A recent flame war has started on the web recently, Twitter to be specific, and people are upset about the Astros Opening Day ticket prices have been doubled. Why would they do that, you ask? Because this night is going to be the biggest night for the Houston Astros baseball club as far as marketing goes. This, quite honestly, is much more than just another Opening Day baseball game. ESPN is going to broadcast it on national television; furthermore, if you asked yourself “why in the world would ESPN want to air an Astros game on national TV” when it first was announced, I’ll explain why.
As I just stated, this is MORE than just a baseball game, this is the very first game of the Astros’ inaugural season in the American League. A historic event for the franchise regardless of the product out on the field. This is about the franchise as a whole, not just what the analysts deem a team destined for a third straight one hundred loss season. For those casual fans who want to just see a cheap baseball game, there will be 80 more games played this year in Minute Maid Park, go see one of those games.
If you’re more of a hardcore or even a lifelong diehard Astros fan, there are ways around this “expensive hurdle” that you have set in front of yourself. I was dumbfounded and shocked, to be honest, when I saw the waves of negativity from fans blasting Jim Crane and his organization for being “greedy” and “punishing the fans”. I wanted to throw my phone into a river, I was so livid. To easily blast and take shots at the man who has lowered ticket prices, brought back fan favorite colors, and he even allowed fans to bring in outside food and drink. Not even a movie theater will allow outside food and drinks. Crane is simply taking advantage of a marketing chance and this is really the one game that is going to be as highly attended as this one. It’s hard to remember that this is a business, not a charity, and being a smart and savvy businessman, Jim Crane is only doing what any businessman would do in this situation. Anybody who would not make this decision would not be a good business man, nor would they be in business for long.
We have it so good, we as fans are so well catered to, Astros fans are spoiled rotten.
In 2012, the Astros’ cheapest section was $9.88, with day of game tickets as low as $5 from the ticket booth at Minute Maid Park. At an average price of $47.87 , 15th highest in the Major Leagues, but that includes suites, and luxury suites that hike the price. Tickets on Stubhub.com can be bought for as much as 50% to 70% off their face value, tickets to an Astros game are nowhere near expensive.
With dynamic pricing on certain games, highly coveted games are more expensive than those that are not. For example, in the NBA, a game against the Miami Heat would draw a bigger crowd than the Milwaukee Bucks, thus making the tickets for a marquee match-up more expensive. Momentous marquee match-up game tickets are so highly coveted, it is a rather straightforward business decision that should not come as a surprise to anybody. Why Astros fans online became so irate and perturbed remains a mystery to me. This should not have come as a surprise to anybody.
With that stated, what qualifies this game to be an MLB marquee match? Let us go down the list shall we? Opening Night, the first game to start off the entire MLB season, that seems like a pretty important game to me. Last year’s game was between the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals against the Miami Marlins, in the brand new Marlins Ballpark, and I’m more than sure the tickets to that game were far more expensive than those of the other games in Miami’s newest attraction.
Another reason is the historic significance of the match. Aside from being the headline game to kick off the MLB regular season, it is more than the Astros versus the Rangers. This is the Astros’ first game in the American League, the first meeting between these two as division rivals, and the Astros’ first prime time game in nobody knows how long. The last one is not much of an attraction to a game, but a prime time match up in any other league, the NFL’s Monday Night Football to be exact, is a similar to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in that it is a desired game that anybody who loves the sport will be watching the game.
Finally, do not let this detour be a roadblock. If you truly want to see this special game, you are going to go regardless of ticket prices, you will find a way to get cheaper tickets. Not only can you find a better deal on StubHub.com, you can find tickets else where like eBay. SeatGeek.com is more than likely your best bet, SeatGeek is a ticket price aggregation service that searches every resale site and brings them all to you to decide where you want to buy your tickets. Of course the prices are going to be outrageous at the beginning of March, but studies show that tickets are much cheaper in the days leading to the game. If none of that pans out at all and you are really desperate, more than likely if you show up early enough, you will be able to find the resident ticket resale people. They will more than likely have tickets at a reasonable cost.
There should be nothing stopping you if you truly want to attend this game. Be there for your team, don’t let this minimal hurdle stop you completely. This is a once in a lifetime game, if you were planning to attend this game before this news came out, still go. Don’t like a trivial, blown up controversy be the reason why you miss out on this historic event.
– Richard Perez