Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices for the London 2012 Olympic Games were announced this week. Of the 6.6 million tickets available to the public, 2.5 million will cost $32 or less. Around 4.4 million will cost $80 or less. The most expensive ticket for the most expensive event - the 100 yard dash - will cost around $1,200.

That's less than a regular season ticket at Yankee Stadium. (That was supposed to be a joke, but who knows, it might actually be true.)

The pricing scheme makes the Olympic Games accessible to more fans. (And yes, I'm hoping to be there, you should go too). And it brings up an interesting and increasingly prevalent issue in sports: the rapid increase in ticket prices.

Sports clubs are businesses, and there is no question that they try to generate as much revenue as possible. But the argument that they should have consumers' interest in mind is also valid. Sports teams are permissible monopolies, and it seems like they owe something to the people that cheer them on through thick and thin. Yet, ticket prices are skyrocketing, with new venues accelerating ticket price growth.

Some consumers are being priced out of the market. In time, we may see some changes. Red Zone, for example, makes football perhaps more fun to watch at home. As technology for the at-home fan continues to develop, sports teams may need to make changes to continue drawing fans.

But most fans will still tell you there's nothing like being at the game. For now, there's no reason to expect changes in pricing schemes for teams. Most clubs are still able to fill their stadiums or at least operate near capacity. And so we are faced with a tough decision: miss out on "being there," or dig deeper and deeper into our pockets.

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