Wed, May 20th 2009 7:16pm
The San Francisco Giants are experimenting with software that dynamically prices baseball tickets, adjusting prices based on demand, weather, and even other factors like who's scheduled to pitch on a particular day. Many teams already charge different prices for seats based on the opponent or other factors, but the Giants are trying to manage ticket revenue much like airlines and hotels price their products: charging a premium for in-demand seats, but lowering prices when necessary in an attempt to fill available space. For instance, in a recent series against the Mets, some bleacher seats that regularly go for $17 each varied in price from $15 to $33, depending on the weather and pitching matchups. So far, the Giants are testing the system on just 2,000 outfield seats in their 41,000-seat stadium, wary of upsetting season-ticket holders by offering similar seats to other buyers at lower prices. They say so far, they've increased sales in those seats by 17 percent over last year, but it's too early to tell if that's solely because of the pricing system. On one hand, it's easy to see some people getting upset by the system, but on the other, a case can be made that the seats offer different levels of value on different days, and should be priced accordingly. It's essentially the same system, just a little more scientific, as that used by scalpers, and they find no shortage of willing buyers. If the Giants have a lot of success with their efforts, look for similar systems to quickly catch on with other sports teams.
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