Markets in Everything – Sports Style

I borrowed the title of this post from the good folks at Marginal Revolution. From the San Francisco Business Journal:

There’s an active market in charter seats, the 15,000 lifetime licenses that the
Giants sold to help pay for the ballpark. A two-month survey of recent sales of
seat licenses show that many have increased in value — and a few generated
bigger returns that stocks, gold or even San Francisco housing would have done
over the same period. Some seat licenses are being marketed at more than double
their original price.

The San Francisco Business Times’ study is hardly scientific: It consists of 31 separate sales listed on, an online marketplace that is the most active site for Giants seat license sales. In some instances, fans were trying to resell their seat licenses at a discount. And the prices don’t include the full season tickets that licenseholders have to purchase every year to retain those rights.

The Giants’ seat license program contrasts with the experience of the Oakland
, the only other Bay Area team with seat licenses. Raiders fans paid
up to $4,000 for the right to buy season tickets when the team returned to
Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995. But Raiders games did not consistently sell
out, leading to a shortfall in seat license sales. Those seat licenses expire
after the 2005 season and Oakland and Alameda County are meeting with the
Raiders to decide what to do with the program.

Like most real estate sales, location appears to be a major factor in resale value. Seats farther from home plate are more likely to sell at a discount. Take section 234, which is beyond left field. That’s where Tom Cannon said he had four charter seats for several years. When he decided to sell this year, he said he lost several thousand dollars.

There are also several auctions going on at Ebay for PSL’s (personal seat licenses), mostly for PSL’s from various football teams. According to the article, the Giants don’t help those who want to sell of their PSL’s, but they are considering setting up something online to help these secondary transactions take place. The Giants already have a similar online marketplace set up to help their season ticket holders sell their unused tickets. This system contrasts with how ticket scalping is treated (see the note at the bottom of the page).

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Author: Phil Miller

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