Rays Ticket Giveaway

A recent Tampa Bay Rays ticket giveaway may have uncovered the true price of a seat to a home game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The baseball team found itself in a bit of a PR nightmare after a Sept. 27 home game during which fewer than 13,000 fans turned out to watch the Rays attempt to clinch the second playoff berth in the franchise’s history.

Following the game, slugger Evan Longoria took to Twitter calling the turnout – reportedly the fourth-smallest crowd of the season – “embarrassing.” Soon, phones calls and e-mails from angry fans who couldn’t afford tickets came rolling in.

In effort to make amends, the Rays did something unprecedented, offering 20,000 freebies to fans for a Sept. 29 game and helping to draw a capacity crowd of 36,973 to the stadium.

But while the fans may have been happy about the free tickets, what became of the tickets being sold on the secondary market in the leadup to the game?

TiqIQ, a ticket aggregator website that tracks fluctuating prices and listings on the secondary market, had an answer.

In a Huffington Post blog, TiqIQ CEO Jesse Lawrence explained that while the going rate for Rays tickets to the Sept. 29 game prior to the announcement was $72, they settled off at $30 after.

Still, with so many free tickets available, why didn’t Rays tickets on the secondary market drop to $0?

Lawrence had one idea.

“Maybe sellers who held out on dropping prices to zero thought that, contrary to conventional economic wisdom, 20,000 free tickets would actually create demand – maybe just enough for fans to pay them actual money to see the best team in baseball,” he wrote.