Thurm: The nuts and bolts of variable and dynamic MLB ticket pricing

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs on January 9, 2013:

With fewer than three months until Opening Day, major league teams are revving up their ticket-sales operations. For nearly all teams, that means working to attract new season-ticket holders, as well as single-game and mini-plan ticket buyers. Only the Giants, Red Sox and Cubs have waiting lists to become season-ticket holders. Even the Phillies — which saw a 257-game home sell-out streak end last August — are selling partial season-ticket plans on their website.

Teams use a variety of marketing tools and incentives to attract ticket buyers. There are bobble-head giveaways, fireworks nights and bring-your-dog-to-the-park days. There are food coupons and discounts at the team merchandise store. But I want to focus on the basics: the day and time of game, the opponent and the ticket price. Teams use these factors in a variety of ways to drive ticket sales and maximize ticket revenue.

We’ve heard the terms “variable pricing” and “dynamic pricing.” Occasionally, they’ve been used interchangeably, although they apply to different pricing strategies.

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Originally published: January 9, 2013. Last Updated: January 9, 2013.