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Tracking each team’s ticket surcharges

Jun 10, 2013, 9:49 AM EDT

old turnstile

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times has his annual look at teams’ ticket surcharges — convenience fees, printing fees, processing fees, whatever — up today, helping you figure out how much you’re really paying for a ducat to each game. It’s a handy post which tells you — after it’s all said and done — what you’re truly paying for a cheap seat at each park.

Fun fact: the only teams left who actually charge you to print you tickets off at home are the Yankees and Brewers. How that costs them anything and how that represents anything other than the most craven gouging I have no idea. But as Jaffe demonstrates, the maze of fees involved is so complicated that a team like the Yankees can say “hey, we charge you to print, but we will mail you tickets for free” and the Brewers can say “hey, we charge you to print but we have no processing fees” and in so doing attempt to come off as reasonable.

Which is the largest takeaway here: these fees are so amorphously-named and their justification so varied that it’s truly hard to tell who is bending you over and who isn’t.

  1. beebopthearcher - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    These fees are absolutely bullshit. How on earth did we get to the time and place where companies found it reasonable to blatantly false advertise prices by breaking up up costs into each tiny little segment. “The ticket is $20! Plus a $5 processing fee. Plus $8 to print it off.” Fine, just say the fucking ticket is $33 then. You’re a professional organization, not a slimy car salesman. Stop treating your customers as someone you’re trying to pull a fast one on.

    That being said, as there are basically no negative consequences for the companies doing this (aside from the occasional TicketMaster class action suit they have to settle), this kind of stuff is only going to get worse.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      I was a car salesman at one point in my life, they’re far less slimey than you might think. Most of the time, they’re just trying to sell a car so they can pay bills and eat from time to time.

      It’s generally a full commission job. No sale. no pay.

    • dowhatifeellike - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      I went to my first big rock concert a few years ago and face value of my tickets were $37.50. With all of Ticketmaster’s fees 2 tickets cost me $96. But what’s a guy to do? It’s not like I have time to saunter on down to the box office during business hours to make a purchase.

    • e5again - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      It’s all about marketing. You will sell more “$20” tickets than $33 tickets every time.

      • beebopthearcher - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Hence, the sliminess aspect.

        You can do a lot more business by lying to your customers. Doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be laws against it.

  2. mybrunoblog - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Stubhub, Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook, etc….Why would anybody buy directly from the team these days?

    • mjames1229 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      I just bought an MLS ticket for last week’s game off of Stubhub. My $14 ticket cost me $23.95 after the two fees (a $5 service fee and a $4.95 “Instant download” fee.

      So Stubhub is not an answer, either.

      • mjames1229 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Forgot to add…

        The $23.95 was still cheaper than the face value of the ticket, but I meant to say that it was advertised as a $14 ticket and it wasn’t.

  3. dowhatifeellike - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Peter Angelos gets you even if you don’t buy in advance – if you buy from the box office the day of a game, you still get hit with a $1 “walk-up fee” on each ticket.

    • bigharold - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      “.. if you buy from the box office the day of a game, you still get hit with a $1 “walk-up fee” on each ticket.”

      The outrageous thing is not that he charges it but that people actually pay it. While you can debate the value added for the various fees intermediaries charge on some level you have to admit that they are providing as service which you can expect to pay for. But, charging me a dollar to sell me the ticket?? You might as well tell me to my face I’m a fool and you’re going to beat for every thing you can. I would not be at all surprised to find out that all teams do this but since most people don’t walk up and buy it the day of they’re just not aware.

      But, if we, the fans, .. the paying customers will put up with it why shouldn’t we expect to be treated like sheep to be fleeced?

  4. rollinghighwayblues - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Exactly why I frequent minor league ballgames instead of the inflated MLB. Tomorrow is $2 for the SA Missions, it means exactly that. $2 parking, reserved seats, beer, popcorn, kielbasas. We actually up the ante and cough a whopping $11 for second row seats behind home plate. Nothing like seeing Steve Buechele up close and personal as he coaches third base for dirt cheap.

  5. heyblueyoustink - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Time for “sneaking into the ballpark” to make a comeback.

    • gloccamorra - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      They all have security departments that hire from the same pool as the TSA. The TSA pays better and gets the “cream of the crop”. If I wanted to confront psychos, I’d remarry my ex-wife.

  6. FinFan68 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    It’s all a scam to make money and they are not alone in their petty deception. The reason they do it is because people accept it. It is a shady way to make money. Buy something off the internet and the shipping often costs more than it would if you mailed that same package to someone else. They add the term handling so that people don’t complain. Car sales and home sales are the same way. Buy a car and all the fees start adding up fast. Destination fees, processing fees, etc. are all BS. That is what they internally need to do to sell the product. Walmart does not charge to print a receipt (yet anyway) so why should there be a fee for paperwork to buy a car? Because dumb people accept it and pay for it proving the scam is a viable money-maker. Look at what the airlines are doing now. There are fees for everything and it is a disgrace. There are ways to cut costs but that isn’t really what they are doing. They are simply looking for additional cash cows regardless of ethics. Service is dead in business. Customers are simply money machines and nothing more. It is this way because we let it evolve through apathy and stupidity.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    What is the difference between a convenience fee and a processing fee exactly?

    • chill1184 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM


    • chrisjaffe - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      A convenience fee is per ticket. A processing fee is per order.

      If you buy an order of four tickets for a game, you pay four convenience fees (one per ticket) and one processing charge.

      The more tickets you buy in an order, the less you notice the processing charge. By an order of 10 tickets, it’s just a few dimes per ticket extra. Buy just one ticket? You get nailed w/ the full force of it.

  8. rcali - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I have a policy of never paying face value for any ticket and will only go to games when I can get a deeply discounted ticket on the online ticket exchanges, with an exception of TicketCrapster which will NOT refund your ticket buying fees in an event is cancelled.

  9. raysfan1 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Well, here’s more reasons for the Rays to be #27 in attendance (at least we’re not #30 now).

  10. dohpey28 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Let’s not forget the biggest sham of all time, PCLs.

    • dohpey28 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      *PSLs sorry

      • weaselpuppy - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        well, the PCL is kind of a sham as well, given the type of hitting environment that league is…seems every prospect coming up slashes 425/675/880

      • mybrunoblog - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        I was on the NY Giants ticket wait list for 12 years. New stadium was built and lots of season ticket holders walked away due to PSL’s. Giants called and emailed me for over a year and a half trying to get me to buy season tix with PSL. I told em “no f@#king way”.
        IMAO you have to insane to purchase a PSL but it’s a free country.

  11. mgdsquiggy17 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    “how that costs them anything and how that represents anything other than the most craven gouging I have no idea.”

    Have you seen their contracts with the ticket companies? Or are you just making an uneducated guess because you think you are right? In fact some teams are charged by the ticketing provider (stubhub, paciolan,, etc) to send PAH tickets. Now whether they should charge that back to the customer is another debate (I don’t think they should but a cost is a cost.) Maybe you should a little research considering the forum.

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      *ticketmaster not Stubhub. Stubhub is a 3rd party independent of the teams.

  12. maximusprime107 - Jun 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    You guys need to try

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