The Cincinnati Reds have been one of the biggest surprise contenders of this baseball season, having last made the playoffs 15 years ago, in 1995. Before this season, the Reds had finished below .500 nine straight seasons, never finishing better than third in the NL Central since the year 2000. This year's success, therefore, much like the success of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, has come as quite a shock to many baseball fans. Winning with a combination of solid hitting, led by MVP candidate and triple crown threat Joey Votto, and with an incredible array of good young starting pitchers, including rookie sensation Mike Leak, the Reds have begun to get their fans excited for the first time in years. And the fans aren't the only ones in Cincinnati feeling the heat of an upcoming pennant race, the players are as well.
Brandon Phillips, the Reds' second baseman, said leading into this week's series against the St. Louis Cardinals: “I’d play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is b**** and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little b******, all of ‘em. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.” This verbal provocation, combined with a tap on the shinguard of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, was all that was needed to begin a bench clearing brawl in the first inning last night in Cincinnati. Although the scrum was the bigger headline after the game, the Cardinals victory was far more important. With that win the Cards pulled into a tie for first place with the Reds, and are poised to take sole possession of first with a win over the Reds today. With all this drama, are fans in Cincy paying a premium for tickets to see their Reds? The answer is yes, and no. Certain indicators point towards higher prices, while others show less of an upward trend.
Over the past week, the Reds are ranked 14th in average ticket price on SeatGeek's new ticket price leaderboard. This hardly constitutes a premium considering the Reds have the 9th best record in the majors, and are tied for the 4th best record in the NL. When we take a closer look at the season long data for the Reds, it becomes more clear that any change in price is minimal. The two graphs below outline the average price of Reds tickets over time, both by date of transaction, and by date of the event for which the transaction took place.