seats). But the rate of that increase is down from previous years, insiders observed.
For others, prices are down when comparing last year’s playoff ticket prices to this year’s.
“There’s most definitely been a downward trend compared to past years,” ticket broker T’Michael Jones, owner of TJ Sports & VIP Tickets, told TicketNews. “It’s pretty much across the board.”
Jones estimates that prices are down 10 percent to 20 percent from last year, and others have said that number could be as high as 25 percent.
“The baseball playoffs are usually an easy sale, but this year’s been different. Yankees ticket sales have been pretty good, but everyone else, it’s a little bit of a struggle, even the Red Sox. And, the Dodgers were hot at the beginning of the year, and even they’ve cooled off a bit,” Jones said.
Joellen Ferrer, corporate communications manager for StubHub, said she has also seen a slight downward movement in prices. “It’s still a bit early to fully analyze the ticket situation, but we are seeing initial lower averages for the division series’ for both the AL and NL match-ups.”
Red Sox ALDS ticket are selling for an average of $173, down from $177 last year, on the site, while Angels ALDS tickets are going for $99 this year, compared to $103.
Jim McCarthy, CEO of entertainment ticketing and membership company Goldstar.com, agreed that playoff ticket prices on the secondary market may be off a bit this year, but said part of the elasticity is because teams have become more efficient at pricing those tickets themselves.
“While the economy might be denting sales a bit, the clubs are doing a better job of capturing the value of tickets themselves,” McCarthy said. “The secondary market serves a real purpose and exists partly because of inefficiencies in the primary ticket market. But teams realized that some of their playoff tickets were probably underpriced in the past.”
Earlier in the month, the New York Yankees announced their playoff ticket prices would adhere closely to their regular season prices, in part due to the heat the team took over high prices earlier in the year.
The other ALDS matchup will pit the Yankees against either the Minnesota Twins or the Detroit Tigers. The Twins and Tigers play two more times this week, and the Tigers lead the Twins by two games for the American League Central division title.
“Of course, there is tremendous variability in pricing so there are values to be had,” Anderson said.