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Major League Baseball is selling playoff tickets already. What a great scam!

Jul 2, 2010, 9:51 AM EDT

Major League Baseball is letting you pay them $10-20 — right now — for the right to buy playoff tickets for your team at face value. Beat the scalpers! Beat StubHub! What a deal!

And I guess if you’re a Yankees fan or something it may be a good deal. For one thing the Yankees are likely to make the playoffs. For another thing it’s not likely that a ton of tickets will be available at face value.  A $10-20 markup (depending on which series it is) is less than you’ll get gouged on the secondary market if you’re so inclined.  Unless you’re the sort who camps out on line for tickets, this probably makes sense.

But the Yankees are kind of the exception, are they not?  Some playoff teams will go down to the wire simply to sell out a division series game. Happens every year. Even those who do sell out don’t do so immediately. If you wait a bit for, say, the Rangers to clinch and then act relatively quickly after they do, you’ll almost certainly be able to get face value seats without having to pay Bud Selig his vigorish.

But maybe the best part of this is the fact that MLB is opening up this fantastic opportunity for every single team. Really: check out the order page.  You can, with a couple of clicks, pay Major League Baseball as much as $90* for tickets to see the Pirates in the Division Series, NLCS and World Series! Or the Orioles! Or the Astros!

I’m going to put a little reminder on my calendar, but to make sure I don’t forget, someone remind in September to ask Major League Baseball how much money they made on these playoff ticket licenses for crappy teams.  I bet the number won’t be staggering, but I bet it won’t be zero either.

*The breakdown: $10 for each ticket for the Division Series, $15 for the League Championship Series and
$20 for the World Series with a maximum purchase of two tickets per series per household. So it would cost $90 now
if you wanted to reserve two tickets for one game of all three possible
postseason rounds.

  1. lar @ wezen-ball - Jul 2, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Funnily enough, as Rob at Walkoff Walk points out, the one team you can feel absolutely certain about – the Yankees – is the one team that you can’t get tickets for (though I suppose the Red Sox are a pretty close second, and they are available).

  2. YankeesfanLen - Jul 2, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    This is a hoot! Maybe the Yanks have come up with a separate concoction through Yankees Universe where for triple the MLB fare you qualify for a 1 in 10 chance lottery. No refunds of course. Won’t matter because fans will be so despondent they’ll be in 6 month funk if playoffs don’t happen

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 2, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Weren’t there plenty of seats available at Yankees playoff games last year? If not, then it sure was quiet up there in the Bronx compared to how loud it was in Philly. 😉

  4. Bill@TDS - Jul 2, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Yeah, leaving the Yankees off is the funny part. My guess is that the Yankees run their own kind of covert reselling brokerage (like the Cubs do, or at least used to) and stand to lose too much money by letting other people buy those tickets. Can’t think of any other reason…
    But I have to say that I actually really like this (and therefore must assume that Selig played no part in it). I have to imagine that Craig’s view is skewed a little bit by being a fan of the Braves, where playoff games have become kind of passe, old hat. MOST places will sell out their playoff tickets to most games quite quickly, snd buying them secondhand will be terribly expensive. This is a nice way to guarantee a ticket at a reasonable price, and putting down a relative pittance on your faith that they’ll get there, and MLB makes some money too. It’s a win-win. If some idiot wants to throw money away on the Orioles (just dreams of being the one guy who says “hey, I had so much faith in this team that I put money on them doing this back when they were 24 games behind”), it’s not their duty to stop him.
    What I don’t get so much is charging more money as you go up rounds. Yeah, it intuitively makes sense, but it seems to me that as the odds of it happening go down, so should the price. I’m pretty confident the Twins are going to the division series, so maybe I’d pay $20 apiece to nail down tickets (if I lived there). Yeah, I’d want to go to the World Series at least twice as badly, but it’s also at most 25% as likely that they’ll make it there, so gambling twice as much money on it seems a little silly.

  5. InnocentBystander - Jul 2, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Most important part of the whole program:
    “If your selected team doesn’t play the game for which you purchased Postseason Ticket Reservation(s), either because the team does not qualify or because the game is not necessary, no refunds will be given for your purchased Postseason Ticket Reservation(s).”
    Yeah, so try to be pretty sure your team is going to make it.

  6. Simon Oliver Lockwood - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    You’re basically buying a Call Option for postseason tickets. For teams that are likely to have a lottery for non-season ticket holders (i.e. not the Braves) some would find it a worthwhile investment. Wonder if there’ll be a secondary market for the Postseason Ticket Reservations? Quick, somebody call Intrade!

  7. Steve A - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Why didn’t MLB wait until the All-Star Game to start selling reservations to World Series Home Game 4? By definition, this is Game 7 of the series. Thanks to the fact that “This One Counts”, approximately half the teams have no chance at hosting Game 7 of the World Series.

  8. Buccofan - Jul 3, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    More than half. You have to include the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Royals, and Orioles regardless of who wins the All-Star Game.

  9. bh0673 - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    The reality is it makes no sense to hedge that investment. If a non contender makes it then you have time to position yourself. For Yankee tickets it breaks down to this 48000 or total tickets available, last year there were 37000 full and 41 game season tickets holders that had first dibs, MLB and the opposing team get I think it was about 9000 tickets collectively and there are still the smaller season ticket holders that get the next chance which leave zero for the general population.

  10. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    Yankee fans let the team do the talking. Somehow, crowd noise didn’t stop them from taking two of three in that hellhole at the far end of the Turnpike.

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