The Minnesota Twins are fully implementing a dynamic pricing model for all single-game tickets at Target Field.
The team announced the expansion of its “demand-based” pricing structure last Monday, January 9. The team will continue to use a standard pricing structure when single-game tickets go on sale February 25; the system will switch to dynamic pricing for all sales occurring from March 9 onwards.
Only single-game tickets will be added to the Twins’ dynamic pricing model; season ticket prices will not be affected by the system. The Twins previously limited their demand-based pricing to seats within the “Home Plate Box” and “Home Plate View” sections at Target Field.
Team spokesman Chris Illes told Minnesota’s Star Tribune that the expanded use of dynamic pricing will help “get more people in the stadium.”
The team saw an average 39,112 attendees per home game during the 2011 season — the fourth-highest average home attendance in the league — based on the MLB Attendance Report. Those figures marked a slight decrease from 2010, when the team had a sixth-place average of 39,798 attendees per home game.
The Twins are one of increasing number of professional sports teams that use dynamic pricing in an effort to move inventory and fill seats.
The San Francisco Giants were one of the first MLB teams to use the strategy. They implanted dynamic pricing for 2,000 specific seats in the 2009 season. As a result, the Giants reportedly made an additional $500,000 in revenue and sold over 25,000 additional seats.
Teams use dynamic pricing systems to determine if a ticket’s price should be raised or lowered due to weather, injuries, team standings, or other variable factors. The Giants turned to Qcue for their dynamic pricing solution, while the Twins continue to utilize Digonex Technologies.
As more major league teams take advantage of dynamic pricing, they are able to compete more directly with the ticket brokers who have been using similar fluctuation methods of pricing for their inventory all along.
“Dynamic pricing, in many ways, begins to level the playing field,” SeatGeek.com spokesman Will Flaherty told TicketNews. Of the increased competition with pricing, he added, “More widespread use of dynamic pricing across MLB will likely have a net negative impact on ticket brokers.”
When implanting dynamic (or “demand-based”) pricing last season, the Twins faced some criticism from ticket brokers on the secondary market. The resale community charged that the team was essentially scalping the tickets that it prevented brokers from buying.
The team denied that it was scalping tickets by utilizing demand-based pricing. As Iles told TicketNews at the time, “We saw a lot of ticket scalping going on [in 2009], and we wanted to make sure fans could obtain tickets at affordable prices.”