Derek Jeter is just the ticket
Leave it to a Yankee to spotlight the absurdity of Massachusetts ticket scalping and reselling laws.
Shortstop Derek Jeter, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, announced the upcoming season – his 20th in professional baseball – will be his last. Predictably, all seats that were available for the final series at Yankee stadium were scooped up and online prices at resellers skyrocketed. Jeter is an icon, the one everyone points to as representing all things Yankee. Five-time World Champion, post-season MVP, 11-time All Star, captain of one of the most high-profile teams in the history of sports in one of the world’s most famous cities.
But that final series in New York is just the penultimate regular season series. Jeter will end his career on the grass at Fenway Park against his longtime foe, the Boston Red Sox, on September 28. Once word got out that Jeter was retiring, the cost of tickets for that game and that series have spun off into the stratosphere in the time it takes to complete a 6-4-3 double play.
Red Sox individual games have not gone on sale yet but as they have over the past few years, the team has offered a “Double Play Pax,” pairing a hard-to-sell midweek game against a foe such as the Baltimore Orioles with a high-demand game against the Yankees. Sox officials say the package with the September. 27 and 28 games against the Yankees sold out in two hours. There is more demand and higher prices for those games than the Opening Day ring ceremony for the World Champion Red Sox.
But don’t despair; those same tickets will somehow miraculously find their way to your friendly licensed ticket reseller in Massachusetts who will legally charge two, three, even four times as much as face value, because they can. But you season ticket holder or lucky individual who scored tickets early and wants to make a little extra cash? Don’t even think about it because that is illegal. In fact, it is technically illegal for you to resell your tickets even at face value.
TiqIQ , a national clearinghouse for tickets and resellers, said at 2 o’clock yesterday, just before Jeter made his announcement, buyers could score a seat to the final Yankee home game for as little as $26. An hour later, there was nothing available for less than $200 and by last night, the average price for a ticket to the game was more than $1,150.
Ace Ticket also immediately increased their online prices. The reseller nearly doubled the price of Fenway bleacher seats, hiking them from $129 to $249 and a field box went from $275 to $349. Face value for those seats are $40 for the bleachers ($20 for the upper section) and $165 for the field box. Those prices, by the way, are higher than other games because the Sox this year instituted a tiered pricing system that varies cost by opponent and day of the week.
Those tickets appear to already be in the inventory, so it’s hard to fathom what the added costs entailed that justifies the price hike. But it’s doubtful anyone in authority will do anything about it. While Boston police do the occasional crackdown on illegal scalpers (i.e., those who don’t fork over $250 for the right to gouge), there’s little appetite to enforce the reselling laws because of the vagaries of what constitutes legitimate costs. CommonWealth contributing reporter Colman Herman made it a pet project for years to try to shine a light on the situation but he was rebuffed by the courts.
Generally, the thought goes, no one is being hurt because it’s a deal between a willing buyer and a willing seller. The only thing you need is deep pockets to be a willing buyer.
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