I always get into heated arguments about the pricing of tickets to sports events. Generally, I find it hard to get too fired up about the annual surveys that tell you whether it costs an arm, leg or kidney to get into a sporting event. That doesn’t sit well with many of my colleagues and friends. My premise is simply that with the exception of the NFL, you have enough options for dates to find a deal and that the cost of entry isn’t prohibitive. This is where the discussion normally escalates with complaints of scalpers, premium prices for rivalry series or attractive matchups.
First, the secondary ticketing market often has great deals available for the “get in” ticket. If you want a premium seat, you should be prepared to pay a premium price.
Second, you pay $6 for a hot dog and french fries at the typical fast-casual restaurant. You pay a heavy price to take your children to the movies or local amusement/water park. You can spend a king’s ransom for a simple night out of dinner and a movie on your own (kick it up with your babysitter cost, if applicable).
Why is paying for a ticket to a sporting event such an offensive departure?
Third, you’re not the only one who wants to see LeBron or Kobe or the Yankees (the playoffs) when they come to town X. As a result, tickets are not free-flowing and, well, these are for “for-profit” entities.
When you ask me about the ticket price, you get the argument above. I shan’t make the same impassioned plea when the topic of the “grand total” comes up. When you look at the convenience and processing fees plus shipping, you’re entering a whole other world of misery. Living in Los Angeles has numbed me to the “parking/valet” column, but that’s a real concern at several stadiums.
Chris Jaffe of “The Hardball Times” posted a fantastic piece about this phenomenon and how deep the thirty Major League Baseball teams reach into your pocket. I can’t say that I’m surprised to see the Los Angeles and Chicago teams (1st and 2nd-place for the Cubs and White Sox, respectively) along with the Red Sox and Yankees occupying six of the top seven spots. The fact that the Detroit Tigers sit among the leaders piqued my interest, but, as Jaffe notes in his year-to-year comparison, you can post a picture of Prince Fielder in the liner notes.
Perhaps the most irksome is the bump in convenience fee if you intend to sit in better seats. You pay more to, in fact, pay more. Unless someone’s giving you a massage or an amuse-bouche and glass of champagne, I’m not quite sure why that’s the case.