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MLB Postseason Ticket Pricing

2009 August 14
by Brad Humphreys

I am spending the weekend in the NYC area, so the New York Times is my local paper for the next couple of days. I came across an interesting tidbit in the NY edition of the paper this morning.

With the Yankees playing well, Bombers fans are already anticipating October baseball this fall. The Yankees will soon be releasing their postseason ticket prices, and given their track record on pricing, people are anticipating an expensive postseason. Of course, the price elasticity of demand for postseason games is very low, so teams can raise their prices quite a bit. Yankees’ fans clearly understand that:

“I don’t think they will raise prices too much because of the backlash they got on the regular- season tickets,” said Michael Bahn, a season-ticket holder since 2003. “The problem is, for the playoffs, they have you over a barrel and you really want to go.”

For me, the interesting information in the article is that MLB sets guidelines (a price ceiling) for the first two rounds of postseason ticket prices. I’m no antitrust expert, but, absent the infamous MLB antitrust exemption (the gift that keeps on giving), that sounds like a per se violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act to me.

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