There are only three teams left undefeated after three weeks, which is the fewest in years (last year, there were four teams that got to 5-0, and of course, two that got to 13-0). They are all relative surprises. The Bears were a team that was not talked about at all in the NFC North that featured a team that played in last years NFC Championship Game, and the hot pick of most, the Packers. The Steelers were a team that was considered very good when fully manned, but expected to struggle without Ben Roethlisberger while he serves his 4 game suspension. However none of these teams are quite the surprise that the Chiefs are. The AFC West was supposed to be the Chargers' domain yet again, but the Chiefs have flown to a one game lead on the rest of the division, and due to their head to head win, a 2.5 game lead over the Chargers. These type of surprise teams usually see their average ticket price increase, as demand heavily rises to see a team that is better than even its fans thought play. Teams that start the season undefeated, whether they were expected to or not, usually see their average ticket price rise. The Bears have seen their price rise since before the season began. The Steelers have seen their ticket price rise since before the season began. The Chiefs..... have seen their average ticket price drop over $20 since before the season began. Yes, the biggest surprise 3-0 team in the NFL, as well as a team that has one of the stronger fanbases historically, has seen their ticket price drop, and not by a little.
This shows just how much the Chiefs tickets have dropped. There was a slight increase the day after their second win against the Browns, but it has been a pretty steady decline. Here is another representation showing the average prices in the weeks before their first, second and third games.
For the two weeks before their Monday Night opener against the Chargers, the average ticket price was $111.9. At this point, the Chiefs were, obviously, 0-0, and did not have serious expectations. After their first win, the price dropped to $101.3, then to $96, and finally, after their most recent win, to $90.6. After each successive win, their average price dropped. This is intuitively wrong, as teams should not see their price consistently drop after consistently beating expectations, not to mention, consistently winning. This leads us to the first realization of a ticket price. Last week, we looked at the Texans huge price increase, and we found out that much of the actual increase was due to the inflated ticket prices for their game against the Cowboys. For the Chiefs, their Monday Night home opener against the division rival Chargers was their Cowboys game. The prices for that were so far above the other home games that it skewed the prices for the weeks leading up to the Week 1 game. Take a look at the prices for each game the Chiefs have hosted, including the prices so far for their next two home games.
It is now plainly obvious that the Chargers game commanded a significantly higher price than the other home games in the early part of the season. The Chargers game was a prime-time game, a game against a divisional rival, and the first game played in a renovated Arrowhead Stadium. Combine these three factors, and you get a game that will have ticket prices 37.8% above the other games. What is more puzzling is that the prices have continued to go down. San Francisco, Jacksonville and Buffalo are all similarly struggling. None of these teams have much of a national following. The 49ers used to have one, but it has been 8 years since they made the playoffs, let alone the decade and a half since the 49ers dynasty ended. To see if the winning streak really has not had any effect on the 49ers ticket prices, we should not really take the Chargers game into consideration, as that game does not enter into any discussion of trends, as it would have had high ticket prices in any situations.
First, let us look at the 49ers game this past Sunday, a game that took the Chiefs to 3-0.
Look at that, it seems that the Chiefs fast start did raise prices after all! There is another factor here, in that prices will tend to rise as an event (or in this case a game) draws near, regardless if the team is doing well or not, so prices would go up from the weeks before the Chiefs first game to the week preceding the Chiefs-49ers game, but the increase should not be that much if it were only the effect of the event drawing nearer. This is real evidence of the price rising due to the team playing well. After their surprising opening win over the Chargers, the price rose tremendously with a 29.7% rise. After their second win against the Browns, the price rose slightly, but rose nonetheless. So when we isolate the 49ers game, and look at the prices that the game is reselling for over time, the price does rise in tandem with the team winning. The Chiefs-Jaguars matchup shows many similarities to the Chiefs-49ers matchup, but there is another effect there.
Again, you see a noticeable rise over time, as the team keeps winning. The ticket prices see a 24.6% rise in the week following their second straight win. However, the hidden factor is that this game takes place on October 24th. The prices do rise, but not to the level or magnitude of the rise of prices for the Chiefs-49ers game. They also don't rise in conjunction with each other. The Chiefs-49ers game has its major rise after the Chargers win in Week 1. The rise in this game's prices occurs after their second win against the Browns. This is probably due to the game going from a month and a half away to a month away, which will rise the prices by itself.
Overall, on the surface, the Chiefs are a team that have seen their prices drop consistently during their surprising 3-0 start. When we dig deeper, we see that the Chiefs prices are rising, and rising because the team is winning. The Chiefs ticket prices are a great case to study. The Chiefs show many effects that can skew ticket prices, especially this early in the season. They exhibited the "big game" effect, where a big game raises prices well above its natural level, which was the case with the Chargers Monday Night game in Week 1. The Chiefs exhibited the "long road trip" effect, where they don't have home games from 9/26 to 10.24, so prices will rise as the game draws closer. The Chiefs might not actually be as good as the Steelers or Bears, or even many of the 2-1 teams in the NFL, but the fans are still paying more than they would if the team was 1-2, despite what the quick numbers say.
Comments? Do you think that long road trips will really hurt teams' ticket prices? Do you think that big games really do rise prices like this? Feel free to comment, or tweet us up at @SeatGeek, or e-mail me comments/questions/feedback/ideas at Dan@seatgeek.com. 'Til next time.