It was quite reasonable, after three consecutive losing seasons, that the New York Mets might lower ticket prices next season. After all, they'll be lowering payroll. But they've now done something even more interesting: They're using dynamic pricing for tickets. This should get interesting.
Next year, the Mets are, essentially, going to be changing the prices of their tickets depending on how many people want to go to their games. If they're playing the Padres on a Tuesday afternoon in July, the tickets will be cheaper. If they're playing the Phillies in September and are just one game back, they'll be more expensive.
"We have a sense going in that an early or a late midweek game isn't as desirable as a summer weekend game — peak vs. off-peak, so to speak — and the reality is as you get into the season things happen," said Dave Howard, Mets executive vice president for business operations. "Sometimes marketplaces will tell you that you probably should reduce this price even further, or you probably can raise the price here because the demand is very high because you have a key pitching matchup in a critical game. It just allows us to make real-time adjustments based on those factors."
Now that sounds great and all — and several other teams do this throughout professional sports — but it's worth noting that, if the Mets have collapsed in August and are 30 games under .500 ... it's still going to be cheaper to get tickets from StubHub. That's because the Mets don't want to anger season ticket holders who paid full price for their ticket; no matter what, the price of a ticket will never go below what a season ticket holder paid. So don't expect to ever be paying five bucks a ticket from Mets.com. In fact, even though ticket prices are lower across the board next year, this is more likely to allow them to raise the price of an individual game's tickets to a higher level than to lower it to the sort of legitimate bargain you can get from StubHub.
Eventually, they're gonna try to get around that too; teams (and concert venues) are attempting to use something called "restricted paperless ticketing," which would require you to have an ID with you that proves you are the legal renter — rather than the owner — of a ticket. This would give teams more power to profit from resellers, and make deals like $5 for a September game far less prevalent. (The Fan Freedom Project has documented this practice and is working in the courts to try to stop it.) That's not what the Mets are doing here ... yet. But it's the first step toward it. Keep an eye out.
Also, if you're brave enough to still be buying season tickets when the secondary market brings you so many deals, you have to re-up this year by November 7. You're probably not gonna know if Jose Reyes is gonna be back by then.