The price of the playoffs
The Detroit Tigers have been lauded in this space, and recently in much more prominent places, about the relationship the organization has with the fans. But something seems to be amiss with regard to playoff ticket pricing. While some of other contenders are offering playoff tickets at only a slight mark-up, and in some cases at a slight discount, the Tigers have joined the Angels as teams who are putting in for premium price hikes (hat tip Baseball Musings).
It’s no secret that the Detroit economy is hurting. The Tigers received some flack for making modest price hikes to select seats going into the 2009 season (a move I defended). Attendance ended up down significantly, but the price hikes likely had little to do with it. The team was coming off record attendance numbers and a last place finish in 2008. The Tigers still will draw 2.5 million thanks in part to a first place team, and a bevy of discounts on mid range tickets (upper deck box and outfield box seats were on sale for weekday games most of the season).
Those discounts however don’t roll over to the post season and in the case of the ALDS alone many tickets are about double the regular season rate.
|Upper Box Infield||$22||$26||$60|
The prices for the subsequent rounds haven’t been made public yet, but based on season ticket holder reaction, the prices only go up. Holders of full season tickets had to buy a full strip, and the cost of 3 potential series was in some cases more than the cost of the other 81 games.
I understand that Ilitch has continued to invest in the team, despite decreased ticket and sponsor revenue. He added payroll at the trade deadline. He outspent most teams in the amateur draft. But I have to question pricing out many loyal fans right when the pay-off for the fans is on the horizon.