Today’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Jesse Lawrence, CEO of TiqIQ.
Variable ticket pricing has been prevalent in baseball, basketball and hockey for decades. With 41 home games, 81 in baseball, it’s easy to claim all home games aren’t created equal. This allowed teams to charge more for premium games on the NFL schedule, while charging less to draw fans into less enticing opponents. Until this season, variable pricing had not become popular with NFL teams. With 10 home games, including the preseason, NFL teams were comfortable charging the same price for every game. This year, five NFL teams have already released tickets with variable pricing and up to 10 total teams may do so in 2014. With such a small sample of games, these NFL must not only gauge which games should be more expensive, but also how much more expensive they should be. Using secondary market data tracked by TiqIQ, it’s easy to see how teams did in their first forays into variable ticket pricing by comparing the cheapest available ticket on the secondary market to the cheapest available primary market ticket.
The Miami Dolphins did the best in both identifying and pricing their top two games. The two games on the Dolphins schedule with the highest secondary market price are the two most expensive games on the primary market, against the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. The price difference between the primary and secondary market against the Patriots is less than 1%.
In Tennessee, the Titans underestimated the demand for their two highest priced games, though correctly identified which games they would be. The two most expensive games on the Titans schedule are the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys and a Week 11 Monday Night Football Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both games were priced at $84 rather than the $49.25 price for other home games and both games have already sold out on the secondary market, The sell-out, though, has driven up secondary market get-in prices to $138 against Dallas and $96 against Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh missed the most while gauging demand on their adjusted games. The Steelers raised the prices for games against the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts to a $100 get-in price, as opposed to the normal $82.60. As one of the biggest rivalries in football and typically the biggest game on the Steelers schedule in a given season, the Ravens game has a $109 get-in price on the secondary market, the most expensive Steelers game for the season. The Colts game, however, is way off the anticipated demand with a secondary get-in of just $56. Pittsburgh would have been better off raising the price of the home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which has a secondary get-in price of $108.
Atlanta is losing a home game due to playing a week in London this year, but correctly identified the top three home games on the Falcons schedule. Atlanta is within 15% of the secondary market prices for the three higher priced games at the Georgia Dome against the Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears.
The Chiefs were the most aggressive with variably pricing games, to mixed results. Kansas City was the only team of the five to drop the price of a single game, a Week 17 matchup against the San Diego Chargers. It is the least expensive secondary market ticket on the Chiefs schedule, but is still 51% below the face value price. For two of the games Kansas City raised the price—against the Patriots and the Denver Broncos—the primary and secondary market prices are within 7% of each other. However, the Chiefs also raised the price of their home opener against Tennessee, which is currently 55% cheaper on the secondary market.
Editor’s Note – The table below is based on data from June 6, 2014:
|Low Face Price||Low Secondary||% Above / Below Face||High Face Price||High Secondary||% Above / Below Face|
Jesse Lawrence is CEO and Founder of TiqIQ, an event ticketing search engine that also licenses ticket market data to leagues and teams. You can read more from Jesse in the SportsMoney section of Forbes.com.