Same Old Story

Thursday, May 31, 2012

From Miami Today:
Since opening day, Miami Marlins ticket prices have done a complete reversal, going from highest to lowest in Major League Baseball, data shows.

While some decrease in ticket prices can be expected following the highly-anticipated first game of the season in their new ballpark, sports economists say the steady decline in Marlins ticket prices since then reflects something more.

"They don't have much of a market," said Phil Miller, an associate professor of economics at Minnesota State University and a contributor to The Sport Economist, a website about the business of sports.
This shouldn't surprise readers of this here blog. However, I have to point out one sentence in particular as a red herring: "Meanwhile, secondary market ticket prices for upcoming Marlins home games start at as little as $3 to $6, according to SeatGeek."

A quick scan of TiqIQ identified a Yankees-Rays series at Yankee Stadium next week with tickets starting at $5. Pointing to individual tickets or individual games (the article identified a Marlins-Rockies game for which average ticket price on the secondary market was $15.92) is an exercise in identifying outliers, which are sometimes useful, but often tell us little of significance.

Additionally, looking to secondary markets is bound to reveal falling prices if the Marlins are not selling out their home games. Secondary markets thrive on scarcity, and right now there is no scarcity of Marlins tickets. So I guess the point here is that the Marlins still have empty seats at their home games, but the team is probably happy its average attendance is up to 28,543, from 19,007 in 2011. Such is the vagary of context that a 50% jump in attendance can be spun as a sign of disappointing demand.


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