Baseball season is fast approaching its 162nd game and regular season conclusion. For the second year, though, four teams will be playing game 163. Since being implemented last season, much has been said about the incongruity of a one-game playoff after a 162-game marathon, and the debate will likely continue as long as it exists. For now, though, 90-plus wins may only be good for one extra game.
Based on ticket prices, fans and sellers are treating the play-in games like a game seven. On average, play-in games have a premium of 77 percent on the secondary market compared to each teams average price for 81 home games. Despite the critics, there’s no question that the play-in game creates a level of excitement and possibility that didn’t exist before it came into existence. This year, the American League is particularly exciting, with three teams that could host the game and five teams that could play in the game. The National League is much cleaner, and the only question is whether the game will be played in Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
Despite that simplicity, the play-in format makes the final series of the season between the Red and Pirates all the more significant. After clinching a play-in spot last night, there's a good chance that the Pirates will play the Reds in a final series of the season for the right to see who hosts the play-in game. MLB schedulers deserve credit on that one, as well as the Yankees-Rays series that starts this week. Despite all the drama and injury of 2013, with a sweep, the Yankees would be right back in the hunt for October.
If the Yankees do get in, they would not be hosting, and we’ve compiled a list of the average price of the Wild Card play-in game for each team and compared that to their regular season average. The results shed some light on what the market thinks could happen, and what fans are willing to pay to see the 163rd, and most important, game of the season.
For detailed breakdown of how playoff contenders prices have changed over the month of September, visit TiqIQ's blog.