The San Francisco Giants are the team almost everyone else in Major League Baseball wants to emulate — and not only because the Giants are the reigning World Series champions.
The Giants were the first baseball team to introduce “dynamic pricing” — in which single game tickets are priced according to demand — in 2009. A little more than two years later, dynamic pricing is growing in popularity among the Giants’ rivals. The Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals each introduced dynamic pricing this year, and now the Cincinnati Reds are looking into introducing dynamic pricing as soon as next year, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
At first glance, the Reds might not appear to be the ideal candidate to introduce the potentially divisive concept of dynamic pricing. The Reds are drawing an average of 1,721 more fans per game this year than last, the seventh-largest increase in Major League Baseball (all figures through Tuesday, May 10). But, the Reds are still averaging just 22,423 fans at 42,271-seat Great American Ballpark and rank just 13th in the National League in attendance.
In addition, they sold out just two games last season — Opening Day as well as their final game of the year, Game Three of the NL Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies — and have welcomed just one sellout and two crowds of 40,000 or more in 19 home dates thus far.
Yet, the Giants were at rock bottom, in terms of both on-field performance and fan interest, when they instituted dynamic pricing. The Giants endured four straight losing seasons from 2005 through 2008, during which average attendance at AT&T Park fell by almost four thousand fans per game (from 39,272 in 2005 to 35,357 in 2008).
The Reds, though, appear to be a team on the rise after reaching the playoffs last season for the first time since 1995, and their prospects for 2012 seem much brighter than those of the Giants entering 2009. The Reds entered play today, Wednesday May 11, in second place in the NL Central at 20-16 (a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals) and with a pitching staff whose average age was second-youngest in the NL. Their lineup, meanwhile, is anchored by reigning NL MVP Joey Votto, who was hitting .344 with an NL-high 28 runs scored through May 10.