I didn’t get season tickets this year. I waffled about the decision all the way through April. In the end I chose not to get a package this year, forgoing the savings a package can provide. I’ve been fortunate to have a few friends who provided freebies on occasion. Most of the time, I’ve simply walked up to get tickets.
Years ago, before the advent of the internet and the mobile power that comes with smartphones, the A’s had freestanding booths for day-of-game tickets. The booths were located outside all of the main gates. Agents manning the booths were furnished with stacks of preprinted tickets, with different quantities for certain sections or price levels. The booths went away around the time the Wolff/Fisher group took control of the team.
For years, fans choosing to get day-of-game tickets just before the game had no choice but to buy from the permanent booths on the BART plaza and near gates C and D. This year, the booths have been supplemented with electronic kiosks, which, like the booths, charged no fees on any tickets sold (including advance tickets). This has helped alleviate some of the frequently long lines, along with providing multiple places to pick up will-call tickets.
Tonight I noticed something odd about the system. Every Red Sox game is a “premium” game, with slightly higher ticket prices compared to games against most other teams. The A’s charge higher prices knowing that demand is expected to be greater, though I’ve noticed that demand for Red Sox games has gone down precipitously in the last few years (Monday night’s attendance: 17,434). I kept track of what tickets online seller tickets.com had available through the website. By the early afternoon, I noticed that no Value Deck seats were available. There’s nothing special about the demand for Value Deck seats except when a group buys a large block of them (only 1,000 are available per game). I figured that because of the missing Value Deck tickets, demand was reasonably high. Running counter to that assertion was the fact that the team was also selling “Dynamic Deal” tickets, at $22 for Plaza Level and $10 for Plaza Outfield.
I got one of the $10 seats, got some food, and sat in my seat at 7 on the dot. The bleachers were about half-full. So were many other sections. I thought that perhaps there might be a late-arriving crowd, but I was wrong. Based on the way the sections were filled, the place looked half full. 17,434 paid attendance seems to confirm that, though there were probably 2-3,000 no-shows as well. I looked up at the Value Deck repeatedly and noticed that those sections were also at best half full. Yet the advance tickets were sold out. So what gives?
I can’t come up with an explanation for what happened, and as a single data point it would be foolish to draw any specific conclusions from it. The A’s don’t have anything to gain from manipulating the availability of any ticket type, simply because the demand is so elastic that the gains would be worth peanuts. The observation has certainly made me want to pay more attention in the future to inventory and availability compared to the in-house optics. Next opportunity is Wednesday’s series-ender against the Sawx.