Thanks to a writer for the WSJ, I was clued in on false reports that secondary market ticket prices for the Miami Marlins were in a nose dive. With the help of my friends at SeatGeek.com, I set out to do some myth debunking (sorry Miami Today and Alex Groberman). Average ticket price for 2012 are up about $13 based on secondary market prices for the first 35 games of the season. According to SeatGeek.com, average ticket prices were $35.14 in 2010, $36.26 in 2011, and currently are about $49.58 for 2012. The chart below provides a visual of 2011 and 2012 ticket prices to date.
To be sure, the opening game of the season at their new ballpark has boosted average resale prices for 2012, but I would say overall they are slightly improved with a little help from price speculation for the upcoming Red Sox games you see on the right of the chart.
In the Miami Today piece, Phil Miller, a sports economist, was quoted as saying that Miami is, “not a really good baseball market.” While I agree, the quote in itself is an oversimplification. In many markets, early to mid season standings are not consistent predictors of ticket price/demand. We see this all the time in markets where there is not a fanatical base of followers, a la San Francisco, Cleveland, etc. Interestingly, recent scholarly literature by Lemke, et. al. from Lake Forest College noted that the “effect of league standing on attendance has lessened over the years.” More broadly, factors that can influence ticket demand / attendance change from game to game, weather, time of year, inter-league play v league play…. when it comes to explaining attendance or ticket resale prices in sports, the devil is in the details. The Lemke paper also concluded that new MLB stadiums produce “one of the most erratic relationships over time” when it comes to resold tickets.
For the Marlins, I think its too early to tell whether prices are really up or down.