NFL Revenue Up With Dynamic Pricing

National Football League teams using dynamic ticket pricing this year are already reaping the benefits, with some teams seeing double-digit increases in single-game ticket revenue, according to ESPN. 

Photo: AP Photo/John Bazemore, File
The camera captures a sea of empty seats after the second half of an NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome Sept. 29. Fan attendance at NFL games is reportedly down while TV ratings remain strong. Also, the Falcons stink this season.

About one-fourth of the NFL’s teams are rolling out dynamic pricing this season, though the league initially resisted it. Other pro sports, including Major League Baseball, have been using the method for resetting single game ticket prices depending on demand for as many as five years.

One team exec, who did not want to be identified, told ESPN his club’s single-game revenue was up 35 percent, good for several millions of dollars for that team. St. Louis Rams exec Jake Bye told ESPN about 10 percent of his team’s seats are dynamically priced, and revenue increase has been “significant.” Using a Nov. 15 game against the Chicago Bears as an example, Bye said prices for lower-level seats have been readjusted three times. A 20-yard-line ticket originally sold for $134.

It rose to $168 on Aug.1, to $210 on Sept. 1 and $222 on Oct. 12. Ticketmaster advises teams using its pricing analytics. Team owners contacted by ESPN unanimously said they would not price tickets below face value of season tickets, regardless of how low demand may be. Many teams have no problem selling out their season tickets packages, and could sell every seat in the house as a season pass if they chose to. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one such team that holds back a small allotment for dynamic pricing, and the Seattle Seahawks offer less than 3 percent of its seats under its plan.

One reason for the NFL’s reluctance to implement dynamic ticket pricing has reportedly been a concern among season-ticketholders that they could somehow end up paying more for their seats than others if the single-ticket pricing variable dropped below that value, as has happened on the secondary market. But NFL staff argue that dynamic pricing can be a good marketing tool for season ticket renewals.

By being able to charge significantly higher prices for in-demand single games, teams can show what a deal ticketholders actually get by renewing. Using the Rams ticket example, that 20-yard-line season ticket cost $114, about half what the single-game ticket is currently selling for.