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Blue Jays adopt dynamic pricing for single-game tickets

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Buying Blue Jays tickets this year will be more like getting airline tickets than before.

Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Baseball has a marathon season with teams experiencing plenty of ups and downs, but starting in 2016, fans will also be feeling the ups and downs at the Blue Jays ticket office as the club will be implementing dynamic pricing for its single-game tickets this season.

The underlying concept is pretty simple: instead of setting and fixing prices in the offseason, the club will change price of admission throughout the year based on estimated market demand, a tactic taken from ticket resellers. That way the club will be able to maximize gate revenues by raising prices for special games like a potential postseason clincher or lowering prices for games with lower-than-expected ticket demand to encourage walkup sales.

Factors that go into determining pricing include the win-loss record of the Jays and the visiting team, history of attendance on a particular day of the week during a particular time of the year, current rate of ticket sale, as well as the list prices on secondary market websites such as StubHub

Stephen Brooks, the Blue Jays' senior vice president of business operations, spoke at a Seneca College class on Saturday morning and revealed that the club will be working with Qcue to provide analytics and pricing suggestions for each game. The current plan is for the front office to meet about twice a week to review the suggested from Qcue and to determine pricing. That means that pricing is likely going to be dynamic on a day-to-day, rather than minute-by-minute, basis. Changes in prices for a game won't necessarily be uniform across the entire stadium; some pricing levels may experience a higher increase (or decrease) than others. Expect that the Blue Jays will use the threat of ticket price increases to encourage fans to secure tickets early.

Analysis of the pricing chart available at BlueJays.com shows that the the main factor in ticket pricing (as of February 20) is whether a game is played on a weekday or a weekend, which is not dissimilar to the previous variable pricing system with regular and premium games. (Note: "In The Action" seats are not included in this chart in order to keep the vertical scale reasonable and because prices do not fluctuate as much as other seating sections.)

Blue Jays Dynamic Ticket Pricing 20160220

The largest absolute range of ticket prices are for field level bases seats, which range from $49 on some weekdays to $74 for a Saturday game against the Yankees in September. The lowest and highest price below are based on the list prices as of the time of writing, and do not signify the floor or ceiling for any pricing level going forward.

Average Lowest Price Highest Price Low-High Difference % Increase Low to High
Premium Dugout
$85.85 $73.50 $95.50 $22.00 30%
Field Level Infield
$81.65 $68.50 $92.50 $24.00 35%
Field Level Bases
$58.53 $49.00 $74.00 $25.00 51%
100 Level Outfield
$42.53 $32.00 $51.00 $19.00 59%
TD Comfort Clubhouse
$96.93 $84.50 $107.00 $22.50 27%
200 Level Infield
$81.65 $68.50 $92.50 $24.00 35%
200 Level Bases
$57.35 $49.00 $70.00 $21.00 43%
200 Level Outfield
$36.52 $27.00 $44.00 $17.00 63%
500 Level
$21.25 $16.00 $27.00 $11.00 69%

In addition to implementing the dynamic prices, Brooks stated that the ability to print out tickets for those who have purchased already will not be activated until early- or mid-March in an attempt to combat the secondary market in order to "protect the fans" (and of course, to make it more difficult for others to re-sell Blue Jays tickets). Unlike some other major league teams, the Blue Jays do not have an agreement with StubHub nor their own ticket exchange marketplace.

Despite the overall increase in ticket prices, the Blue Jays have almost doubled both season and flex pack ticket sale this offseason, and Brooks believe that they are on track to at least meet the 2015 paid attendance of 2.8 million.

Hat tip to Ian Hunter of Blue Jay Hunter for pointing the way to the ticket pricing chart.