Fan-ticipation

What a cheesy creative title, right? Recently I’ve been scouring StubHub to try and find an Opening Day ticket to see the Reds play. I’ve never been to Opening Day, but it would be very cool to go. Alas, even standing room only tickets have hovered around $100, well out of my price range, so I am left to hope that desperate ticketholders lower their price closer to the day of the event.

I know that Opening Day here is considered a local holiday, and always highly anticipated. Combine that with pennant-winning expectations and you’ve got a hot ticket. That got me wondering just where in the baseball world the hottest ticket is. Looking at Stubhub is one way to quantitatively measure anticipation for Opening Day in various cities in terms of scarcity (how many tickets are available) and lowest price available.

Highest Scarcity:

  1. Baltimore (1325 tickets on the market)
  2. Cincinnati (1607)
  3. Miami (1645)
  4. Toronto (2636)
  5. Kansas City (2656)

In four of these cities there is hope and excitement. Baltimore and Cincinnati made the playoffs last year, and Toronto and Kansas City made big moves to try and make it this year. It makes sense that tickets for Opening Day would be harder to come by in these places; fans may simply want to keep the tickets they’ve bought. The team that sticks out is Miami. They are universally predicted by pundits to be a mess. So why are they among the league leaders in ticket scarcity on StubHub? The answer might lie in the fact that selling unwanted tickets on StubHub works better when people can’t get them cheaply or at all through the team ticket offices. In the case of the Marlins, tickets are still very much available. In fact they are currently offering a promotion where people that buy an Opening Day ticket get a freebie for an April or May game.

What about on the opposite side of the spectrum? Where is it easy to snag a ticket?

Lowest Scarcity:

  1. LA Angels (7787 tickets left on the market)
  2. Atlanta (7197)
  3. NY Yankees (6474)
  4. LA Dodgers (6194)
  5. Detroit (5856)

Plenty of people in Los Angeles and Detroit are looking to make money off of three Vegas favorites to win the World Series. The Los Angeles and New York markets are huge, so you’d expect a fair number of tickets to be in play on StubHub. Atlanta doesn’t have the rampant World Series buzz that follows the Angels, Dodgers and Tigers, but they are still viewed as playoff contenders. It is curious that with a relatively small population (400,000+) they have the second most tickets floating around on the open market.

The other component of a hard-to-come-by ticket is price. The general rule of thumb is that if demand for an event is high, the price for a ticket will be high as well. People will pay what the market will bear. Here are the five highest priced tickets:

  1. San Francisco ($145.00)
  2. Detroit ($127.40)
  3. Baltimore ($99.90)
  4. Cincinnati ($97.15)
  5. Colorado ($73.50)

And the lowest:

  1. Arizona ($15.26)
  2. Toronto ($18.50)
  3. Minnesota ($21.80)
  4. Miami ($22.08)
  5. Pittsburgh ($27.87)

No one is this bottom group is expected to be a world beater except for the Blue Jays. If you’re a Jays fan you find yourself in the unusual position of being able to snag a cheap ticket for Opening Day despite them being in high demand.

If you define a hot ticket as something with high scarcity and high price, you’re left with this top 5:

  1. Baltimore (3rd in price, 1st in scarcity)
  2. Cincinnati (4th in price, 2nd in scarcity)
  3. Colorado (5th in price, 12th in scarcity)
  4. Kansas City (13th in price, 5th in scarcity)
  5. St. Louis (6th in price, 14th in scarcity)

There are fewer tickets available for the Orioles and Reds than anyone else on StubHub, and unfortunately only at extreme price points. Tickets are much more expensive in San Francisco and Detroit, but there are significantly more available if you’re willing to pay the price.

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