The professional baseball league in the United States is currently in the championship round. This round is known as the World Series. To win the championship, a team needs to win four games before the other team wins four games. This year, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox are competing for the championship, and after four games, the series was tied 2-2. Game 5 was played in St. Louis, where the Red Sox held on to an early lead and won the game. Game 6 will be played in Boston, and the Red Sox now have a 3-2 advantage in the series, needing only one more game to clinch the championship. I found an interesting article that discusses the rapid fluctuation in ticket prices for this upcoming game. This article is entitled “Record prices for Game 6 tickets.”
According to the article, the price of the lowest class of seats increased by $275 from the beginning to the end of Game 5, due to the likelihood that Boston would win this game and then have the opportunity to finish the series in Game 6. The most expensive seats that were sold in this frenzy were upwards of $24,000 per seat. The opportunity to see a team win a championship has drastically changed the demand curve for ticket prices, which, according to the article, are now on par with the 2013 Super Bowl. In this situation, the demand for baseball tickets is in the inelastic range, as a sharp increase in ticket prices has not decreased quantity demanded at nearly the same rate. In a situation like this, is the price too high, or is a fan’s love of the game and/or team enough to overcome the much higher ticket prices?
Perhaps an important factor to consider is the supply side of this upcoming game. The baseball stadium has fewer than 40,000 seats available (To compare, an average NFL stadium can hold roughly 70,000, according to a chart on the website “Stadiums of Pro Football”). This restricted supply, has contributed to make the demand inelastic and cause record prices for a World Series game. Another factor that would help is the secondary ticket sales market, which include individual scalpers and institutionally-aided sales though sites such as StubHub. These secondary sales help to price-discriminate and consequently capture more consumer surplus.
Again, the upcoming game is Game 6. If St. Louis were to win and force a Game 7 (which would also be in Boston), the ticket prices could be impacted even more.