To their credit, the Cleveland Indians organization was very clear that they would be going above and beyond this fall to protect their exclusive partnership with StubHub for ticket resale.
After waves of Chicago Cubs fans invaded Progressive Field last fall, the Indians informed season ticket holders (who hold major advantages in purchasing postseason tickets) that any tickets sold outside of their resale partner’s platform would potentially be voided. They also warned that anyone selling more than half of their tickets would be at risk of being labeled a “ticket broker” and have those tickets voided without repayment and future opportunities to purchase season tickets restricted.
This, despite the fact that there are no laws against ticket resale in Ohio, and that the organization was going after what is, theoretically, its most prized customers – those who plunk down for packages of multiple games, or even the entire 81-game home slate.
With a crucial game 5 looming against the New York Yankees, the Indians have informed the local media that they have made good on their promise, saying they’ve cancelled tickets but declining to specify how many, in a story on Cleveland 19’s website.
“For the people who’ve had tickets revoked there are repercussions for future series and next season,” said Cleveland Director of Communications Curtis Danburg. “Our ultimate goal is to get tickets in the hands of Indians fans at face value.”
On the official partner page, tickets are, unsurprisingly, going for quite a bit more than face value for the deciding game of the series, the winner of which will go on to face Houston for the American League pennant. Nearly 3,000 tickets were listed on the market as of the Cleveland 19 story reporting, starting with Standing Room Only tickets being sold at just about double their face value. Seats in the “diamond box” area behind the first base dugout were going for a cool $8,400 after fees.
Tickets are also available on a number of non-official marketplaces like TicketNetwork, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek, and Ticket Club. Interestingly enough, a set of tickets near those $8,000 ducats were available as of Tuesday night for under $500 per seat, including fees on Ticket Club. Such is the nature of the secondary marketplace – and such is the disadvantage of an organization attempting to throttle the free market in the name of its exclusive partnership with one company.
We have yet to see stories of fans purchasing tickets on the black market getting caught up in fraud or worse, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see those rolling in, particularly if the Indians make another run deep into the postseason like they did a year ago.