Dynamic Pricing Comes to MLB Postseason

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(from Sports Business Journal, October 22, 2012) With a struggling economy, many fans of Major League Baseball are driven away from attending games, because ticket prices exceed the amount of spending money in their budget. MLB teams set goals to make their season a success. Making the playoffs and winning the World Series is the primary goal, but with only one team accomplishing a championship, many times the organization bases their success on how many tickets they sell throughout the season. While professional ball players work hard to achieve the goal of becoming a champion, the franchise works hard to generate revenue, so their players have the greatest opportunities.

For the first time ever, dynamic pricing was put into play so fans who normally cannot afford to go see a game, especially a playoff game, got the chance to experience one of the greatest atmospheres in sports. Three of the MLB clubs: Cardinals, Giants, and A’s took a step forward with a new system to help them sell more tickets and maximize profits. With the help of the ticket company Qcue and their ticketing partner Tickets.com along with Advanced Media, these franchises had the capability to fluctuate the price of tickets for fans, which helped sell thousands of more tickets during their playoff games.

During the NLDS the Oakland A’s were able to sell out all three of their home games with the help on the new pricing system. They went to the pricing system a couple times a day to help them see the single game seats which were available, and then they would look at how they should price the remaining seats. The St. Louis Cardinals had a different approach to their pricing system. They worked on the conservative side only using their system at most every other day. In San Francisco the dynamic pricing was comparable to Oakland’s; they too wanted a more realistic few in the marketing world, so the pricing system was used every day. The new ticketing system continues to be evaluated for future teams who want to try and use the system, but evaluators have not come to a conclusion on whether or not dynamic pricing is the way to go.