Major League Baseball announced today, November 17, that the Houston Astros will move from the National League to the American League in 2013, which could be a boon for ticket brokers.
The move is tied to the team being sold to new owners, who are paying more than $600 million for the acquisition. Major League Baseball is offsetting some of the cost of the sale as an incentive for the move. Starting in 2013, MLB will be split evenly into two 15-team leagues.
The Astros have struggled on the field in recent years, and according to MLB, those struggles appear to have also stung the team’s attendance.
The Astros ranked 19th out of 30 MLB teams in home attendance in 2011, averaging 25,518 per game. The team attracted just over 2 million fans to Minute Maid Park, and only three other National League teams had lower attendance figures.
By moving to the American League, the team will instantly spark up a rivalry with the Texas Rangers, the state’s other AL team.
Additionally, the move could generate new interest for tickets as the Houston market welcomes AL teams to Minute Maid Park that were previously only seen about 250 miles north at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX.
“I think the move to the American League by the Astros will be a boon for the division and for the secondary market,” Randy Cohen, owner of Texas-based TicketCity, told TicketNews. “This will be an exciting time for Texas, not only because of the new team rivalry but, in my opinion, because of the new ownership rivalry.”
The Rangers have made the World Series the last two years, and the team ranked 10th in attendance this season, averaging 36,382 per game. The Astros have watched the Rangers’ recent success and likely hope to duplicate it.
“The new ownership for the Astros — as well as Nolan Ryan and his passion to have the Rangers win — will be a huge victory for Major League baseball,” Cohen said.