The San Francisco Giants created plenty of headlines following the 2008 season, when the Giants, fresh off their fourth straight losing season, introduced “dynamic pricing” — i.e. prices that change by the day depending on supply and demand and other factors — to some locations at AT&T Park.
A little more than two years later, the Giants are reigning World Series champions for the first time since the franchise resided in New York and are heading into 2011 relying on a more tried and true method for maximizing and improving ticket revenue.
The Giants, who won the NL West and made the playoffs on the final day of the regular season last year before winning 11 of 15 postseason games on their way to the franchise’s first championship since 1954, raised their average ticket price to $38 from $35.25 but have sold 50 percent more tickets than at the same time last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Season ticket sales are up 45 percent from a year ago and 30 percent from the end of last year. The Giants cap season ticket sales at AT&T Park at 28,000 (capacity is 41,503) and are expected to come close to or hit that figure.
Not surprisingly, interest in Giants tickets on the resale market rose dramatically during their pursuit of the NL West pennant and World Series run last year — the Giants were just 41-40 and 7.5 games out of first place at the midway point of the season mdash; and remains strong with Opening Day a week away.
Pete Kennedy, the president and owner of Pete’s Seats in Los Angeles, told TicketNews he’s getting almost as many requests for Giants tickets as he is for Los Angeles Lakers tickets — an impressive feat given how far north San Francisco is of Los Angeles.
“I’d say [interest] is close to the Lakers,” Kennedy said. “We’re seeing similar activity since the end of last year. Sales were incredibly strong last year. If they get just a little bit of momentum this year, I anticipate a similar year.”
The Giants, who retained most of their core from last year and raised payroll more than $20 million to $120 million, should not have too much trouble creating that momentum. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished in last place last year, are in the midst of a rebuilding project while the fourth-place Los Angeles Dodgers are dealing with budgetary issues stemming from the messy divorce of their owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. The San Diego Padres, who finished two games behind the Giants last year, traded superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and have a projected payroll of about $38 million, the fourth-smallest in Major League Baseball.
Should the Giants establish themselves as the team to beat in the NL West, ticket brokers would doubly profit thanks to the club’s dynamic pricing model, powered by rapidly growing dynamic pricing specialists Qcue. The initiative is now applied to all seats at AT&T Park.
Buying low and early on games pays off when those contests prove pivotal, as the Giants’ season finale against the Padres did last year. The Giants led the Padres by three games entering the three-game series, but the Padres won the first two games to set up a nail-biting finale in which the Giants had to win to avoid going on the road for a historic three-team playoffs.
“There was definitely a fever driving the prices and spiking the prices all the way through game time,” Kennedy said. “You could buy a ticket two days before the game and double your money before the game. People bought game-three tickets and just watched the prices spike.”