There’s a CBC report today on how the Toronto Blue Jays are scalping their own tickets. The report says that over 20,000 tickets for today’s MLB opener were available for sale on secondary seller StubHub and that many of them are there courtesy of the club itself.
Pretty stinky, right? Especially since opening day is always a guaranteed sellout every single season.
So why would the Blue Jays scalp their own tickets? To make a little extra money, of course–and to hedge against a total collapse in attendance that will come later this season.
Many pro sports teams have long-term deals with ticket brokers as a way of taking out insurance against falls in attendance. In the case of the Blue Jays, a team in a rebuilding cycle, there will be plenty of empty seats come August when the team is out of pennant contention. Selling blocks of tickets throughout the season to brokers is a way transferring the financial risk of unsold tickets onto the brokers.
The seats may remain unsold, but the Blue Jays have the money in the bank. If the team gets hot and tickets are hard to come by in August, the broker can cash in with (apparently) the Blue Jays getting a piece of the action.
Which brings us back to the ungodly number of Jays tickets on StubHub for opening day. This sounds like part of a season-long arrangement. The Jays and StubHub both know the late summer months will be rough and that the chances of StubHub making back all their money from that portion of the season appears slim. I’m guessing that deals were made for high-profile, sure-to-sell-out series to smooth things out for StubHub–and that includes reserving a ton of tickets for opening day.
Yes, it stinks. Yes, it seems that the team is shafting its own fans. But maintaining a pro sports team is expensive. To the front office, any angle is a good angle, I guess.