MLB Teams Using Secondary Market as Alternative Means of Ticket Distribution


The Toronto Star and CBC are reporting that Major League Baseball teams restricting fans to exclusive secondary ticketing marketplaces (see: Stubhub, TicketsNow etc.) are both profiting from the resale of those seats and using the secondary market as an alternative means of  ticket distribution. StubHub (EBAY) head of global communications Glenn Lehrman acknowledged that teams “do very well (financially)” from tickets sold on the online resale site, a fact previously believed (why else would a team maintain an exclusive relationship with a resale site) but unconfirmed; adding that any tickets sold on the secondary market, directly by the franchise, is “absolutely added revenue” for a team’s bottom line. Lehrman acknowledged that his company would “encourage” teams to sell tickets directly on the secondary market.

Howie Long-Short: Blue Jays President, Mark Shapiro touted the team’s home opener as the “highest-revenue game in the history of Rogers Centre”, but failed to mention that just 30% (13,000) of the stadium’s seats were ever offered on the primary market (i.e. through team box office). On the contrary, at least 20,519 tickets (45%) were available for purchase on resale sites within the last 60 days; at an average markup of 205%. Double-dipping and taking a cut of resale market proceeds is one thing, bypassing the primary market to increase team profits at the expense of your biggest fans (it was Opening Day) is unethical (marketing tickets at one price and selling them at another) and downright piggish. MLB (and any other leagues running this racket) needs to put a stop to this practice for the long-term good of the game, pigs get slaughtered.

Fan Marino: Speaking of the secondary market, the NCAA men’s basketball championship game is arguably the best value in sports. Kansas and Loyola-Chicago fans are long gone from San Antonio, but many bought tickets hoping their team would be playing tonight. Those seats now sit on secondary market, with the price dropping by the hour. According to TicketIQ, a leading ticket search engine, as of 10p on Sunday evening you could get into the building for $84; roughly 1/10th of the “get-in” price ($833) for the 2018 college football national championship game. Looking to go to the game? The NCAA Ticket Exchange, powered by Primesport (owned by OLE) is actually currently the cheapest deal on the market TicketIQ data sources. Below is quick comparison vs Stub Hub (prices after fees)

  • 300’s level / Get-in price:
    • Exchange: $84
    • SH: $85
  • Cheapest 200’s level
    • Exchange: $148
    • SH: $200
  • Cheapest 100’s level
    • Exchange: $157
    • SH: $182

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Author: John Wall Street

At the intersection of sports & finance.

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