StubHub’s “All-In” Pricing

Posted by Kurt Smith on Friday, January 31, 2014

Recently I received an e-mail from the nice folks at StubHub, informing me that the ticket resale giant now features “all-in” pricing, meaning that the price you see listed on the screen is the actual price that you’ll pay for the ticket.

In their page describing the format, StubHub compares the ticket pricing structure to “a well-known competitor” that adds a couple of fees to the original price of the ticket, so that the consumer ends up paying $72 for a $54 ticket.

Wonder who that “well-known competitor” might be...nothing comes to mind. (cough cough Ticketmaster cough cough).

This new format isn’t news, actually, at least not for baseball fans. StubHub changed their fees policy when they inked their latest deal with MLB at the beginning of 2013. The fees are still there, but they are included in the cost of the ticket, so the user isn’t rudely surprised by the additional costs.

The Yankees refused to opt into that deal, instead partnering with Ticketmaster to help fans re-sell their tickets—and presumably implement a price floor to keep the value of their insanely expensive tickets from dropping. And, uh, to collect fees from ticket re-sales.

Publicly the Yankees sold this as protecting the public from counterfeit tickets sold by third party brokers. They did not mention StubHub by name, probably because they couldn’t, since StubHub guarantees their ticket re-sales. But it was clearly implied. They also blocked StubHub’s attempt to open an office near Yankee Stadium, pronouncing it to be within the scalping radius.

So I like that StubHub isn’t taking it lying down. I’m only seeing it from my perspective, but I’m guessing this campaign of “all-in pricing” is a dig at Ticketmaster and their “fees”.

And I expect it will resonate with fans who are sick of paying $92 for a ticket originally listed at $74. I know I’m one of them.

I suspect that this format, like StubHub’s existence in the first place, will be a game changer for the ticket-buying public. StubHub is hugely popular, and with good reason...they are doing a better job reflecting the ticket-buying market than teams and concert promoters are.

Most teams are recognizing this and are using tools like variable pricing based on day of the week and opponent, and dynamic pricing for some sections, reflecting rising or falling value of a game based on less tangible factors like pitching matchups.

All of this is better for fans, who may want to just be able to afford a day at the ballpark and can do it during the week.

It would be nice to see teams doing away with the surprise fees, which, of course, aren’t a surprise anymore…fans know that the final price is going to be considerably higher than the listed price. It has gotten so bad that some teams occasionally offer waived fees for a day or two. They know.

We can thank Ticketmaster for the acceptance of processing fees, even if they weren’t the first to employ the idea.

Hopefully someday we can thank StubHub for letting the consumer know the real price up front. I don’t mind paying for an outfit making ticket buying so simple...I just don’t take kindly to their adding the fees after I agree to buy a ticket. Scalpers don’t even do that.

Tags: stubhub  tickets and seating 
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