October in the MLB usually means Playoff Baseball, full with tense moments, great pitching, hopefully some walk-offs, and a whole bunch of champagne. However, all those things are only truly relevant in eight cities, the ones of those teams competing in the playoffs. In the other twenty-two locales, there is another October ritual: raising, lowering or freezing ticket prices.
After every season in every league, teams make that decision to do one of the three for the following season, and so far, three have. The Dodgers, Brewers and Cubs all made that early announcement, with the Brewers freezing ticket prices, the Cubs lowering prices for cheaper seats while raising for club seats and the Dodgers raising single game tickets and lowering season tickets. All three of these made a different, but interesting decision. Let's analyze them one by one.
Milwaukee Brewers: In a Deep Freeze
The Brewers decided to freeze their ticket prices, which essentially will keep all their tickets at the same price they were this year, between 8-50 dollars. The Average ticket price for the Brewers will remain $22.50 in the 2011 season. This is probably a good move. Over the last month of the season, the Brewers went 15-15, so their play was not that bad, but their ticket prices fell from $23.50 to $11.25 on the secondary market over the month of September. The Brewers overall attendence fell the third most of any team from 2009-2010, but their nice finish at least poses some optimism for 2011. For a team that could surprise, but could be middling, freezing prices is a great option. This allows the team to show optimism, but still pose a fan caring image.
Los Angeles Dodgers: It Pays to be Loyal
The Dodgers decided to raise ticket prices, raising their average from $44.28 to $44.68. They also decided to lower their season tickets, as the average season ticket (per game) fell from $28.90 to $27.70. The Dodgers as a team entered July at 43-36, and proceeded to go 37-46 the rest of the season. This fall also coincided with their average ticket price falling from around $30 to around $18. Raising the average ticket price for a one-game ticket to me seems to be a hasty decision. First of all, raising the average price 40 cents is not a lot. Of course, over the course of a season, it equates to a revenue increase of 1 million, but that is not a lot compared to the total revenue. They would have been better off freezing prices, because despite 40 cents not being a huge increase, the fact that it is an "increase" after a disappointing season sends a odd message to fans. The fact that they lowered season tickets is a shrewd move. It pays to be loyal to the Dodgers, as if you want to shell out for season tickets, you get rewarded by tickets that are, over the course of an 81 game season, tangibly cheaper.
Cubs: "Are the Cubs Ticket Prices Socialist?" (Business Insider)
The Cubs decided to lower their prices for cheaper seats and raise prices for premium seats. This results in a net effect of pretty much freezing the prices of games, but does it in a smart way. The Cubs had an extremely disappointing season. Although their prices remained steady throughout the second half of the season, a part of the year where they had no real postseason possibilities, they still decided to lower tickets for the average fan. This is a great move. Most of the premium seats are paid by corporations (boxes and suites) that would buy tickets no matter the state of the team (unless the team is awful, or in a small market, which neither really applies to the Cubs). The people whose buying of seats and attendance is very much correlated to the play of the team are the common fans. These are the people who stand to not only benefit by the ticket price decrease, but would respond well to seeing a team that has garnered attention for being a little high-priced admitting fault and lowering their ticket prices.
There will be more teams to come to make this tough decision whether to lower, raise or freeze ticket prices. We will continue to watch and analyze what teams decide to do what, and if this is in line with their play and what we feel the effects of their decision will be.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? How do you feel about each team's decision? Drop us a comment, or tweet us up at @SeatGeek. If you are looking to get tickets to the playoffs check out our MLB tickets page. 'Til next time.