Written By Andrés Hidalgo
The average price of baseball tickets on the secondary market is down slightly in 2013 through the same period as last year, with tickets for the Miami Marlins leading the downward trend with a decline of almost 40 percent. Overall, MLB ticket prices are down slightly in 2013 from an average of $56 in 2012 to $54 in 2013. But of course not all ticket prices are down. The defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians, are among the teams enjoying the biggest increases in ticket prices, while the Marlins, Red Sox, Braves and White Sox have seen the biggest declines. Ticket prices include both home and away games and are based on more than 15,000 baseball tickets sold on TicketLiquidator.com from January 1st through March 1st, 2013.
After opening a new ballpark and wooing free agents like Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, along with mouthy manager Ozzie Guillen to start the 2012 season, the Miami Marlins were unable to compete in the NL East last season. Owner Jeffrey Loria shipped marquee third basemen Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the trading deadline last season. That was followed by star pitcher Josh Johnson and shortstop Jose Reyes being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason. Loria has been roundly criticized for blowing up the team after just one season in the taxpayer subsidized Marlins Stadium, and fan displeasure is being felt in the secondary market, with tickets down to $44 from a $70 average a year ago.
The Toronto Blue Jays made perhaps the biggest moves of the offseason with their trades with the Marlins, as well as with the New York Mets, for 20-game winner R.A. Dickey. It looks like high expectations have had an effect on the price of tickets, with average price for a Toronto Blue Jays ticket up 11 percent, from an average of $51 in 2012 to $56 in 2013.
If fan optimism can be measured in terms of ticket prices on the secondary market, fans of the Cleveland Indians are expecting big things. With an increase in ticket prices of more than 20 percent, (from an average of $50 to $61), the Indians saw the largest increase outside of the NL West. As MLB Trade Rumor’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes, “The Indians spent aggressively on free agents, hired a big-name manager and completed a major trade.”
After surviving a nightmare of an ownership struggle, the Los Angeles Dodgers settled their ownership situation last season and proceeded to take on some of the biggest contracts in MLB. With an average increase in price of more than 25 percent, ($44 to $55), it seems like fans are behind the new direction of the Dodgers and are ready to see them compete with the defending World Series Champions San Francisco Giants on the field.
Speaking of the Giants, their tickets are up more than 15 percent, (from $57 to $66) while the team they swept in the World Series, the Detroit Tigers, saw their tickets stay almost the same, with the average price down just one dollar to a $51 average.
After losing to the Tigers in the American League Championship Series, tickets for the Yankees are more or less flat this season, down five percent from $83 to $78. The Yankees once again have the second-most expensive baseball ticket on the secondary market, behind their nemesis the Boston Red Sox. Then again Yankee Stadium can hold 52,325 to Fenway Park’s 37,373.
Which brings us to the Red Sox. After an abysmal September in 2011 that was followed up by a train wreck of a season in 2012, culminating with the Red Sox sending Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the LA Dodgers, fan displeasure in Boston is being felt on both the secondary market and the primary. Prices for Red Sox tickets on Ticket Liquidator are down 12 percent, from $95 to $83. The on- and off the field woes have Sox brass convinced the Red Sox sellout streak, which dates to 2003, will end early into the 2013 season. However the decrease is not enough to take wrest from the Red Sox the title of most expensive tickets in MLB.
The Atlanta Braves are another team whose fans have endured two back-to-back nightmare seasons, nose-diving at the end of 2011 to miss the playoffs, followed by a season in which they lost the a gut-wrenching Wild Card play-in game to the St. Louis Cardinals. From ticket sales, it seems the on-the-field struggles have taken their toll on the fan base, with ticket prices down more than 20 percent, from $57 to $45.
Looking at the secondary market, right now fans in Los Angeles, Toronto and Cleveland look to have the highest expectations from their team. The Marlins fans are voicing their displeasure with the on-field product with a mass decrease in ticket sales. Sales for the Boston Red Sox, which has been the most sought-after ticket in MLB over the past several seasons, have suffered in the wake of two disastrous seasons. But once Opening Day has come and the baseball season starts in earnest, we’ll see whose fans end up getting their money’s worth, and who, if anyone, is be this season’s Marlins.
About the author: Andrés Hidalgo is an Online Marketer for TicketLiquidator.com, an online marketplace for tickets to live entertainment events, including baseball tickets.