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How Hot Are The Winter Classic Tickets?

Don't forget the Winter Classic "Guess Where Joe's Sitting?" Contest continues until December 28.

Pat Hickey over at the Montreal Gazette (through George Malik at mlive.com) makes a comment on the resale ticket prices for the Winter Classic (and no, I will not use the new "branded name," thank you very much):

One reseller, razorgator.com, notes resale tickets in Buffalo cost $115 to $380, with an average price of $196. To date, tickets for the Chicago game have sold for $270 to $1,660, with an average price of $477.

There were more than 900 tickets available through razor-gator.com yesterday, with prices ranging from $270 to $2,106.

Every time there's a sports event with a decent interest, reporters like to take the easy way out by simply looking at the ticket listings over at eBay or StubHub or RazorGator, finding the most outrageous amount, and holding it over our heads with copy that implies, "Look how insane this is!"

Reading copy like this makes the journalism part of me die a little.

Number one: what sellers are asking for tickets is irrelevant. You can ask any price for anything. What matters is actual sales. That's easily found by anyone with an actual eBay account.

As I write this, I can look at what tickets have actually sold for how much. Since the listings include aisle numbers, I can also determine how much the face value of the tickets is.

Number two: If you really want to see what the markup is, look at the percentage markup off the original prices.

There are three pricing levels: $75, $225, and $325.

Looking at the last 35 completed sales on eBay as of this writing, the closing prices range from $385 to $1626

But the profit percentage ranges from a 333% profit on a pair from aisle 121 (field box behind home plate) to three lots that lost money. The worst: someone selling two in aisle 509 (upper deck reserved just past third base in the outfield) at a face of $650 sold for just $535.

But here, for my money, is the most fascinating thing from the data sample. Check out the average ticket sale price and profit per pricing level:

Face Value Average Ticket Average Margin
$75 $229.79 206.39%
$225 $288.11 28.05%
$325 $374.79 15.32%

The "el cheapo" $75 tickets are selling for more than three times their value on average! The other two levels are barely making any profit on the resale market.

So would I describe this as a hot ticket? Absolutely not. Part of that is, I think, a sense that the tickets are "unattainable" when the secondary market is clearly showing that as long as you don't want to sit in the bleachers, you'll pay only a small markup off the face value.

So if you're still thinking of going, but are afraid the scalpers are going to eat you alive, relax. The tickets are out there, and as long as you stay out of the bleachers, you should be fine.