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The Dodgers Plan For Cutting Out Ticket Brokers Has Not Gone Well

Perhaps you are like me, and you prefer to go to any number of websites to purchase your tickets for Dodgers games. Sites like Vivid Seats, Seat Geek, and Stubhub have become increasingly popular as fans look for the best value out of their purchase

And why not? The price of a beer and a hot dog at a game comes out to a little over $20, and parking alone will cost you $17 if you pay ahead. So that means if I sit alone in the reserve level, I’ll have to pay at least $37 just to park and eat at the game. So it makes sense that fans are constantly looking at ways to make their trips to games cheaper, especially when they are taking their families along with them.

Unbeknownst to most casual fans, the Dodgers have quietly been trying to cut out those ticket brokers that make some of those less popular games cheaper. When the 2017 World Series ended, the team made the decision that they wanted to establish a base price for tickets and that third-party companies inflating the remaining tickets just was not fair. At least, that’s how they marketed the decision. Realistically, it seems likely that they would want to get in on the money to be made, especially during playoffs.

The Dodgers had stripped brokers of their ability to buy season tickets, with the team betting it could make more money by cutting out the middle men. Four brokers filed a joint lawsuit against the Dodgers, alleging the team had reneged on its promises. And, after the Dodgers realized they had set prices on the resale market too high at times, they reversed course so drastically that some fans claimed the team had devalued their season tickets.- Bill Shaikin, LA Times

Imagine buying season tickets for a particular section that comes out to $30 a game, and seeing that they were on sale elsewhere for $15 during less popular games. It would upset anyone, and now it has fans questioning if they will even commit to purchasing season tickets in the coming years.

It really all is a result of the 2017 World Series though. The team noticed that fans were desperate to see the Dodgers play in their first World Series since 1988, and they paid the steep prices offered on the secondary ticket market. The Dodgers didn’t like the idea of brokers pulling in millions of dollars, so they made the change. The Dodgers had only this to say about the ongoing court cases and questions surrounding their relationships with ticket brokers:

The relationship between ticket issuers, such as sports teams and the promoters of live events, and the secondary ticket market is constantly evolving. Every major league team is working to find what works best in its market, as are we. Our objective is to make sure that Dodger tickets continue to be an outstanding value in our market and throughout baseball.

They’re working on making the system better, but it is still very obviously flawed. The team sold NLCS tickets for $22 last year, just days after advertising them as $90-$100 seats, some standing-room only as noted by Shaikin. Herein lies the problem:

If a field-box holder who paid $100 is sitting next to someone who paid $25 because that’s what the market said, we worry about that dynamic. – Tim Zue, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Boston Red Sox

There have been many times that I bought tickets and wondered what the person next to me had paid. Imagine paying $500 for a playoff ticket only to find out that the person next to you had bought theirs for $250. I would be infuriated, so I understand what the Dodgers are trying to do. But they need to be careful about it, otherwise, they just might lose the majority of their season ticket sales.

What do you think? Would you feel better about a controlled market that the team is trying to offer? Or would you prefer the market offered by secondary ticket sales?

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  1. Very good interesting article. I am a long time Dodger fan who has live in the SF area for 3 plus decades. I’ve battle many giant (the small g is on purpose) up here wether it was Candlestick or the newer stadium called PacBell AT&T or now Oracle Park. But I will say I’m also say I’m also a small Oakland A’s fan and season ticket holder. The A’s have a great deal going now. For $240 you get to go to every A’s home game and can choose 10 guaranteed seats along with $10 parking and 50% off all food and drinks (yes including beer) best of all they give you MLBtv access to all MLB games (see all Dodger games) So it was an easy choice to get this pass for the whole year ($240) With all that said I still love Dodger Stadium the best but love to travel to see the Dodgers all over our country and Nexico games were great last year in Monterrey.

  2. I was a season ticket holder for many years and this past year I finally gave it up. Within this decade from 2010 to 2018, I saw my outer reserve tickets go from $5 a ticket to $9 to $13 to $17 and I dont want to know what they are this year. All within 8 years. Now the price may not seem bad but having a family of 4 I was paying for a season ticket $5x81games×4tickets=$1620 and by 2018 I was paying $17x81x4 tickets=$5508. So now that a big jump from $1620 to $5508. Almost 4k more for a middle class family in the Outer Reserves. Crazy…and that’s not counting parking, food, alcohol, merchandise. I miss the days of taking a family of four to watch a baseball game. The love of baseball is going to vanish as families cant afford to take the little ones to the games and dont get me started where they cant even watch them on TV as well. Money hungry corporates.

  3. Good article sir! Believe me, competition for these tickets is good for the fans and keeps the prices down. If the Dodgers manage to push out the secondary market and capture all the ticket sales for themselves, it is going to be even worse for the consumer than it already is………I understand the wealthy do not care and probably support crushing the secondary market. But it’s tough for the every man to go to the stadium. IMO the Dodgers are showing excessive greed in this instance. Not a good look………….

  4. Whatever happened to the days before the Internet? I remember back in the 70’s if a box seat was $5.50 then it was $5.50. That was for a walk-up or a season ticket price. We had season tickets at work amongst a number of employees and there never was a problem.
    And TV – don’t blame anyone but MLB and the Dodgers.

  5. This is a joke. My season tickets are regularly selling for pennies on the dollar. Why stay? The idea sold to us 18 months back was just wait, we are removing the brokers – we are protecting the value of your tickets. The team is worse – they can sell at what they can get… who cares since there is lots more money in merchandise and food & beverage to start. The season ticket prices are too high, they have segmented the sections so the seat in front of mind is 20% more, a few more rows forward is 30% more…. this used to be based on seniority. Its all money, who can pay and we will find you a seat. No more printed (“hard”) tickets that rewarded the season ticket holder there. The same way the TV audience has been really screwed over it is happening to this greedy team that won’t spend to get titles. Verlander would have meant 1 or even 2 titles going onto #3… oh well we get stuck with this garbage in Chavez Ravine. Awful ownership.

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