Giants rethink ticket pricing and value

December 3, 2008 7:29:42 PM PST
The Giants are reacting to the recession like a shortstop trying to handle a bad hop. They know empty seats don't make money and tough times demand unique solutions. The Giants think they have one and they're the first sports team to try dynamic pricing.

Think of seats in a ballpark as money machines. Beyond their face values, each is worth another $20 to $25 a game, but only if filled.

"Just getting them to the park. If they come when they wouldn't have otherwise, it's a good thing to do," said Russ Stanley, who runs ticket sales for the Giants.

With that in mind, the Giants have announced a new concept of seats and games acting like a futures market, with heavy discounts at times.

The Giants describe this dynamic pricing as a test. They won't sell every seat in the stadium, just some of them. For example, they want to sell 1,500 seats in the upper decks and another 500 in the bleachers with prices ranging from $5 to $50 a game.

"As we get closer to the game, we can base it on the weather, starting pitcher, whether there is a promotion that night, if it's fireworks night or bobblehead night," said Stanley.

Stanley got the idea for this from a couple of doctors. Based on their theory, games with Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum would be worth $3 or $4 extra. And others, even more, if they can cash in. For instance when Barry Bonds hit his historic home runs, the Giants had already locked in those seat prices. So, ticket brokers like Stuart Kesselman made the money.

"Oh we've been doing the stock market here for 20 years, selling tickets. They overcharge for a lot of games and they undercharge a lot of games. We get what we think we can get," said Kesselman.

Now the Giants have entered that game and it makes sense to customers.

"Nowadays, with money the way it is, you have to pick and choose what you want to see," said Skeet Ellis, a sports fan.

Last year was the first in their new stadium when they did not draw three million fans. By filling the cheap seats with cheap tickets, maybe they will again.


Load Comments