Playoff Baseball Drives Ticket Prices On The Beltway

October 2, 2012

Baseball fans on the Beltway are celebrating like never before! Both the Baltimore Orioles & Washington Nationals have surprised the baseball world and are headed to the playoffs. The ticket market is obviously taking notice, especially in Baltimore.

This season, prices for Orioles tickets averaged $71/ticket, which represents a 15% increase from the $62 average ticket price in 2011. Moreover, with the O's in the grips of a pennant race this season, September to October prices averaged $106 -- a 135% increase from their 2011 average of $45.

Baseball fans know that Baltimore has a rich tradition in postseason play. The Orioles are winners of seven American League Pennants -- 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, and 1983, and have won the Fall Classic three times -- 1966, 1970, and 1983; however, for a team that has not seen playoff baseball since 1997 it’s better to be in the middle of a pennant race than just playing out the stretch. Currently, Orioles Wild Card game tickets are averaging $169 and should they win that play-in game and make it to the American League Divisional Series (ALDS), the average price of a ticket is $185.

And what about the Nationals? With the Nats clinching the NL East, it marks the first time since 1933 that a professional baseball team representing Washington D.C. has won any kind of championship.

While Nats fans are just as eager to watch their team play in October--currently shelling out $189 per seat for NLDS tickets--unlike the Orioles, Nationals ticket prices did not see the same boost during this year’s regular season. In 2011, the average price for a Nats ticket was $37. This year, that price is $41, a small increase of just 11%. Furthermore, during the 2011 September-to-October stretch run, a Nats ticket had an average cost of $38, which surprisingly is the same price of a ticket during this year’s stretch.

Why has there been a larger percentage increase in the average price of a ticket to an Orioles game compared to a Nationals game? It’s the drama of the pennant drive. The Washington Nationals have been leading the National League East Division since the start of the season. On the other hand, the Birds and the New York Yankees have been engaged in a back-and-forth battle as both teams fight for the top spot in the AL East.

Still, when it comes down to it, for fans from two cities that have been starving for playoff baseball, the ticket price is probably not the issue. All these fans care about is that their teams are headed to the playoffs with a chance to play in the World Series, maybe even against each other.

If you want to be there to see some October Beltway Baseball, click here for Orioles or Nationals playoff tickets.