Have you been to a Padres game this year? Chances are, if you have, you have seen the new method that the Padres are using to sell tickets. The Padres are one of several professional franchises to implement “dynamic pricing” to determine ticket prices. Qcue, who is the main developer of the system looks at a variety of factors to determine prices-things such as: weather, pitching match-ups, the two squads playing, among other things. The ultimate result is a price that varies from game-to-game, and also deters scalpers from making a hefty profit from reselling tickets.
On paper, the pricing makes sense-unless you are the San Diego Padres. The Padres are clearly not a box office draw in San Diego currently. I attended the Marlins v. Padres game last Saturday night, and the announced attendance was 25,000, on a giveaway night. The crowd had to be much smaller in my opinion, as it looked to be about 40% capacity to me. In the early days of Petco, a promotional item on a Saturday night would have meant a near-capacity crowd. Much of the fan base seems disenchanted with the current state of affairs with the hometown nine.
The Padres, to their credit, do have some of the most affordable ticket prices around. However, the dynamic pricing is flat-out ridiculous for some games. Take a look at the upcoming interleague series against Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim adjacent to La Habra. We will compare those prices to a seemingly less-desirable matchup between the Pads and D’Backs. The 2nd game of the series with the Angels has in the left-field reserved area for $27.25. Those same tickets were $16 last year, they are going for $17 for the D’Backs series. It seems to me, that a large pricing disparity is occurring.
The gouging gets worse, folks. The Park tickets have been $5 since Petco opened. I, myself have never sat in that section, but it is a great way for families to take in the atmosphere of Major League Baseball. For the Angels series, those tickets will be as high as $11.50-an increase well over 100%. It seems crazy to me.
I understand that the Padres need to make a profit, but it is hard to justify price hikes for certain games, especially with the crap product they are putting on the field. The Padres can advertise on television with a new ad campaign: “Come out to the ballpark, and watch Jason Bartlett, he used to be good, but now he stinks! You can enjoy the series against the Angels for twice the price that you used to!”
The Giants have had a lot of success implementing dynamic ticket pricing, but there is one difference-the Giants have won. The Padres need to find a way to drive people to Petco. Less promotional giveaways, and dynamic gouging-I mean dynamic pricing is not the way to do it. Sure, some games are actually less expensive than they have in the past, but when I take a look at the schedule, there are more games that are more expensive that they have been. However, at the current time, this model does not work for the Padres.