The Rise of the Texans?
Much has been said about the Texans’ 2-0 start. For three years now, the Texans have been “The Team to Watch.” They have been so disappointing as a sleeper, that everyone moved off their bandwagon. Well, saddle ’em up, because the bandwagon is back in full. Two straight wins, one a comfortable win over their biggest rival, and then a 17-point 2nd half comeback on the road, have cemented their place as the darlings of the early stages of the 2010 NFL Season. One would think that this optimism surrounding the Texans would translate to the ticket market, and in a way it has. The Texans are now a financial beast, as well as one on the field. The Texans’ tickets have moved from 6th to 1st from the first week to second, and now is in the top five, but all is still not right in Houston. Let’s examine.
Looks nice, right? The wave has reached tidal proportions after their week 1 win against the Colts. It basically jumped up another $40 after their Week 2 comeback against the Redskins. Hard numbers even give us the same view. The average price up until their Week 1 game was against the Colts, which is a game that even if the Texans were 7-9 type fodder would have commanded top dollar, was $160.2. The price then upped to $213.8 for the week in between the Colts game and the win over the Redskins on September 19th. After that win, the prices have skyrocketed to $260.6 which is a healthy 22% increase. Again, everything is well in Houston, and even the numbers show it. Or do they? We have to dig deeper.
Remember that big games have a way of skewing the average ticket price data. Big games inflate ticket prices, even if the home team is bad. Herein lies the secret behind the Texans magical rise to the top, as the Texans are playing the Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team multiplied by the factor that they would love to show-up the Cowboys and lay claim to owning the state of Texas, football-wise, are the primary reasons why the Cowboys game would have ultra-inflated prices.
This graph looks more positive than the first one. Sadly, it, well, is not. This shows the percentage of tickets bought for the Texans on any day that were for the Cowboys game. As you can see, this percentage was rather low, due to the fact that the Texans’ fans were more into the big Colts game. Since that game finished, the percentage of tickets that were bought for the Cowboys game has steadily climbed to near 90% in recent days. Tickets for the Cowboys’ game has actually fallen since the season started, dropping from an average of $292.4 pre-Week 1, to $281.9 from the period between Week 1 and Week 2, to finally $277.1 in the days after their Week 2 win against the Redskins. The reason why even though the price for the Cowboys’ game has gone down, their overall ticket prices have gone us is due to the unbelievable percentage of tickets bought for this game. The high price that this game commands, which would have been likely as high whether the Texans were 0-2, 1-1 or 2-0, is now accounting for near 90% of the Texans’ tickets bought on the secondary market. It is easy for the average to be inflated when 90% of the tickets are being sold for over 200% more than the other 10% of tickets.
A more true indicator, if not necessarily better, is looking at how the non-Cowboys’ game tickets have moved over time for the Texans.
This is the average ticket prices for the tickets that were sold for all other games. Of course, just like the Cowboys’ game has skewed recent ticket prices, the Colts game skewed to the pre-Week 1 data (however to a much less extent). The Texans are pretty stable, which honestly, for a team that has always sold-out their games, is not real surprise. The average price for all other games was $109.2 before Week 1, and actually went up to $118.8 between Week 1 and Week 2. The Texans are still rising, and are still a healthy ticket market, but they aren’t quite the high-riser in ticket prices that their overall averages may seem. In a perverted way, the Cowboys have made their numbers look better than they really are.
The Houston Texans’ fanbase is the biggest sleeping giant in the league. They are the fourth biggest market in the nation, third biggest in the NFL since Los Angeles doesn’t have a team. Texas is one of the most football-crazy states, and Houston is the largest city in that state. Houstonians were having serious football withdrawal when the Texans showed up. The Texans were able to sell-out all their games despite having a bad team for years. The Texans are ready to make that next step, and the more they win this season, the higher their prices will go up, for all games, not just the Cowboys. But for now, believe the hype that the team is good, just don’t be too quick to believe the hype that their tickets are among the highest in the league.