Latest StubHub Deal Better For Fans…

Posted by Kurt Smith on Wednesday, December 12, 2012

…that is, fans of every team except for the Yankees, Cubs, and Angels, for now.

Major League Baseball and StubHub have renewed their agreement, which began in 2007. There are some changes in how tickets will be priced because of some teams’ complaints, but it’s actually a good thing for fans, despite how it appears on the surface.

The change resulted from the appearance of 99-cent tickets being available for a lot of teams (the Phillies were one), and some teams considered this to be an “eyesore”, a suggestion that the product on the field was not worthy of more than a buck—which would, of course, require them to lower their own ticket prices especially if they were having a bad season. The horror.

Several teams, like the Yankees and Cubs, have opted out of the deal, presumably because they had a big problem with low-priced tickets being available on StubHub. The Yankees, from what I’ve read, believe that StubHub’s low-priced tickets were part of the reason there were so many empty seats in Yankee Stadium during the 2012 playoffs. I’m of the opinion that the Yankees’ average price of $225 a ticket might have had something to do with it, but that’s just me.

But the good news is, the fan didn’t get screwed with it, in fact, we’ve gotten a better deal overall.

To stop the dangerous scourge of $1 tickets being available for underachieving teams, MLB is now requiring that tickets be listed at a minimum of $6. However, that $6 includes the delivery and processing fees, which weren’t listed in the price of the ticket before and totaled at least $10.40 in the past. I found this out buying a $1 Phillies ticket last year, which in total cost me about $12. It was still a good deal, but the fees are irritating. StubHub actually acknowledged this.

Even better, the processing fees for cheaper tickets have gone down. If the ticket is under $10, the delivery fee will now be $2.25, down from the flat $5.40 for all tickets last season; if a ticket sells for under $50, the service fee will now be $3. It was something like $5 before at a minimum, now it will be a percentage of the price for tickets over $50.

So instead of a ticket that is listed for $1 but ultimately costs the fan $12, the ticket will be listed for $6 and will cost the fan $6. So it’s actually a more accurate and less annoying transaction for fans, StubHub keeps their deal, and (most) baseball teams are happy that their product doesn’t look so worthless. Win-win-win.

Now as far as the Yankees, Angels and Cubs opting out, this doesn’t mean you can’t get tickets for those teams’ home games on StubHub, but it does make it more difficult for sellers; they will have to type in the ticket information rather than just the barcode, and presumably they will have to mail or FedEx the ticket to the buyer. So essentially it will be like selling on eBay, so I imagine sellers will just go there and that is where you’ll be likely to find the bulk of available tickets for those teams. Certainly, when you get tickets for these teams now, you’ll have to consider how the tickets will arrive too.

The Yankees and Angels are working on a deal with Ticketmaster. Given Ticketmaster’s general reputation, I expect it won’t be as good as the latest deal for fans. But hey, this is what federalism is all about. As soon as I know what they’re doing, I’ll try to translate it.

I initially expressed irritation that teams like the Cubs weren’t happy about the impression that no one wanted to see a 100-loss team. But this has worked out quite well for fans of most teams.

Baseball and StubHub deserve kudos for this deal, which is actually better for fans, at least as far as I can tell. We’ll see if it holds up.

Tags: tickets and seating  stubhub  yankee stadium  wrigley field 
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