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Old 05-06-2018, 05:27 PM   #1
Déjà Bru
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Ticket Prices - Eureka!

Allow me to preface this by giving myself a bit of an excuse for this.

For years (actual calendar years, not in-game season years), I have been playing fictionally, beginning in the Dead Ball Era when dollar amounts were low and the reserve clause was in effect. Starting in 1901, the farthest that I remember ever getting was 1950, well before free agency and big money in Baseball.

This year, however, I decided to go back to my Millennial Era style of play, beginning in 2001. (And I am glad I did because I was really tired of the Dead Ball Era.) I was a bit rusty on the finances, to say the least.

To set my Ticket Price, I was in the habit of checking "across town" at what the other local team(s) were doing. I would look at the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, figuring that I should not be too far away from what they were charging. Playing in the Dead Ball Era, it did not matter too much anyway.

Now it does. I am deep in a hole, my owner hates my guts, and has cut my budget way back. Part of it may be due to the consistent red ink that I was generating!

So I go to check the Mets and they are charging $19.00, up 11.4% over last year. Well, that should mean I can leave my Ticket Price at $15.50, if not raise it a buck or two, no? NO!

What I finally realized is that the AI sets Ticket Price not in a vacuum but in conjunction with FAN INTEREST. They are able to charge top dollar because their Fan Interest is high at this time. For me to even think about approaching their Ticket Price level would be folly indeed.

As I found out when I began to play "What if?" with my Ticket Price. Eureka! Realizing my much lower Fan Interest rating, I found that if I LOWERED my Ticket Price, the boost in attendance would more than make up for it, resulting in higher overall revenue. ALL THE WAY DOWN TO $9.00! Holy Smokes, see the difference for yourself below. Further reductions below $9.00 made projected revenue start falling again but at $9.00 revenue is maximized and may save my bacon in the coming free agency market.

Eureka. Who knew? Yeah, yeah, most of you, that's who.
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:22 PM   #2
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I knew that. Except the part about the diminishing returns at a certain price part. I guess it makes sense but it never occurred to me to try it.
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:35 PM   #3
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It's all about supply and demand. If your stadium starts selling out, bump up the price.
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:37 PM   #4
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Supply and demand is a beautiful thing. The diminishing returns you experienced are a classic aspect of price determination in an open market. Always adjustments.

I just dropped prices a bit to get more butts in the stands in Miami, and now some recent signings have bumped fan interest so much that I may raise prices a bit if the team actually wins some games.

Out of curiosity, why is it that my season ticket sales are surpassing last year's (and the budgeted amount for this year) but my available cash isn't increasing? Maybe it only looks at it when the regular season starts.
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:50 PM   #5
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I know this is digital baseball, but even if they were total dog ****, I cannot imagine the Yankees only drawing 17000 per game.

I realize Football Manager can do this because they have a database of only real world clubs. But it would be nice if when using the MLB or historical play in OOTP you can set minimum, maximum and average attendances to better simulate financial realities of baseball.
I guess you could also have it auto generated for fictional teams based on market size, stadium size and fan loyalty.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudel.dietrich View Post
I know this is digital baseball, but even if they were total dog ****, I cannot imagine the Yankees only drawing 17000 per game.
Remember, this is a fictional league and according to my results so far, my team and I are total dog ****, indeed. So saith my owner who, were I ever to click off the "Cannot be fired" box, would lower the boom instantaneously!

But thanks to this eureka revelation, I may have found a way out of this mess. Money can work wonders, you know.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudel.dietrich View Post
I know this is digital baseball, but even if they were total dog ****, I cannot imagine the Yankees only drawing 17000 per game.

I realize Football Manager can do this because they have a database of only real world clubs. But it would be nice if when using the MLB or historical play in OOTP you can set minimum, maximum and average attendances to better simulate financial realities of baseball.
I guess you could also have it auto generated for fictional teams based on market size, stadium size and fan loyalty.
They came close in 1992 and all it took was 2 straight losing seasons.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1992.shtml
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syd Thrift View Post
They came close in 1992 and all it took was 2 straight losing seasons.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1992.shtml
I came up with 21,589 per game.
So I do stand corrected! Looks like with the right circumstances even the mighty can see low numbers.
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:54 PM   #9
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I'm managing a pretty poor team in 1969 in my fictional league. Our ticket price was $2.25 and we were drawing 6-7,000 per home game. Just about every other team in both divisions (24 teams) had higher prices, so I raised mine to $2.55. After that my attendance dropped to 4,500 per game. When I went back to my old prices, attendance went back up. Since my fan interest is 49, I guess I should have known better. But it is a tricky balancing act.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:58 PM   #10
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There is a long established mathematical connection between team wins and attendance. There’s a nice academic work showing the relationship here.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:05 AM   #11
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I never messed with ticket price before, and actually thought "eh, big deal, raise price make more". Thanks for posting this!
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:11 AM   #12
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Econ 101... optimal pricing is based on the intersection of the supply and demand curves.

In baseball the supply is essentially fixed, so all that shifts the equilibrium point is demand.

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Old 05-07-2018, 12:20 PM   #13
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I'm noticing something in my second go-round; I believe you need to be the commissioner to play "what if" like I did. When I stopped being commissioner, I was told merely to set a Ticket Price by the end of the Winter Meetings. Interesting nuance, there.

[Note: I was incorrect on this; Qeltar has it right, below.]

Either way, I now know to canvass the other teams and look for the correlation between Ticket Price and Fan Interest to gauge my own accordingly. I now see AI teams in my boat, doing as I have done, and I understand.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Déjà Bru View Post
I'm noticing something in my second go-round; I believe you need to be the commissioner to play "what if" like I did. When I stopped being commissioner, I was told merely to set a Ticket Price by the end of the Winter Meetings. Interesting nuance, there.
I think the way it works is that you set an initial ticket price in December for season tickets. That is then fixed until the start of the regular season, when you can adjust the price as you like.

At least, right now in spring training I can't change the price, but I could during the last regular season. Though I noticed it takes time to notice much of an effect.
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Old 05-07-2018, 01:47 PM   #15
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it's a bit more complicated because there are 2 independent factors at play.

season ticket revenue and gate revenue.

selling fewer season tickets does not reduce total attendance. so, if you have high fan interest it is most likely in your best interest to price season tickets at a premium and let gate price catch up as the year progresses.

you can change gate ticket price throughout year, and if you want to maximize earnings, you definitely should do so in any 'winning' year.

projected gate revenue early in the year is usually under-estimated in my experience. if you want to compare year-to-year use the average ticket price, assuming you are trying to sell out each game -- that may or may not be the optimal total revenue, fwiw.

they may have made it to line up, or you may be able to make more money at a different level of attendance. if average revenue per game is higher at end of the regular season, you know you made better choices than the previous year.

most of that assumes ~90-100 fan interest and a consistently winning team. common sense to ramp up/down as needed. may or may not apply to other contexts, or just applied differently.

example: i try to keep the same ~sold out attendance and maximize average ticket price for that level of attendance. i typically double or a few dollars under double of the 'sell-out price' early in season (not opening day=premium). i raise prices throughout year (it never reaches "double" of course) and adjust season ticket prices over the years until i can't squeeze any more out of average ticket price.

maximizing profit is still just an equation mixed with a little speculation, which in a game isn't really speculation:
how many seats lost by increasing season ticket price relative to selling those # of seats at a lower average price deducted from revenue gained from increase etc. requires speculation on future season ticket sales and average price that you can predict far better than the AI with a little observation, i guarantee. just set up low, average, high estimates based on expected wins.

a little calculus to determine optimal attendance and ticket pricing i want a full stadium, so i'm irrational about it.

always test boundaries at which you can charge for a ticket. i don't think i'm more than ~$0-$2 off from baseline ticket price. pretty sure i get up near ~$50 for a playoff/WS ticket, eventually..

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Old 05-07-2018, 06:07 PM   #16
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Ticket price .. all fictional .. I always have tinkered with it.
Usually to squeeze as much money as I can out of it. Heck, every penny counts. But never really know what the magic number should be.
So I usually set it a bit higher than most other clubs.

It would be cool if we could set up "fan promotion days." Things like free bats, t-shirts (ooo now the game needs a built in T-shirt designer !), etc.
Although a hit to the budget, it might give a boost to attendance.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qeltar View Post
I think the way it works is that you set an initial ticket price in December for season tickets. That is then fixed until the start of the regular season, when you can adjust the price as you like.

At least, right now in spring training I can't change the price, but I could during the last regular season. Though I noticed it takes time to notice much of an effect.
You are absolutely right. Apparently, what you set in the offseason is the Season Tickets price. All offseason long, I watched the number of season ticket sales go up. All through spring training, too. As soon as the regular season started, I was freed up to vary the regular Ticket Price again and see the effect on Revenue per Game.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:43 AM   #18
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Good thread. Some stuff in here I didn't know.
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:50 PM   #19
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Several years ago, I sought to change my ticket prices and accidentally left out a decimal point. A ticket was thus in the realm of thousands of dollars. Couldn't change ticket prices during the season in those days, and besides I wasn't paying attention to attendance then as I do now. Anyway, come the close of the season, I discovered that my attendance was pretty close to zero, as you might expect. However, enough people came out to the park, that I didn't do all that badly on overall revenue. Some folks just gotta have baseball no matter what it costs, god bless 'em.
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:03 PM   #20
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Another micro-tip -- if your team normally doesn't sell out but does for opening day, jack the prices before your home opener, then drop them. Going to try that this season.
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