Why limiting ticket sales to home fans really hurts all fans

When NFL stadiums refuse tickets to visiting teams' fans, we all lose

1/14/14 in NFL   |   JoeKukura   |   492 respect

Blog Photo - Why limiting ticket sales to home fans really hurts all fansBy now you've heard and formed a strong opinion about the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos' ticket offices limiting sales of Conference Championship game tickets to only nearby, local states. This is a very nice way for those teams to flex their home field advantage muscles. But are there any unintended economic ramifications to this? Listen, I'm no economist. But I have to wonder whether limiting playoff ticket sales by region makes those tickets more expensive or less expensive. Sitting here and Googling it all morning, I have found the consensus opinion of analysts says yes, the limiting of ticket sales to home state fans does indeed drive up prices for all fans wanting tickets to that game -- even the home fans.

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.

Blog Photo - Why limiting ticket sales to home fans really hurts all fansThe 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?

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1/15/14   |   The_Real_Stoney   |   25341 respect

It's the Championship game, so you're going to have a premium put on secondary market ticket. Throw in the matchups and you're going to have a premium put on a secondary market ticket. There are people who budget said increases when it comes to these events because they want to go and they know it will cost more than normal. After season ticket holders claim their rights of first refusal, the number of tickets is going to be limited and therefore have a premium put on them in the secondary market. With all other factors at play, there may be a slight increase in prices based on this method, but you can't blame a team for wanting to try and exploit the home field advantage in any way they can. No matter what, the seats are all going to be filled
If you're expecting to get into a Seattle - San Francisco, or Denver - New England game for a reasonable price, you're not living in the real world to begin with.

1/15/14   |   kobe_lova   |   61971 respect

The NFL lies. I'm not a fan of this method in general. I get it, but...