The baseball playoffs have rolled through middle America and left behind the unlikely World Series pairing of the Texas Rangers facing the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are back in the World Series for the first time since they won it in 2006, while the Rangers are the class of the American League for the second year in a row.
St. Louis went from 10 1/2 games out of a National League wild card spot in late August to hosting Game 1 of the Fall Classic at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night, October 19. The Cards and Rangers each advanced by winning Game 6 of their respective League Championship Series: St. Louis beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-6 on October 15, and the Rangers routed the Detroit Tigers 15-5 the night before.
With early October favorites the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies sent home in the Division Series, the eyes of the baseball world turned to the Midwest and Texas this month. Until last weekend, the league championship games had been close, but the ticket prices were lower than what some brokers were expecting.
The World Series match-up may have defied the oddsmakers, but brokers are hoping to capitalize on selling tickets that have a face value, set by Major League Baseball, of $95 to $750.
Steve Sigel, president of St. Louis-area broker The Ticket Guys, took a break from the phones just long enough to tell TicketNews: “It’s been crazy here. I’ve got a ton of calls.”
Ticket search site TiqIQ.com has the average price for a Game 1 ticket at Busch Stadium at $623, with list prices ranging from $214 to $5,900. That’s a far cry from the Cards’ last home game. On Friday afternoon, the Cardinals Web site still had tickets for NLCS Game 5 available just hours before the first pitch.
There’s a Texas-sized price range for Series tickets at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX. A Hall of Fame Suite for Game 3 had an asking price of $40,000 the morning of October 17 on StubHub.com. The lowest-priced Game 3 ticket on StubHub is a $294 standing room spot. TiqIQ’s average price for the same game is $937, down from $1,224 for Game 3 last year in Arlington. Game 4 and, if necessary, Game 5 will be in Texas, too.
While football may still rule in Texas, Jeff Green, president of Ticket Finders USA in Dallas, told TicketNews there’s plenty of buzz about the Rangers’ transformation from longtime AL also-ran to back-to-back Series participant. Texas fell in five games to the San Francisco Giants last year in its first Series appearance in 38 years.
“We’ve waited 40 years for this down here, and you never know when it’s going to come back around again,” Green said.
With their traditional regional appeal throughout the Southwest, Green said the Cards provide the ideal match-up for his market.
“It might not be the national match-up people were hoping for, but for our purposes, you can’t get a better team,” Green said. “Last year, people didn’t know much about the Giants, but there are tons of Cardinal fans down here that we can draw from.”
Green said his Series sales are “just as good as last year” so far. A Texas victory in Game 1 or 2 would provide a boost, too. Texas lefty C.J. Wilson faces Cards ace righthander Chris Carpenter in the opener Wednesday.
“I’m hoping for at least a split,” Green said. “Last year they lost the first two in San Francisco, so that put kind of a damper on things coming home for Game 3.”
While the Cards may be the upstarts this year, the team is no stranger to the Series: St. Louis is making its 18th World Series appearance, and its 10 championships are second only to the Yankees.