Determining the price of a Mariners ticket is a complicated matter these days.
It used to be, way back in the years before 2008, that a ticket was a ticket was a ticket. A lower reserved seat was the same price for a midseason game against the Red Sox as a late April game against the Royals. In 2008, the M’s started using tiered pricing, declaring certain games to be “premium” and adding a surcharge; they also instituted pricing “discounts” for tickets bought before the season started and what I like to call “the walk-up penalty,” a surcharge on tickets bought day of game. In years following, they declared more games to be “premium” and added surcharges for summer weekend dates, throwing the bone of reduced prices on a few generally undesirable cold-weather weekday evening games.
But last year is when it got really crazy, when so-called “Dynamic Pricing” was introduced, ostensibly to tie prices to individual games to that game’s demand among ticket-buyers. The tiered/premium concept wasn’t discarded, though, as each game has one of four base prices (“single,” double,” triple,” or “home run”) to begin the season.
The theory behind Dynamic Pricing says that prices go up when enough tickets to a particular game are sold, and as game day nears, can go up or down based on how much time is left to fill the stadium. If this were true in practice, tickets to games with low presale numbers would get cheaper as the date approached, encouraging more sales. But to our knowledge, at no time have prices to any games decreased “dynamically.” Prices go up, but they never go down, with the exception of unrelated promotions such as the “Supreme Court” date for Felix Hernandez’s start following his perfect game last season.
Do you have an opinion on the Mariners’ ticket pricing arrangement? Have you chosen to go to additional games because they’re (initially) priced as “singles” or “doubles”? Have you gone to fewer games due to the sometimes-daily price jumps or premium surcharges? Sound off in the comments below. Depending on response, we may revisit this topic in the pages of The Grand Salami this season.
Mariner Market Cartoon originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of The Grand Salami.