Despite a dismal season that for all purposes ended with a loss to the NY Giants last week, theMiami Dolphins have begun a purge of their season ticket holders. Initially described as an attempt to identify and remove ticket brokers, the team has now embarked on a campaign to cancel season ticket holders who have resold them too often on the ticket exchange program, according to The Miami Herald.
The ticket purge is causing a backlash with loyal fans. Miami news stationWSVN reported the story yesterday, which led to an outpouring of responses from fans to the station’s Facebook page. Facebook user Gabriel Pedraza said, “If you don’t want us to resell the tickets, stop losing.” Another fan, Brian Katz, declared, “Have winning seasons, then make demands!”
What is really behind this ticket purge of brokers and regular fans alike? Some attribute it to a more nefarious plan. Several months agoThe Wall Street Journal reported that the Dolphins went public with a plan to radically curtail the number of tickets sold to ticket brokers. The stated goal was to make fewer tickets available to fans of visiting teams. But some brokers who were denied renewals suspect something different. They thought it was suspicious that a large number of those tickets ended up with another broker firm, PrimeSport Inc., which is partially owned by the team’s owner Stephen Ross.
Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of the team partnering with a secondary marketplace like so many other teams have done, Ross has actually bought a ticket broker, and according to the WSJ in some cases are selling tickets for a 51% to 150% markup.
Even though the usual refrain from teams is to keep the prices down, the Dolphins do not appear to even pretend that is the goal. As we have reported in ourChicago Cubs series, the purging of ticket brokers is designed to keep ticket prices high, to protect the teams “brand”. The idea that supply and demand economics may provide opportunities for fans to buy cheap tickets, sometimes deeply discounted prices from ticket brokers’, strikes fear in their hearts. Why would a fan buy a ticket three months early when they could get them game day for a fraction of the cost?
Clearly the fans lose out when teams like the Dolphins attempt to corner and control the ticket market.
Next: Are the reclaimed tickets really ending up in the hands of local Miami Dolphins fans?
Darnell Goldson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-993-3906