The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Cubs will auction off new seats being made available at Wrigley Field near the third base dugout. From that report, it's not clear exactly how the auction would work but if true, it could be one of the first real attempts to let a totally fluid marketplace determine the prices of tickets on the primary market.
A few years ago, I did a story on the Internet secondary market in sports tickets. By now, most fans know what that means -- tickets being resold by individuals or ticket brokers on Eba or TicketsNow or StubHub and on and on. And that's exactly what happens with those tickers -- the free-floating market determines what a ticket will cost.
When I was doing that story, ticket experts who study this business said that eventually the Internet will allow teams to sell all/most/some seats to its games, using the auction model from the very start.
Now in practice, I think that the notion of all or even most tickets being sold this way is a long, long way off, at least is some sports. For one thing, there's the issue of PSLs being sold primarily by NFL teams that lock in the right to purchase season tickets. And there will always be the financial security in selling season tickets for a set price so that the team pockets the money in advance regardless of how the team performs.
But in sports where the majority of tickets are single-gamers or for certain premium seats (like these dugout seats), I can see it happening. Or at least being tried. The Internet just makes it too tempting to not give it a shot.
The obvious upside is that everyone gets a crack at certain tickets that might otherwise be tied up as a season ticket. The obvious downside: If you're not enormously rich and willing to outbid well-heeled competitors and speculators, you probably have no shot.
Photo credit: Brian Kersey/AP