Arkansas offering buy-back program for ticket holders … et-holder/

This is an interesting initiative being announced today by the Razorbacks.

Outstanding article, Matt! Is Arkansas one of many or on the front end of pioneering dynamic ticket pricing in college athletics? I know it’s been done at the professional level for several years; I believe MLB hits the nail on the head for it’s marquee games while you can find great deals to attend a MLB game that might not have as much market value vs lesser opponents or on week nights…

I like this. It will keep the tickets out of other fan’s hands hopefully. Nothing worse than showing up in your section and having an Ole Miss or Auburn person sitting near you!

It is the first I know of that will use Lyte. Chris Freet indicated to me that Lyte has the backing of the Walton family. Its creator had the inspiration to start it after attending the London Olympics four years ago and seeing how bad tickets were being gouged on sites like StubHub.

I do think that Chris is on the leading edge of some of this stuff. He came from Miami where the challenge of getting people to games is much higher because of pro sports, concerts, arts, etc.

They said market value? My wife looked at some Bama tickets and they were way above market value. I haven’t bought a ticket in years so I don’t know the current laws, but I thought it was illegal to scalp tickets.

That’s the sneaky part. UA is the original seller. So they can set the price wherever they want – original or resale. I do that, it’s scalping. They do that, it’s dynamic pricing.

I should reiterate, though, that I think antiscalping laws are dumb. If I have a ticket, and I want to sell it for 50% over list, and somebody is willing to give me that amount, we should be able to make that transaction. Nobody is making him pay me that.

There are visiting fans on our season ticket lists. They buy them every year, use them every other year when their team plays here, and put the rest on Stubhub. There were seats near my old seats in 115 that were occupied by different people every week, and none of them wore Razorback garb. I doubt this program will do much to change that.

A couple of quotes from Nels Popp that didn’t fit into the story. He is considered one of the leading researchers on sport tickets.

“From a broad perspective, what’s really happening is that games are incorrectly priced from an economic standpoint. That Alabama game and that LSU game is probably worth more than Arkansas is selling it for originally. Even though that ticket is priced pretty high, the market will say we’ll pay more. I’ll give you an example: here at North Carolina, the cheapest ticket sold to the Duke basketball game is $107. That seems very high, but the reality is people would pay $250 for that. Technically we should be selling that for more. But when UNC plays East Carolina, they sell that ticket for $50 and it should probably be $20. Football really highlights that. I’m not sure who Arkansas is playing this year in nonconference, but it’s probably asking too much for that ticket. But from an athletic department standpoint, it’s really scary to come out and say that Alabama ticket we’re selling for $150, or whatever the price is, should be $250. I think pro sports are much more willing to examine this and take those huge swings because they are revenue-driven, whereas college athletic departments want revenue, but they also have to be concerned about public image.”

“I think ideally (reselling tickets) is meant to be a purely capitalistic enterprise where supply and demand meet, and that should establish what the price is. Most of these secondary sites do a ticket cut - 6 percent of whatever it is that goes back to the site so they can make money off the exchange. They also have the challenge of authenticating the product and making sure they are what they are. You can pay for tickets on Craigslist, but you don’t know if you’re getting ripped off. I think most buyers are willing to pay a little extra to know they are getting a legitimate ticket.”

Absolutely, flies in the face of econ 101.

I’m not ashamed to say that I occasionally sell some tickets on Stubhub. With what it costs today to even earn the right to buy season tickets, throw on top of that the cost of the tickets, then what you are spending at the stadium with a couple of kids in tow. That number becomes pretty staggering. No shame in recouping some of that so you can continue to support the University and it’s athletics.

Nels Popp is absolutely right. Bama, Ole Miss and LSU tickets are priced way too low, Alcorn State tickets priced too high (even if that is the “season ticket” for Little Rock). If you’re selling most of your tickets on a season basis, that’s a wash; you can price the tickets on the average. It’s the single game tickets that can be more aggressively priced. Or aggressively slashed, if that’s what you need to do to sell them (remaining end zone seats for Alcorn are $35 now).

Just looked up what the ticket office has left for LSU. Lower level tickets, the few they have left (scattered singles), are priced at $85. Ditto for Florida and Ole Miss. Nosebleeds are $55 for those three games. Probably with true dynamic pricing, the lower level seats should be well over $100 for those three games, highest for LSU. They’re still tying Bama tickets to season packages only, so no single game availability yet (that will change as the game gets closer).

My theory is that they need to cut the prices in the nosebleeds even lower. The west deck Saturday was pretty close to full; I saw a few gaps in 500 and 508. Evidently the tickets LTU returned in the northeast UD (I sit below them so couldn’t see them) didn’t come close to selling. They probably should really cut those prices on the returned visitors’ tickets in the upper deck and market them for family outings (bring a family for four for $100!)

I agree. I’m glad they tiered the pricing a bit this year, but I’m not sure it goes far enough. I generally like this buy-back plan. I haven’t studied it, but at first blush, it does seem as though it’d reduce the number of non-hog fans sitting in “our” seats.

As for scalping laws, I have mixed feelings. I have no problem with individuals getting what they can if they want to sell their ticket. OTOH, I don’t want speculators buying large batches of tickets for resale. I’m not sure that’s too much of a problem since the UA’s tickets are mostly bought by foundation donors, but it’s a problem for concerts, etc.

I lived in Texass for 15 years and attended games and concerts there. It was absolutely an issue for concerts; the “ticket agencies” (legal scalpers) would hire kids to stand in line when tickets first went on sale. It’s become more difficult since they went to online sales; Ticketmaster, etc., have developed ways to block automated ticket-buying bots that scalpers use. But from what I see (again, concerts being the big issue) the bots are winning that battle. But if you have to contribute to the RF to get good seats, they’re not going to make enough profit on most tickets to cover that added expense. Maybe you could sell Bama tickets for $300 apiece, but if you spent $400 plus for each season ticket and another $500 on the donation to get them, the economics don’t add up. And if you’re buying a season ticket to get one or two or three attractive games, it still may not add up when you consider there will be little or no demand for La Tech or Texas State tickets.

So, if I read this correct, Arkansas’ athletic department will pay season ticket holders face value OR LESS for their tickets and then will resell them for more then face value if that is the going rate? How is this a great deal for season ticket holders?