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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buying Giants 2011 Tickets - World Series Title a Curse on Ticket Prices?

UPDATE: I compared the price list I printed on 1/31 to today (2/3) and the games I chose to purchase tickets all went up in price, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC DIDN'T EVEN GET A SHOT AT PURCHASING UNTIL SATURDAY AT 9AM! This is highway robbery. Read more from a more recent post.

(Original Post)
I've been a San Francisco Giants fan all my life as I've been living in one of the most gorgeous cities in the world my entire life. As a fan, I carry a fun collection of items, from orange Giants logo neckties, a hat with tons of pins I've collected throughout the years, Giants jacket and jersey, and so many more great items and photos I've taken.

I'm proud our team won the World Series title in 2010 and our city will be cherishing it forever, but I feel there's a big curse placed on all of us for earning the title of "champions."

That curse, overpriced 2011 Giants tickets.

History about Giants Ticket Pricing
In 2010, the San Francisco Giants imposed the "Dynamic Pricing" ticketing system on all seats where tickets was based on an algorithm (for you non math folks, a demand system) where ticket prices would vary every day and would go up or down based on factors like opposing team, day or night, weekday or weekend, pitcher, giveaway, winning streak, and other factors. The dynamic pricing system gave the power to the SF Giants to change the pricing of tickets at any moment.

Prior to 2010, Giants tickets was always sold on a rigid pricing schedule. At least a few years ago, all single game tickets cost the same, regardless if it was a rival team or one that was easy to defeat. In 2009, the Giants decided to experiment with a modified version of dynamic pricing by charging fans a slightly higher price for tickets for "feature games" and "premium games." Those teams that are doing well or was the big bad rivals of the Giants (e.g. Dodgers). Interestingly, the Giants still have their 2009 pricing list online.

In my opinion, the dynamic pricing schedule is more of a way to rake in more money while the rigid pricing schedule made it easy for us fans to know how much we can spend in our own personal budgets. Based on the 2010 tickets I purchased, I noticed all the ticket prices go up from just a few dollars to double the cost of what I purchased. I was smart to buy my tickets early to get the best deal, but others who buy spontaneously gets penalized with much higher ticket prices for the same section I'd be sitting in.

Stupid Long Security Line - AT&T Park

But now that our team is the world champions, the fame and glory comes at a heavy price to us, the fans. Just today, the Giants allowed fans with Visa cards to purchase tickets two days prior to the sale of single game tickets to the general public. Due to dynamic pricing, some ticket prices have jumped to drastic levels, even for games against our rivals, the LA Dodgers.

Here's a comparison of ticket prices for Giants vs. Dodgers home games:
  • 2011 dynamic pricing for View Reserved Infield: From $31.25 to $45.50 (as of 2/3/11). Average ticket price is $35.94 (using the mean average).
  • 2009 "premium game" pricing for same section: $32.00 for all SF/LA games.

Would you pay $45 to see the Dodgers? Hell no. I wished the Giants disbanded this awful dynamic pricing system and just set-up the old fashioned rigid schedule so everyone can get a fair shot at buying tickets. Baseball tickets is not an airplane flight where the person next to you paid $20 less and the one in front of you paid an extra $30.


Here's some pro tips to good ticket prices:
  • Stubhub is the legal scalping marketplace, but you will pay a surcharge. Many season ticketholders want to sell their tickets to games they can't make it to, so you benefit with lower prices and extra perks like parking included.
  • Buying at AT&T Park waives all surcharges, except if you use the automated machines at the park, you'll pay a one time 50 cent fee regardless if you buy one or 50 tickets.
  • Costco is still selling the Giants ticket vouchers. $62 for two view reserved infield tickets to any game (except opening day and night), and includes $20 for day-of-game food and souvenir purchasing ($10 per ticket). If you can find a game valued at more than $21 per ticket for the same section, you save money. If you can find a game valued at $31 or more, the day-of-game food/gift benefit is literally free.

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