Recently a friend of mine casually asked me how difficult it was to scalp a ticket to a Nationals home game – my off-the-cuff answer was “a lot more difficult than it was a few years ago, but still not terribly tough with a few dollars in your pocket”. My response was more than enough encouragement for him to head down to the ballpark, but the brief conversation got me thinking a bit further: How has the Nationals success the past few seasons affected demand, and thus prices, for their tickets.
I reached out to my friends at TiqIQ, an online ticket agency, and asked them if they might be generous enough to share some of their Nationals data. Luckily, they are readers of NatsGM, and were kind enough to send me the following information on Nationals tickets.
TiqIQ Washington Nationals April Ticket Information
- 2013 April Avg. Price: $37
- 2012 April Avg. Price: $39
- 2011 April Avg. Price: $31
Most Expensive Games (Avg. Price/Get-in Price):
- 4/13 vs. Atlanta: $103/$41
- 4/1 vs. Marlins: $92/$27
- 4/14 vs. Atlanta: $62/$16
Least Expensive Games (Avg. Price/Get-in Price):
- 4/4 vs. Marlins: $21/$3
- 4/10 vs. White Sox $23/$2
- 4/11 vs. White Sox $24/$3
While the Nationals ticket prices rose significantly (and not surprisingly) from 2011 to 2012 ($31 to $39), I am stunned to see the average price of a ticket had dropped from 2012 to 2013 ($39 to $37). These April Nationals ticket prices are 5% less than 2012 and only 19% more expensive than 2011. Certainly the weather was mediocre last month and the Marlins for Opening Day and the first series are not much of a draw, but considering the hype surrounding this season and visits from Atlanta and St. Louis, I am shocked that ticket prices were cheaper year over year for the Nationals in April.
Secondly, I was amazed to see that Opening Day was not the most difficult or expensive ticket for the Nationals in April, as that honor went to the nationally televised Saturday afternoon game against the Braves. While the beautiful Saturday weather and the burgeoning rivalry between Atlanta and Washington should understandably draw a sizable crowd, Opening Day holds a special place in each baseball fan’s heart and with passable April weather that Monday afternoon, I am a bit surprised this was not the most prized Nationals ticket in April and frankly, for the entire regular season.
Finally, I was expecting the average ticket price to be higher than $37, as TiqIQ like most ticket brokers focus on selling more expensive tickets. In a separate conversation I asked them if this was consistent with prices the rest of the season, which they shared was not a trend, as the team’s overall average ticket price is $65, up 55% from 2012. Therefore, as the weather improves and kids no longer have school, prices will get more expensive. This is more consistent with my expectations in general, although considering the big appeal of Opening Day, the Atlanta Braves, and St. Louis, I am surprised ticket prices were so much less expensive in April compared with the rest of the season.
So the grand lessons to be learned from this – attend Nationals games in April and look to buy tickets early in the season for the best values.
Tip of the Fedora to TiqIQ for sharing their information with me – If you are looking for Nationals tickets this season, give these friends of NatsGM a chance to fill your ticket needs.