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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Comparing SF Giants Dynamic Pricing and StubHub - Many can Save a Lot of Money

If you buy San Francisco Giants baseball tickets directly from the Giants, you may be paying more than what you bargained for. I've previously argued the new dynamic pricing system is flawed, and while the Giants has made an effort to keep their prices up-t0-date, it's highly likely you could get better prices and better seats by doing some research.

There are three types of Giants ticket buyers:
  1. Season ticket fans always get the best prices because they agree to buy a ticket to every home game and usually comes with the right to buy postseason tickets. Depending on where you want to sit, the per ticket price is typically lower or the same as the price for single tickets. See ticket pricing and map.
  2. Pre-season and early ticket buyers: Since the SF Giants now uses the dynamic pricing system to sell their tickets, once the ticket prices are released, it's generally the best time to buy single game tickets. In many cases, its likely the ticket prices will be raised as time progresses to game day. Review dynamic pricing list.
  3. "Fair weather fans:" If you are the type that decides to buy last minute or decide it's a beautiful day to attend a game, you are going to pay the highest ticket prices for a baseball game when buying direct from the SF Giants. If you were to purchase a ticket for this Saturday's game against the Diamondbacks, you will currently pay $34.00 for a view reserved infield seat. The starting price was $13.50, and the dynamic pricing system slowly raised it to $17 just a few weeks ago.

This blog entry is to help all you "fair weather fans" get a better deal in buying Giants tickets without screwing around with the rip-off dynamic pricing system.

So... what's my answer? Ticket scalping.

No, I'm not going to tell you to see one of those ticket scalpers across the street from the ballpark because people could sell their tickets to the scalper, but the ticket could be a fraud or voided thanks to the new barcode system on every ticket that allows a ticket holder to sell their tickets or transfer them to a friend electronically.

As some of you may know, Major League Baseball has allowed StubHub to be the official online marketplace for baseball ticket holders to sell their tickets, and for fans to buy seats at a steep discount. It's a popular choice for season ticket holders because if they can't make it to certain games, they can attempt to sell their ticket and make money off of it.

How can a "fair weather fan" score a great deal?
  • One big advantage of StubHub over buying tickets directly from the Giants is you can choose what specific section you want to sit in. It will also tell you the row and seat numbers too. Some ticket sellers also gives a description of the location, such as "behind home plate" or "near Kville."
  • Using your web browser's tab features, open a new tab for StubHub for the SF Giants, and a new tab for the Giants dynamic pricing page. (PC users: hold control and click; Mac users, hold the Apple key and click). Pick a game you are interested in with StubHub and start comparing tickets.
  • When comparing tickets, I recommend selecting a seating zone you may be interested in sitting in (e.g. left field bleachers, lower box, etc.). Based on what you select, compare the prices between the dynamic pricing list and what the ticket sellers are offering. In many cases, you will find tickets that costs LESS than what the SF Giants will sell to you, especially in the case if you are buying with less than week before the ballgame.
  • Lastly, when comparing tickets, don't forget to take into account the surcharges. StubHub will always charge a surcharge of about $4.95. If you buy direct from the Giants, either online or an official retail outlet such as a Dugout Store, you will pay about a 17% surcharge; you can get a ticket surcharge free by going to a ticket window at AT&T Park, the advance ticket window inside the park, or the Giants Dugout Store at AT&T Park. Remember, the dynamic pricing list changes frequently.

Let's try one, shall we? Here's the criteria:
  1. I want to buy a view reserved infield ticket to this Friday's game against the Diamondbacks (May 28th).
  2. The SF Giants dynamic pricing page tells me a ticket will cost me $22 each (not including surcharges). If I were to purchase online, one ticket with surcharges will cost me $25.75 (with free will call option).
  3. StubHub sellers are selling their view infield reserved tickets starting at $10 each. The e-ticket surcharge is $4.95 for a total of $14.95 a ticket. If I purchased two or more tickets, the e-ticket surcharge is a would not multiply by how many tickets I ordered, it's just one flat price. Two tickets would be a total of $24.95.
In the end, StubHub's ticket sellers can sell me two tickets for less than the price of one! If I went surcharge-free by visiting AT&T Park today and only bought one ticket, just an extra $2.20 would get me an extra ticket for the same ticketing zone.

A little bit of digging around can help you save lots of money. Now go spend the money you saved on some garlic fries and I'll see you at the game!

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