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  • Twins Tickets Pricing: Today and Yesterday

    Today, February 16th the Twins began selling single-game tickets. The last couple of years the phone lines and web site was overrun and there were sometimes long delays in getting your tickets purchased. Based on the Twins poor showing the last two seasons and low expectations for 2013 I don't expect long waits to purchase your tickets this year.

    To me, the question is should you buy your single-game tickets when they go on sale on Saturday or do you wait? The current quoted price for single-game tickets is only good from February 16 through February 22 because on February 23 demand-based pricing kicks in. Haven't heard about demand-based pricing? The Twins started that policy in 2012 and here is how it plays out in 2013.
    Posted at www.twinstrivia.com earlier.

    Beginning February 23, single game ticket prices in all seating sections will be determined on a daily basis according to current market demand. Prices may fluctuate upward or downward based on real-time market conditions. So the question is, will one get better value by purchasing tickets now or once the season begins? I guess it all depends on how well the Twins play and what the weather is like. Personally; I just find it irritating that the published single-game ticket price is only good for 1 week before the first spring training game is even played. I guess I am old school.

    You can certainly argue that it is better to sell more tickets even if they are sold at a discount. The customer benefits because he gets to see the baseball game and the team benefits because they get the fan in the ballpark where it is likely he will spend additional dollars on food and possibly merchandise. Of course, it also mean that now going to a baseball game is like buying an airline ticket; each person on that flight is going to the same destination but each of them may have paid a different fare. I have a problem with that.

    The other issue I see is that in order to keep the season ticket holder base happy the team has to sell the demand-based tickets at a higher price than what the season ticket holders pay or that becomes a huge issue in itself. Thus, the demand-based tickets can only be lowered to a certain price base level. But on the other side, if all is going great, the team can jack up the price of the ticket to whatever the market will pay. I see little risk and high reward for the team with demand-base pricing and to me it is another gimmick that costs the fans.

    The Minnesota Twins have been here since 1961 and over 81 million fans (through 2012) have come through the turnstiles at the Met, the Metrodome and now Target Field. I thought it would be fun to take a look at Twins ticket prices going back to 1961 when the ballclub played their first game at Metropolitan Stadium. I did a lot of research on Twins ticket prices and here are some interesting nuggets that I found.

    In 1961 the Twins had 3 price categories, a box seat went for $3, reserved grandstand went for $2.50 and general admission was $1.50. In spite of owner Calvin Griffith's miserly reputation, he did not raise ticket prices until 1968. Even then, he only increased box seats by 50 cents and reserved grandstand by a quarter. Keep in mind that the Twins played in the 1965 World Series during this period and still did not raise ticket prices. Think that would happen in today's world? Not a chance.

    By the time the Twins were getting ready to move into the brand new Metrodome in 1982, they had completed 21 years at Met Stadium. The team had implemented ticket price increases just 8 times with the cheapest ticket going from $1.50 to $3.00 and the highest priced ticket jumped from $3 to $7.

    In the 23 full seasons that Griffith owned the Twins from 1961 to 1983 (1984 does not count as the team was sold mid-season) he raised ticket prices 9 times (39%) and kept ticket prices at the previous rate on 14 (61%) occasions. During Griffith's reign the average ticket price went from $2.33 to $6.00, an increase of 157.51%.

    The Twins were sold to the Pohlad family in mid-season in 1984. Pohlad's first full year as team owner was 1985 and his teams played in the Metrodome for 25 years from 1985 through 2009. During the Pohlad era in the Metrodome the Twins raised ticket prices 18 times or 72% of the time. They made no change to the ticket price 4 times (16%) and they lowered ticket prices on 3 occasions (12%).

    The first drop took place in 1987 when the ticket price dropped 4% as the average ticket price went from $6.25 to $6.00 based on a $1.00 drop in lower left field seats. The second average ticket price drop occurred as the team entered the 1996 season when the average ticket went from $10.86 to $8.67 - but this is kind of deceiving. The Twins added one new ticket category and dropped two high-priced categories, selling them as season tickets only. These category changes dropped the average ticket price when the ticket prices never actually changed.

    The third drop in average ticket price occurred as the Twins went into the 2002 season fresh off the "contraction" fiasco. However, there was an outrageous 53.58% average ticket price increase the year befor. Maybe the Twins realized that they over did it the year before, who knows? Bottom line, under the Pohlads, from 1985 through the 2009 season (and all in the Metrodome), the average Twins ticket price went from $5.50 in 1985 to $30.25 which is an increase of 450%.

    Between 1961 and 2005 the Twins had anywhere from 2 to 7 different pricing categories each season. Dynamic/variable pricing showed up in 2006 and the price categories jumped to 16, in 2009 it jumped to 24, in 2010 with the move to Target Field it more than doubled to 57 , in 2011 it crept up to 60 and in 2013 it jumps to 95.

    I set up a new page on my site called Twins Ticket Price History so if you want to see a year by year look at Twins ticket prices, some charts and tables showing ticketing information, and some ticket images including some interesting "phantom" tickets, stop by and check it out.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins tickets today and yesterday started by jjswol
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      > if all is going great, the team can jack up the price of the ticket to whatever the market will pay.

      Let's say some season, probably not 2013 but who knows, the Twins come out of the gate much stronger than expected and by July the Twins are the hot ticket in town. Tickets fixed-priced at $32 suddenly will command $45 or $80 or whatever, on the open market. Maybe *you* aren't willing to pay $45, but the people who will are pricing you out of seeing games. Scalpers swoop in and buy up as many tickets as they can, pocketing $13 or more per seat. Question is, why should scalpers get that profit, and not the team? I don't know for sure that part of the money will go toward paying ballplayers if the team rakes it in, but I do know it won't go to the players when the scalpers get it.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Anyone else suspect that "demand driven pricing" is code for regulating ticket sales, such that ticket revenues are high but never get *too high* in the event that the on-field product is any good? As I understand it, the Twins are right on the bubble of the bottom 10-revenue teams - the only ones promised revenue sharing income under the new CBA.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Does this mean ticket in August and September could be only a couple of dollars for some great seats if the Twins repeat their last 2 years performance? Or will it be a $35 ticket will be only discounted $5 when the Twins might be 20 games out of first place in August?
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by darin617 View Post
      Does this mean ticket in August and September could be only a couple of dollars for some great seats if the Twins repeat their last 2 years performance? Or will it be a $35 ticket will be only discounted $5 when the Twins might be 20 games out of first place in August?
      My understanding is that the price will never drop below the season ticket price.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Question is, why should scalpers get that profit, and not the team? I don't know for sure that part of the money will go toward paying ballplayers if the team rakes it in, but I do know it won't go to the players when the scalpers get it.
      This is a really good argument. I was a little uncomfortable with this demand pricing, but this is a great point. It's also pretty savvy of the Twins to start demand pricing this year, when it is unlikely to be used. It will make it more palatable in 2015, when it might be.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Baseball and stubhub have a contract. There is a fixed percentage of stubhub's service fees, 10% or something, that the team gets back.
    1. luke829's Avatar
      luke829 -
      If Jodie Mientkiewicz makes a special one-off appearance, then the price is worth the admission.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I would guess that scalpers who bought season tickets took a loss last season.

      I would also note that Twins tickets at Target field are a huge bargain compared to what I pay to see the Twins in Anaheim every year. When the Angels are popular, as they are now, getting good seats can cost $200-$300 each on Stubhub.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      My understanding is that the price will never drop below the season ticket price.
      What a bunch of crap for the Twins to pull. I know you would upset your season ticket holders if they were discounted at the rate they should be. But to know that they can jack the prices through the rough is flat out insane!!! Nothing more than a money grab by the poor Twins. I can't wait when hopefully the Pohlad boys sell the team to someone who actually cares about baseball...
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      All about the money. Even makes the offseason taste a little bit worse yet.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      As far as an owner who only cares about baseball, who would that be?

      I remember the same grumbling and griping about the Griffith family. They were accused of being stingy and greedy and refusing to invest in the team and to be willing to pay what was necessary to keep their best players.

      I think there are too many fans who assume it is the moral responsibility of ownership to lose money for the fans gratification. Baseball is a business - businesses are run to make a profit (or break even at worst).

      Fans can of course respond by taking their patronage elsewhere. Short of that, this is the system that we live within.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      To quote someone we once loved, "It ain't about the loot!".
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      I remember the same grumbling and griping about the Griffith family. They were accused of being stingy and greedy and refusing to invest in the team and to be willing to pay what was necessary to keep their best players.
      And they were accurate then too. I fail to see the point.

      The problem is that an ownership group too focused on money will aggravate the fanbase who will take their patronage elsewhere which only furthers the money issue that started the problem in the first place. As a fan of this franchise who wants to see this team win, ownership alienating fans is not something I want to see.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      And they were accurate then too. I fail to see the point.

      The problem is that an ownership group too focused on money will aggravate the fanbase who will take their patronage elsewhere which only furthers the money issue that started the problem in the first place. As a fan of this franchise who wants to see this team win, ownership alienating fans is not something I want to see.
      I agree with your general philosophy, but if the main effect is for the Twins to capture the profits that now go to scalpers, then the new pricing policy makes sense to me.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      As far as an owner who only cares about baseball, who would that be?

      I remember the same grumbling and griping about the Griffith family. They were accused of being stingy and greedy and refusing to invest in the team and to be willing to pay what was necessary to keep their best players.

      I think there are too many fans who assume it is the moral responsibility of ownership to lose money for the fans gratification. Baseball is a business - businesses are run to make a profit (or break even at worst).

      Fans can of course respond by taking their patronage elsewhere. Short of that, this is the system that we live within.
      The Twins generated 93 million Dollars in pretax earnings between 2008-2011. I guess it's to much to expect the Pohlad's to invest in a quality product.

      We are now celebrating the likes of Calvin Griffith? This is the Man who gave Harmon Killebrew the choice of a pay cut or the chance to leave and not come back.
    1. mikecgrimes's Avatar
      mikecgrimes -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      > if all is going great, the team can jack up the price of the ticket to whatever the market will pay.

      Let's say some season, probably not 2013 but who knows, the Twins come out of the gate much stronger than expected and by July the Twins are the hot ticket in town. Tickets fixed-priced at $32 suddenly will command $45 or $80 or whatever, on the open market. Maybe *you* aren't willing to pay $45, but the people who will are pricing you out of seeing games. Scalpers swoop in and buy up as many tickets as they can, pocketing $13 or more per seat. Question is, why should scalpers get that profit, and not the team? I don't know for sure that part of the money will go toward paying ballplayers if the team rakes it in, but I do know it won't go to the players when the scalpers get it.
      This is a great incentive to be a season ticket holder if you think the team will be decent, clearly despite the fact I predict they will win the world series I either don't think they will be decent, or only care about attending games in April and on rainy days. With stubhub the scalper market will include out of market ticket buyers if the team leaves room for significant profit like the Twins did in 2010.
    1. mikecgrimes's Avatar
      mikecgrimes -
      Keep in mind MLB works with Stubhub, no idea the details of the agreement but the teams do make money when tickets are resold on stubhub.
    1. mikecgrimes's Avatar
      mikecgrimes -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      And they were accurate then too. I fail to see the point.

      The problem is that an ownership group too focused on money will aggravate the fanbase who will take their patronage elsewhere which only furthers the money issue that started the problem in the first place. As a fan of this franchise who wants to see this team win, ownership alienating fans is not something I want to see.
      Upset that ticket pricing is about money? You can still get opening day tickets for well below the scalper market, the team isn't charging even 50% extra for any game, and you have to keep in mind a weekday Royals game ends up cheaper then it would otherwise be.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      I agree with your general philosophy, but if the main effect is for the Twins to capture the profits that now go to scalpers, then the new pricing policy makes sense to me.
      So basically the Twins view scalpers in much the same way we view the Twins - profit vultures?
    1. edavis0308's Avatar
      edavis0308 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mikecgrimes View Post
      Upset that ticket pricing is about money? You can still get opening day tickets for well below the scalper market, the team isn't charging even 50% extra for any game, and you have to keep in mind a weekday Royals game ends up cheaper then it would otherwise be.
      They aren't charging 50% extra for any game, and you're saying that like they are doing us a favor..

      Point taken John.
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