With April comes the familiar sound of the crack of the bat to signify the beginning of baseball season, and in 2010, ticket brokers are hoping the slowly improving economy will also signify a bump in secondary ticket sales.
The reigning World Series Champion New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox open the season Sunday night, April 4, at Fenway Park, and while a Yankees/Red Sox series would typically be a hot seller, this year is a bit of an anomaly.
Sunday, of course, is Easter which has quelled some interest in the game, and the perception that a night game in the first week in April will be cold also has some fans spooked.
“We’re seeing $90 seats going for $109 for this series, which is an incredible deal for fans,” Jim Holzman, owner of Boston-based Ace Ticket, told TicketNews. Ace Ticket is the official off-line ticket broker for the Red Sox, and the team recently signed a deal with StubHub as its authorized online marketplace.
On StubHub, opening game ticket prices on average for Major League Baseball (MLB) were down almost 20 percent for all teams, with an average price of $101. Yet, lower prices now could help spur sales throughout the season, brokers believe as sales volume picks up.
“Once the sun came out, the phone started ringing,” Holzman said. “In the Northeast, the weather plays a huge factor early in the season because it’s traditionally so cold, and this year people thought it was going to rain all season.
“Fortunately, the rains have stopped for a while, and I’m optimistic that the Red Sox sell-out streak of over six seasons will continue, which will help us.”
Jeff Greenberg, owner of ASC Ticket in Maryland, agreed that good East Coast weather early in the season is a big benefit. “We’re expecting unseasonably warm weather for the next several days, which will help.”
Greenberg declined to offer specific numbers, but he said he’s already seeing strong interest in ticket sales for the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins, which are moving into a new, outdoor stadium this year.
“I think it’ll be a good year, because the economy is picking up,” he said, adding that margins might be down a bit, but sales volume could improve.
“Because of its deal with MLB, StubHub has done a lot to bring a higher awareness to fans of the secondary market, which has helped all brokers,” Greenberg said. “With baseball, it attracts more of a low-end buyer, because tickets are a cheaper option compared to other sports, like hockey and basketball. So, in a lot of cases they look to attend more games.”
Corey Argentino, managing partner for TicketGenie.com, told TicketNews that his company is already beginning to see solid sales for MLB tickets. “Our pre-season sales have been very strong, so if I were to gauge the regular season from this I feel more and more buyers will come to the seconday market as the season progresses. We believe the secondary market will have a record year with MLB sales.”