SBD/September 13, 2013/Franchises

Red Sox Could Finally Adopt Dynamic Ticket Pricing Amid Falling Attendance

Attendance at Fenway Park this season is down 7.6%
Red Sox VP/Business Development Tim Zue on Thursday addressed ticket-pricing decisions through the use of data at the Sports Analytics Innovation Summit in Boston. After a period of years where the rest of the industry has now adopted some form of variable ticket pricing, the Red Sox stand alone as the only MLB team with static pricing. But Zue noted that could soon change. Zue: “I foresee us moving into that area in the near future.” After the team’s 794-game sellout streak at Fenway Park ended during the second home game this season, the Red Sox have found themselves adjusting, with attendance down 7.6% through Sept. 11. The team has hired more ticket and group sales reps and introduced new family and college promo ticket packages. While the club held the line on pricing the past two seasons, Zue’s department has been studying the idea of variable models, isolating whether opponent or month or day of the week substantially affect pricing. Zue: “We’ve had such great success selling tickets over the last ten years and frankly we haven’t had to sort of be as forward thinking in this realm as other teams. It’s no secret that this year’s attendance has been down. As we look toward trying to maximize our ticket sales, the hesitance in sports often is slow to adopt change. As a sports team with a long history and a lot of foundation, we’re very thoughtful as to when we adopt change.” He added, “You can’t change these things overnight, so we have to think about modest adjustments.”

GETTING SMARTER: Looking ahead to future pricing models, Zue said, “We’ve been getting smarter about our tickets, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be. We’re probably in the second or third inning of a nine-inning game in terms of how advanced we can get.” The next priority to be examined is real-time seat upgrades for single-ticket buyers already at Fenway Park. His department is currently examining the influence and effect of buying tickets online (where almost 95% of their sales come from) versus a growing market that is purchasing tickets via mobile.
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