When NFL stadiums refuse tickets to visiting teams' fans, we all lose
Both the Seahawks and Broncos ticket offices claim that this move is being made to discourage scalping. The Seahawks put out a statement to the Associated Press saying out-of-town sales were driving prices up. "The team says that when tickets went on sale for the divisional game against New Orleans, brokers found ways to manipulate the system and acquire most of them, then increased the prices on the open market," according to the AP.
If the Seahwaks wanted ticket prices to stay low, that plan has backfired. In other words -- what Ticketmaster loseth, StubHub gaineth in a big way. When official Ticketmaster sales run by the Seahawks and Broncos were restricted to residents of certain states, it appears to have driven up prices on the secondary market. After all, StubHub and eBay sellers do not care what state you live in.
The San Francisco Chronicle talked to SeatGeek, an online ticket sales aggregator that kind of does the Priceline thing by listing multiple available sellers. "SeatGeek reported that more than 40 percent of traffic to the entire site early Monday was coming from Californians looking for tickets to the game," writes the Chron's Kale Williams. "with another 30 percent coming from Washington."
Now I don't have the numbers to actually prove that ticket prices have been driven up by these market forces, and proprietary businesses are not about to hand these numbers over. I can say for sure that a few Californians would have tried to buy tickets from the Seahawks at face value, and they have been driven to the secondary market. And I can say for sure that the right conditions came into place on the secondary market for an increase in prices that would affect all fans regardless of their zip code.
But when an NFL franchise gives you the rationale that they just want to keep games affordable for the average fan... do you believe them?