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Orioles raise season-ticket prices slightly, expand variable-pricing system

When Orioles season-ticket holders receive their renewal packages in the mail over the next few days, they will find slightly higher average ticket prices and an expanded version of the variable-pricing plan the club has used for single-game ticket sales over the past seven years.

The Orioles are raising season-ticket prices on all plans by an average of approximately 5 percent, the first increase in cost since 2008, an Orioles spokeswoman confirmed Friday. Season-ticket packages start at $168 for a 13-game plan; 29-game and full-season packages are also available.

Single-game tickets also will be overhauled, changing the way fans will go to the box office and purchase tickets. There will be no more fixed pricing, as the Orioles are instituting single-game dynamic pricing, in which prices fluctuate from day to day depending on the demand for a specific game. This system is similar to purchasing airline tickets.

Dynamic pricing is becoming a growing trend in professional sports. Since the San Francisco Giants became the first Major League Baseball club to intorduce dynamic pricing four years ago, more than a dozen other teams -- big and small market alike -- have followed suit. Teams that use some type of dynamic pricing include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays.

Under dynamic pricing, prices for single-game tickets against popular teams like the division-rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox or the regional-rival Washington Nationals likely will rise as the date approaches. Popular promotions, team success, as well as weekend and holiday dates also could prompt a spike in price as the game nears.

The new system encourages fans to become season-ticket holders, who will save between $2 and $16 per game over initial single-game prices, which likely will go on sale next month. Season-ticket holders also have fewer exchange restrictions and can make additional single-game purchases at the season-ticket rate.

Previously, the Orioles had two price categories for single-game tickets: regular games and more expensive high-profile games, which included games against popular opponents like the Yankees, Red Sox or Nationals.

Now the club's 81 home dates will be divided into five difference pricing levels, from six “value” games, including weekday games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, to five “elite” games, including Opening Day and Saturday-night games against the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals.

The tier below the elite level, the “prime” category, includes all other games against New York, Boston and St. Louis. The majority of the games, 49 total, will fall under the “classic” level.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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