With the exception of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, major league stadiums have been mostly empty over the past week. Not only will the ballparks fill up starting on Friday, but tickets will be coming at a higher price on the secondary market. While the All-Star Break isn’t exactly the baseball season’s halfway point -- roughly 55% of MLB games have been played so far this season -- the mid-July break does give a convenient comparison point for things before and after the game. Such as the All-Star Game “counts,” games in the season’s second-half “count” as playoff races go down to the wire. These games will cost an average of 44.81% more than games did before the All-Star Break on the secondary market.
During the first half of the year, the average MLB ticket cost $54.84 on the secondary market. For games following the All-Star Game through the conclusion of the regular season, the average is currently $79.07. While these games do have the allure of meaning more, throughout most of July and August, MLB is the only major sport in season. The NFL starts some training camps late in the summer, but does not start its regular season until September. The NHL and NBA won't pick up again around October. With warmer weather, MLB games are the top option for sports fans wanting to go to an event during the summer.
The price increases differ by team, but almost every team will see an increase in ticket price from the first half to the second. The Los Angeles Dodgers, with a 4.5-game lead in the NL West, have the biggest half-to-half price increase. Dodgers tickets, which can typically be among the least expensive in the league, have seen a 109.43% increase from the first half to the second -- $44 to $92.15.
The Yankees, coming out of the All-Star Break in first place of the AL East with a 3.5 game lead, have the second biggest half-to-half increase. Yankees tickets increase 101.34% on the secondary market to a second half average of $175.57, which is also the most expensive average in the league. No other team had an increase above 100%, or even 80%. The Detroit Tigers at 78% have the third highest price increase in the league, followed by the Pittsburgh Pirates at 77.82%.
Only two teams will sport a less expensive average for the second half of the season than the first, and it appears preseason expectations have played a part. Many expected the Seattle Mariners to be in the thick of the playoff race, but a disappointing season from second baseman Robinson Cano, among others, and a seven-game deficit for the second Wild Card spot, have doused those expectations with a less optimistic reality. Mariners tickets will be 3.89% less expensive over the second half, with a price drop from $57.36 to $55.13.
After hosting the All-Star Game, the Reds will have the biggest drop in price of all teams. The Reds entered the season stuck in the middle of contending and rebuilding and leave the break 15.5 games back in the NL Central. Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is likely to be traded and rumors have suggested closer Aroldis Chapman and third baseman Todd Frazier could also be on the move. The threat of a fire sale has led the price of Reds tickets on the secondary market to drop 13.89%, from $52.26 to $45.
Though even as most ticket prices increase on average, there will be deals to be had on the secondary market. Ticket prices typically drop before game days, creating opportunities to acquire good tickets at a great price. While the decay of baseball has been constantly predicted, demand to go to the ballpark has gotten even stronger over the next few months.