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What are the Most Expensive MLB Playoff Tickets?

Cleveland Indians
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Of all the teams in the postseason this year I cannot believe this city’s is the most expensive.

1. Cleveland Indians
Premium: 697%
Division Series avg. price: $461
W-L record: 92-70 (7th best)
Last World Series appearance: 1997

The Indians were perhaps the biggest postseason surprise – peeling off 10 straight wins to end the 2013 campaign, just enough to push them into a Wild Card slot. Cleveland fans are clearly excited to see their team play. Tickets for the Division Series are priced at a nearly 700 percent premium to the team’s average regular season price – by far the most of any team. Between 2000 and 2012, the Indians made the postseason just twice, with their last appearance coming in 2007. Fans lost some interest in an often mediocre team during that time as well. While the Indians had a streak of 455 straight sellouts between 1995 and 2001, they were the single worst team in baseball at filling seat capacity this year, selling barely 45 percent of their tickets.

Pittsburgh Pirates
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2. Pittsburgh Pirates
Premium: 532%
Division Series avg. price: $322
W-L record: 94-68 (5th best)
Last World Series appearance: 1979

Pittsburgh is slated to go to the postseason for the first time since 1992, and fans are willing to pay for the rare opportunity to see their team contend. The average ticket price for the Division Series is expected to be 532 percent higher than the average price for a ticket in the regular season, rising from $51 to $322. The team came fairly close to breaking the drought in recent years, but a disappointing end to its 2011 season, followed by a monumental collapse towards the end of the season last year, dashed those hopes. However, the combination of new players, and the development of the team’s own talent, were among the factors that helped Pittsburgh finally make the postseason this year.

Cincinnati Reds
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3. Cincinnati Reds [ELIMINATED LAST NIGHT]
Premium: 234%
Division Series avg. price: $150
W-L record: 90-72 (11th best)
Last World Series appearance: 1990

This year marks the third time time in four years that the Cincinnati Reds have made the postseason. While the Reds charged less than any other postseason team for regular season games, Division Series tickets will be far more expensive. The average ticket price is expected to rise by more than 234 percent over the regular season ticket. While three teams from the NL Central will go to the postseason this year – Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis – Cincinnati was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to Pittsburgh last night.

Boston Red Sox
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4. Boston Red Sox
Premium: 227%
Division Series avg. price: $329
W-L record: 97-65 (tied-the best)
Last World Series appearance: 2007

After a sustained run of successes that included two World Series titles during the last decade, the Red Sox missed the postseason for three straight years from 2010 to 2012. The team finished last year with the worst record in the AL East. Following that, the team let go of its second manager in two years and also traded three of its top players. The Red Sox then rebounded to post the best win-loss record in baseball this year, tied with the Cardinals. Fans are willing to pay to see their team’s newly rediscovered success. No team has a higher average ticket price for the Division Series than the Boston Red Sox, whose fans will pay $329 per seat. This is a premium of 227 percent over the regular season ticket price. Regular season prices were also quite high this year, with the average ticket costing more than $100 – partly due to Fenway Park’s low capacity of just over 37,000 seats.

Oakland Atheletics
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5. Oakland Athletics
Premium: 203%
Division Series avg. price: $167
W-L record: 96-66 (tied-3rd best)
Last World Series appearance: 1990

The Oakland A’s had one of the best records in baseball in 2013, despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the game. Similarly, in 2012 the A’s made the postseason with the lowest payroll in all of baseball. The team’s manager, Billy Beane, has become so successful at producing results without star players or a large budget that a book and movie – both titled “Moneyball” – have documented his success. But despite the team’s use of advanced statistical analysis and its ability to find players who deliver value at a low price, Oakland continues to struggle to draw fans. Just under 64 percent of the stadium’s capacity was filled for the average home game, less than half of all teams. The stadium, O.Co Coliseum, was recently referred to as “a pit” by commissioner Bud Selig, and raw sewage has flooded the stadium’s dugouts twice this season.

Los Angeles Dodgers
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6. Los Angeles Dodgers
Premium: 213%
Division Series avg. price: $168
W-L record: 92-70 (7th best)
Last World Series appearance: 1988

The Los Angeles Dodgers started the year with the highest payroll in the National League but had a losing record for much of the year. Eventually, however, the team turned around its performance to clinch the NL West title, with Cuban rookie Yasiel Puig receiving much of the credit for the team’s stunning reversal. TiqIQ’s Lawrence says Puig was responsible for driving fans to attend games, comparing fans’ excitement for the outfielder to “Fernandomania” – the enthusiasm over Venezuelan pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in the early 1980s. The Dodgers filled over 82 percent of seats at home games this year, and led the MLB in drawing fans at away games.

Tampa Bay Rays
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7. Tampa Bay Rays
Premium: 185%
Division Series avg. price: $154
W-L record: 92-71 (9th best)
Last World Series appearance: 2008

The Rays return to October baseball for the fourth time in six years after defeating the Texas Rangers in a one-game tiebreaker. Unfortunately, for all the team’s new-found success, fans have never really caught on. The Rays finished last in attendance for the 2013 season, with an average of just 18,645 fans per game, failing to fill even 55 percent of their seats. However, the team will be able to boost prices somewhat for fans flocking to catch the Rays play deeper into the fall. The price of a ticket is slated to rise 185 percent from the regular season average should the Rays advance to the Division Series.

St. Louis Cardinals
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8. St. Louis Cardinals
Premium: 114%
Division Series avg. price: $124
W-L record: 97-65 (tied-the best)
Last World Series appearance: 2011

The Cardinals came within one strike of losing the 2011 World Series, only to turn around and win the series in the decisive Game 7. But following their victory, the Cardinals lost star first baseman Albert Pujols – one of the best players in their history – to the Los Angeles Angels. Longtime manager Tony La Russa also left the team, deciding to retire. But even without their star player and former manager, the Cardinals have made the postseason for two straight years. The fans remain deeply loyal as well. Only one other team, the San Francisco Giants, filled a higher percentage of seats during the 2013 season.

Atlanta Braves
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9. Atlanta Braves
Premium: 103%
Division Series avg. price: $106
W-L record: 96-66 (3rd best)
Last World Series appearance: 1999

In past years, the Atlanta Braves were regular contenders, winning their division in every year between 1995 and 2005. But since then, the team has frequently missed the postseason. This year, the team overcame injuries to several key players to win the NL East title for the first time in eight years. Despite the team’s success, fans have not been especially interested. Just over 63 percent of Turner Field’s seating capacity was filled at an average game, ranking 21st out of 30 teams.

Detroit Tigers
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10. Detroit Tigers
Premium: 70%
Division Series avg. price: $103
W-L record: 93-69 (6th best)
Last World Series appearance: 2012

The Detroit Tigers were swept out of the 2012 World Series by the San Francisco Giants, losing every game and posting a batting average of just .159. This year, the team won its division for the third consecutive season behind third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is possibly the best hitter in baseball today and may soon win his second consecutive MVP award. Tickets to go to the team’s Division Series games will cost just over $100 on average, only a 70-percent premium to the average regular season ticket price. The team’s continued success may partly be the reason for the fairly low premium. TiqIQ’s Lawrence noted that teams with a longer postseason track record tend to charge lower premiums than newcomers.

[Tipiq]

 

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