Tickets and ticket sales are a hot topic among Yankee fans these days. For the most part, the news covers the same old story: Long-time Yankee fans are upset with the way the Yankees have handled season-ticket packages. Meanwhile, those of us hoping for single-game tickets have been waiting and waiting and waiting.
As Opening Day draws near, however, the more academic side of ticket sales and attendance figures is beginning to emerge. Last Friday, Shysterball highlighted a profile of the frontiers of baseball analysis. In Cleveland, the Indians’ ticket office has engaged, in a thorough analysis of ticket sale patterns. As expected, the Yankees are a big draw.
Using statistical analysis of ticket purchases to understand the preferences and price limits of their fans, the Indians learned that fireworks after a game draw an additional 4,000 fans; every one-degree temperature drop below 70 Fahrenheit costs them 300; and when the New York Yankees come to town, attendance jumps 11,000.
The Major League Baseball club is at the forefront of using statistical analysis to design pricing. The team says its plan will increase ticket revenue 5 percent this season as the U.S. skids into its worst economic decline since the Great Depression.
“The goal was to do a better job figuring out what people were willing to pay for their product,” said Vince Gennaro, 57, a Purchase, New York-based consultant who managed the research project. “Where could we add value to convince them to make the purchase or decrease the price where demand is lower?”
Gennaro, by the way, is a leading member of the Society for American Baseball Research.
Meanwhile, in a separate attendance-focused article — again referred to us by Shysterball — Jon Bois examines the impact new stadiums have on local revenue. While he concludes that the Yanks and Mets may not enjoy the revenue they expect, his findings are flawed. He bases his conclusions on projections of stadium capacity without giving nod to the fact that the Yanks’ — and Mets’ — new parks are significantly smaller than the old ones. The Yankees and Mets will do just fine with their revenue streams despite the economy.
So what does this all mean? Well, it means that a salary cap wouldn’t make much sense. The Yankees are a preeminent team in baseball. Opposing fans head out in droves to catch them in action, and limiting their ability to put a top product on the field would eventually do more harm to the overall health of the sport than it would go good. The Yankees haven’t won the World Series in 2000, and in baseball, economics will always trump that red-herring hunt for a fair notion of competitive balance.