Playoff baseball tickets quickly becoming a bust

by karlhenk

Detroit – I’ve never purchased a Major League Baseball playoff ticket before this year, and so far, I’ve bought tickets to four home Tigers games.

But after this year, I may never purchase another MLB playoff ticket as long as I live.

It’s no secret that outside forces — most notably the affordability of high-definition television — has cut into the popularity of live sporting events. This postseason — and Yankees fans can attest — is a prime example of how a seemingly can’t-miss baseball contest can include thousands of empty seats.

As many as 30 percent of music, sports and theater tickets go unsold, according to TiqIQ.

The Yankees couldn’t sell out either of the first two ALCS home games. The second ALDS home game, when the Athletics played the Tigers, didn’t meet stadium capacity, nor did it come close.

Some fans have told me they are holding out for possible World Series tickets. Others have simply said tickets are too expensive. Both reasons are legitimate, but they don’t explain why thousands of playoff tickets remain unsold and hundreds, if not thousands more, are priced well under face value.

Chris Matcovich, senior director of data and communications at New York-based ticket data company TiqIQ, said in an email that there is a general downward trend for live ticket events. For music, sports and theater events, as many as 30 percent of tickets go unsold.

The general lack of demand, coupled with mass ticket purchasers, has created an artificially inflated supply of tickets on the secondary market, which leads me back to my original point: I don’t think I’ll be buying playoff tickets ever again.

Five years ago I could buy four tickets, keep two and sell the other two, making up about 75 percent of my original ticket purchase — give or take — in one fell swoop.

Today, I can’t convince a friend to buy a playoff ticket for well under face value.

The general ticket trend makes for a more laissez-faire game atmosphere, further diminishing the value of the ticket. Sports teams have two options: lower ticket prices (possibly using dynamic pricing, which matches prices with demand) or increase the quality of the in-game experience to meet the value of the tickets.

Until then, I think I’ll stay at home.

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