The long layoff between the Division Series and League Championship Series in Major League Baseball might be frustrating for fans and tedious for the participants, but it’s good news for the ticket resale market.
The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers begin the American League Championship Series in Arlington, TX Friday, October 15, six days after the Yankees completed a sweep of the Minnesota Twins and three days after the Rangers won a decisive Game Five over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The National League Championship Series begins the next night, October 16, when the Philadelphia Phillies (which finished off their sweep of the Cincinnati Reds Sunday, October 10) host the San Francisco Giants (which eliminated the Atlanta Braves in Game Four of the NLDS Monday, October 11).
Game One of each series offers plenty of intrigue — and, as a result, a rising ticket price tag. According to ticket search engine FanSnap, the average reseller’s price for a ticket to the Yankees-Rangers opener was $274 through Wednesday, October 13. The Rangers will be making their first ALCS appearance ever and were eliminated by the Yankees in each of their first three trips to the playoffs in the 1990s.
The Giants-Phillies opener, meanwhile, features the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum, squaring off against his likely successor, Phillies ace Roy Halladay. Lincecum struck out 14 in a two-hit shutout in his first postseason start Thursday, October 7 while Halladay, of course, threw the second no-hitter in playoff history in his postseason debut Wednesday, October 6.
Fox television is dubbing it “the greatest Game One showdown in NLCS history,” and while that’s not entirely accurate — it’s actually the third time in NLCS history the defending Cy Young Award winner opposed his likely successor — fans are buying into the hype: The average ticket price for Game One, through Wednesday, was a cool $552.
“Given the pitching matchup, and as well as the Phillies have been playing, it’s not a huge surprise,” Jeremi Conaway, the vice president of Wanamaker Ticket Office in Philadelphia, told TicketNews. “The pitching matchup is definitely fueling the demand.”
Overall, the NLCS — in which the Phillies will pursue their third straight pennant against a Giants franchise that has made just one other appearance in the NLCS since 1989 and hasn’t won the World Series since 1954 — is a hotter ticket than the ALCS.
The average ticket list price to a potential Game Seven to the series, which is scheduled for Sunday, October 24, is already $575. The average ticket prices to the other three games that could be played in Philadelphia is $504.
“It kind of reminds me of Boston a lot, where the ‘in’ thing to do is go to the Phillies game,” Conaway said.
In San Francisco, the average list price for a ticket to Games Three, Four and, if necessary, Five on the resell market is $372.
Surprisingly, the lower prices in the ALCS are for the three games in New York. The average list price to a Yankees ALCS game on the resell market is $276 and Conaway said the demand does not come close to what he experienced last year, when the Yankees finished with the best record in the game and won the World Series during their first year at the new Yankee Stadium. Though this edition of the Yankees swept the Twins in the ALDS, they had to settle for the wild card after going just 29-30 after August 1.
“Our bread and butter is the Phillies, but we get quite a bit of Yankees requests and this year it hasn’t been as [much] as years past, that’s for sure,” Conaway said. “It’s a little bit shocking, but I don’t think [fans] believe in the New York Yankees.”
In Texas, the average list price is $311, and $295 without a potential Game Seven factored in. “It’s the first time and everyone wants to see a first,” Conaway said. “With Cliff Lee going to Texas, they have a legitimate shot of making it to the Series. So I think people down there want to be a part of history.”
With a laugh, Conaway noted the Rangers are also the only game in town for Dallas-area fans starved for postseason action. “I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be able to see the Super Bowl in Dallas this year,” he said, referring to the Cowboys’ 1-3 start.