World Series ticket prices are skyrocketing.
Where are we going? To why baseball tickets are at Super Bowl prices.
But first, some price history…
With very few peaking at $4,000 (in red, below), last year’s tickets for the Mets/Kansas City playoffs were relatively cheap:
Similarly, the averages from 2010 to 2014 were close to $1000:
2016 Ticket Prices
For last night’s game in Cleveland, StubHub said the low was $325 a ticket, the top was $7500 and the average, $1050. However, at $1200, the minimum was much higher according to TicketIQ.
Once we get to Chicago for Game 3, prices pop to an average of $3075. For Game 5, one fan paid a high of $17,950 for each of four tickets to sit in a bullpen box along the first base line. Meanwhile, a standing room ticket at Wrigley Field could cost you $2200.
The demand side:
As a baseball fan, you could say tickets are expensive because of each team’s winning (actually losing) record. The Cubs have not been in the World Series since 1945 and 1908 was the last time they won. For Cleveland also, it has been awhile. They last won a World Series in 1948 and last played in one 19 years ago. So yes, their fans are really excited.
The supply side:
Also, both teams’ stadiums are relatively small. At just under 38,000, Cleveland’s Progressive Field is the smallest in the Majors. Wrigley Field too is considered tiny with just under 43,000 seats.
Our Bottom Line: Inelasticity and Monopoly Pricing
We have two economic concepts at work here.
The first is inelasticity and the second is monopoly. Describing buying behavior that minimally responds to a price change, inelasticity characterizes people who will go to see this World Series at almost any cost. Also though, the market structure is somewhat similar to a monopoly where the sellers have considerable pricing power.
When we combine inelasticity with monopoly for fans who are ecstatic that their teams finally have reached the top, we get soaring prices.
My sources and more: IB Times has a good summary of ticket prices from StubHub. Then, reflecting different markets, a CNBC report quotes higher prices as does ESPN. And if you would enjoy some good history, I suggest fivethirtyeight.