Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 ticket demand in Chicago 

From UC's Casey Mulligan:
Gloomy Economic Indicators in Chicago

Two real time crude sports-based indicators of economic activity in Chicago look bad:

(1) My ebay auction for 4 tickets to the (usually wildly popular) Sox @ Cubs game next week has zero bids, even though the price starts at face value.

(2) After my begging them for 10 years in vain to have my season ticket location improved, the Chicago Bulls asked me multiple times today if I would like some better seats next year. I am thrilled to be asked (I said "yes"), but these circumstance must indicate that ticket demand is seriously depressed.
That's the entire post, but do go to Casey's blog to see what he has to say about Keynes.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Economics of the New Yankee Stadium 

From the NY Post:

Reader Gary Cicio, NYC podiatrist, did the research, and asks us to choose one of the two options to see a Mariners-Yankees game this season, and from the very best seats:

Option 1: Two tickets to Tuesday night, June 30, Mariners at Yanks, cost for just the tickets, $5,000.

Option 2: Two round-trip airline tickets to Seattle, Friday, Aug. 14, return Sunday the 16th, rental car for three days, two-night double occupancy stay in four-star hotel, two top tickets to both the Saturday and Sunday Yanks-Mariners games, two best-restaurant-in-town dinners for two. Total cost, $2,800. Plus-frequent flyer miles.

Via Kottke via Marginal Revolution. Tyler Cowen at MR responds:

Was it not Mises who said that the purchasing power of money is the same everywhere? Some of the price differential will come from the greater value of the business connection in New York. And maybe those seats are really good.

What about the opportunity cost of time from flying from NY to Seattle? What about the experience of watching balls fly out of the new Yankee stadium - with the emphasis on new - like planes out of LaGuardia? Surely all that matters too.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yanks Slash Ticket Prices 

WhoDaThunkIt.com?

The New York Yankees slashed prices on more than 40 percent of their front-row seats by up to 50 percent Tuesday and announced many of those who bought tickets closest to the field for $325-$2,500 will be eligible for additional free seats.

Those initiatives could help pack previously unfilled areas that were an eye sore on television broadcasts during the opening homestand at the $1.5 billion ballpark.

“There are a few hundred suite seats in our premium locations that have not been sold on a full season basis,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “As a result, and for many of our fans who have already purchased full season suite seats in such premium locations, the Yankees are announcing today a program that adjusts certain prices and benefits.”

We'll see how this goes. Meanwhile, the politicians continue to be blustery.

“It’s the public that built Yankee Stadium, and even at these prices, the public has been excluded from the very stadium they built,” Brodsky said. “It’s a continuing disaster.”

First the financial disaster. Now the swine flu that has hit some areas of NY. Will we see prices slashed even more?

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Opening Day Prices 

Box seats at Fenway for opening day are going for $250 in the secondary market, 1/2 last years' price. Grandstand seats are going for $150, $100 below a rear ago. There is interesting information on sponsor changes in the story also.

The price drop for opening day should overstate the decline in demand for baseball in general. Baseball fans can substitute for lower priced games this season, or defer the opening day game experience to another year. The demand for tickets to opening day should drop relative to other games.

In New York, the Mets' have set up an auction for unsold tickets to the curtain raiser at Citi Field. The Yankees also have premium tickets left for Opening Day, at $2,625, + $59.70 S&H (Hey George, what is the 70 cents about??). These seats were likely targeted for the brass at AIG, Bear Stearns, Citi, et al. Adjusting their prices is tricky, since they're offered as season tickets at the top of the pricing structure pyramid. And who knows, the good times might return by the time next year's opening day rolls around.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tennessee Ticket Suit 

What is the limit, if any, of lifetime ticket rights that can be "passed down through generations?" That would seem to be the question in this case:
For years, generations of Thomas Luck's family supported the University of Tennessee and its endeavors. But the Nashville lawyer on Friday squared off against his alma mater in a Nashville courtroom in a dispute over prime box seats at Neyland Stadium.

...As president of the West Tennessee Big Orange Club, Luck's father, William Luck, helped raise money to build the stadium's upper west deck. As a result of the father's fundraising, Gen. Robert Neyland, the school's former athletic director and football coach, gave William Luck lifetime rights to buy tickets for both seats in a 1961 contract.

The contract said the right could be passed down through generations, and Luck inherited that right when his father died in 2002.

Luck, who is representing himself, filed the lawsuit after school officials sent him a letter saying that because of renovations they were moving his seats.
If the contract is solid, and as described in the article, it would seem that Tennessee's remedy would be to purchase the ticket rights from Luck at a mutually agreeable price, or live up to the contract. My hunch is that personal seat license contracts in the modern era spell things out in more detail, and may limit the duration of transferable rights. If anyone knows the language in PSL contracts, I'd welcome your comments.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Super Bowl Ticket Prices 

Here's a "Cardinal-centric" discussion of ticket prices to Super Bowl XLIII, with the following - stunning to me at least - prediction:
“We’re going to see close to face-value prices,” said Sean Pate, spokesman for online ticket broker StubHub. “As I click over (to the Web site) every few hours, something cheaper shows up.”
The story reports that the average list price at StubHub was $2552 on Friday, but dropping. A number of non-business cycle factors are cited as factors, including the long run of ineptitude for the Cardinals, and the fact that their fans don't need a trip to Florida to enjoy a bit of warm weather in the winter.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

$27,028: no sign of recession here! 

If you've got a few stacks of bills lying around and an appetite for the NBA Finals, this story in the LA Times reports that twenty seven grand will get you a ticket to game five at the Staples Center. It's apparently right behind the Lakers' bench, but still....

Other interesting stats: NBA merchandise sales are up 80% since the playoffs began, TV ratings are up 20-40%, and website visits to NBA.com are 1.2 billion this season, a 60% increase from last year.

I have the Lakers winning in six.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ticket Prices and Team Quality 

The Kansas City Royals have raised ticket prices for next season by 15%. This announcement comes on the heels of another not-so stellar season. It also comes after taxpayers in Jackson County* approved a tax increase to help pay for renovations to Royals Stadium. So given that background, it's no surprise that Royals senior vice president of business operations Kevin Uhlich has trotted out that good ol' war horse:

Dayton Moore’s mission is to make this into a contending team again. We haven’t been to the playoffs in 22 years. To get back there, we needed to improve our international presence, our scouting, add minor-league teams. This requires money, and frankly, we couldn’t do that with our present budget.”

We sports economists are skeptical about such claims about the connection between ticket prices and player/scouting/etc. payroll. A more likely claim is that there is correlation between ticket prices and payroll, but no causal relationship. Both are driven by an increase in demand for the game. This increase pushes up ticket prices and it increases the demand for players etc. which, in turn, drives their salaries upward.

Colleagues Ken Park, Soonhwan Lee, and I have a paper that we are revising that looks at the long-run elasticity of ticket demand of individual baseball teams using an attendance time-series demand model for several Major League Baseball teams (rough draft here. I hope to have a revised draft up soon). We estimate the Kansas City Royals have a long-run elasticity of demand of 1.46. If so, then without an increase in the demand for tickets, an increase ticket prices generates less revenue for the team, not more.

So something doesn't add up. Could it be that Kansas City is simply seeing a surge in demand for their games, a surge that seems to be league-wide for the most part, even given how poorly the Royals have played over the recent past (0.426 WPCT in 2007, 0.383 in 2006, and 0.346 in 2005 along with last-place finishes in the AL Central in each of those years)? They drew less than 18,000 fans per game in 2005 and 2006 but almost 20,000 fans per game in 2007. Could it be that they are simply adjusting their prices towards some equilibrium in response to a demand shift?

*Jon Meyers noted in the comments that it was the voters of Jackson County, Mo. that passed the tax increase to renovate Kaufmann Stadium, not Johnson County. I have made the correction and I thank Jon for noting my mistake.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Items of interest 

--Fulham FC charged £25 for a ticket for their match with Manchester City, and £45 for today's match with league leaders Manchester United. Varying ticket prices in response to the quality of the visiting team is now common in the U.S. This story at BBC Sport suggests the practice is catching on in England, as the price for the United game has increased by £20 in the past two years. Man Utd fans are claiming that they're being "ripped off" and are protesting (again). Cry me a river...

--A Florida legislator is proposing that the state hand out tax breaks of $2m per year to infra-marginal teams, provided that they "pledge" to remain in Florida for 15 years. The bill does require that they spend the money on stadium improvements, but the teams would presumably extract that value in the price of tickets, leaving fan welfare unchanged. Thanks for the millions!

--Backyard ultimate fighting, blood lust, and the demand for regulation, discussed here.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Minnesota Senate Tackles Scalping 

This bill won't make it to King's list of silly bills: student Brian Rude notified me that the Minnesota senate has passed a bill to legalize scalping. A little blurb from the article:

Legalization "would probably hurt my business, but it's a stupid law and it should be changed," said Tom, a Westbrook, Minn., resident who has earned both a living and a criminal record in 10 years as a scalper.

...Repeal of the law may only increase the dominance of Internet sites such as eBay in brokering tickets, Tom said.

Reselling tickets is already legal in all but about a dozen states, Gerlach said, adding that he expects the prices that Minnesota fans pay middlemen for tickets would decline with legalization.

In neighboring Wisconsin, decriminalization has spawned a vibrant legal ticket brokerage industry that pays taxes instead of court fines, Gerlach said.

Legalization also directs tickets to those who value them the most. But what was the driving force for those who voted in favor of the bill: the efficiency of such a market or the potential for increased tax revenues?

Addendum: King has a great story.

My favorite is the purchase of a $75 seat cushion in front of Fenway, onto which two field box tickets were taped, because scalping in Massachusetts was illegal.

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