Laws of Supply and Demand At Work in Game 7 Ticket Pricing
First, a hearty congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals. The team’s late-season and post-season play has been the stuff of sports legend, and I’ll be watching the game closely tonight.
If you visited the Cardinals’ official website today to buy tickets, you’ve probably seen this page:
Now for the good news: Tickets to the game are still available! The bad-ish news? It’s going to be expensive if you want into Busch Stadium tonight. The lowest price going on StubHub right now is $489, for standing room only.
The most expensive ticket for the game: more than $12,000. David Stokes, a Show-Me Institute policy analyst, wrote Wednesday about the effect of legalizing scalping on the cost of after-market ticket purchases. From the article he quotes:
The ante rises during the playoffs, when a box seat can fetch more than $1,000 and even the price of standing through a nine-inning ballgame can run as high as $300.
We are well beyond that point today. But simply put, secondary markets – whether on the street or online – usually do a fine job of reducing product inventories by matching willing sellers with willing buyers. Those that value a ticket literally as much as a house payment can buy one; those seeking to unload their ticket can sell it; and those making the market receive their own cut for the service they provide. Everybody wins.
(By the way, originally I was going to write that “thousands of tickets are still available,” but that’s rapidly becoming untrue. During the 20 or so minutes it took to write this post this afternoon, the available number of tickets dropped from approximately 2,100 to 1,800. Prices are high, but they’re obviously not too high.)
This all naturally flows into David’s other post on the World Series regarding parking prices. Websites like StubHub (which is, not surprisingly, owned by eBay) are great because the market is pretty clearly informing what sellers are charging. World Series tickets, while they may have some collectible value after the fact, are ultimately perishable: they’re used for a game, or they’re not. That’s why if you want to go to a regular-season game and don’t mind missing the first inning or two, you can get better deals, as scalpers try to avoid getting stuck with tickets when the music stops. That “wait and buy” opportunity will, for the most part, be non-existent tonight (I think) but the moral of the story is that people place different values on different products, services, and conveniences. Parking lots around the stadium wouldn’t raise their prices if they didn’t think those spaces were valuable to parking customers. World Series ticket prices are very similar in that regard.
In any case, enough economics. Here’s to you, Cards. May the rally squirrel be with you.