February 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Tigers ticket costs will constantly fluctuate; here's where prices start

Detroit – Tigers single-game tickets go on sale Saturday, March 1, at 10 a.m.

And fans might be wise to buy them then – because two days later, many prices will be going up.

Taking a page from the airline and hotel industries, among many others, the Tigers in 2014 will introduce dynamic ticket pricing. That means the face value for tickets will regularly fluctuate based on the demand of each game.

The Tigers will start adjusting prices Monday, March 3 – and will continue to do so right through the first pitch for each of their 81 home games.

“Dynamic pricing is based on consumer demand and generally affords fans who buy early to save more,” said Duane McLean, executive vice president of business operations for the Tigers.

“With dynamic pricing, you could see the value of ticket prices increase and decrease based on demand.”

Prices are expected to go up much more than they go down this season.

For starters, the Tigers are among the most popular teams in baseball, topping 3 million fans in four of the last seven seasons, including the last two. They’re expected to be good again in 2014, contending for a fourth straight American League Central championship.

Plus, while there is no ceiling for how much ticket prices can rise based on the demand – for instance, it will surprise nobody if the final price ends up more than doubling the starting fare for that marquee series with the Red Sox on the weekend of June 6-8 – they never will drop below what season-ticket holders pay. Season-ticket holders pay as much as 35 percent less than the single-game starting prices.

“Season tickets are not affected by dynamic pricing,” said McLean, “and continue to offer the most significant savings.”

Many pro and college teams have taken in recent years to tier pricing. Under that system, the teams project before the season what games will be the hottest tickets, then set the price accordingly. The Tigers have done that the last few years, offering three different price ranges in 2013.

They again will offer three price ranges for 2014 – premium, regular and value – but the difference is, those only will be the starting prices.

The University of Michigan is among the teams that utilizes dynamic pricing, for football and basketball. Like with the Tigers, U-M will not drop the prices below what season-ticket holders pay. The Lions, Pistons, Red Wings and Michigan State still use set or tier pricing.

Dynamic pricing has been coming on strong to Major League Baseball, which long has had – and will continue to have – an affiliation with StubHub, the king of the secondary-ticket market. This way, though, the teams figure to see more of the profits from the inflated sale prices.

The Tigers estimate as many as three-quarters of MLB’s 30 teams will have dynamic pricing in 2014.

The Tigers will rely on an Austin, Texas-based Internet company, Qcue, to constantly be spitting out tickets prices the market can bear, based on supply and demand. There, of course, are a wide variety of factors that play into demand, including the time of the year, day of the week, weather, the quality of an opponent, plus the ballclub’s promotional giveaways – and the Tigers have some gems planned again this year, including the uber-popular 1984 replica road jerseys (Monday, June 30).

While, again, they are subject to change, the Tigers have announced their starting ticket prices for individual-game seats – and, as expected, given their recent success and the maintaining of a high payroll (over $150 million), there are increases almost all across the board.

Some high-end seats will start at $5 more than a year ago, for the premium games. Only two low-end sections, the skyline and upper reserved, were spared an increase, at least in starting price.

The Tigers’ two new sections – as part of the renovated Pepsi Porch – will start at $30 for the stadium-style seats, and $9 for the Jungle bleacher seats. There were no tickets under $12 last year.

The Tigers said Friday afternoon they expect their average ticket price for 2014 to be in the $31 range, which would put them between 12th- and 14th-highest in MLB. Last year, it was $29.54, or 13th.

Movin' on up!

The Tigers will put individual-game tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 1. They can be purchased at the Comerica Park box office or tigers.com, or by calling (866) 66-TIGER.

Here is the starting ticket structure for Tigers single-game tickets in 2014 (premium/regular/value), with last season’s prices in parentheses.

LOWER DECK

On-deck: $95/87/78 ($90/85/77)

Tiger den: $90/82/73; ($85/80/72)

IF box: $70/62/53 ($65/60/52)

Terrace: $63/55/46; ($58/53/45)

OF box: $55/49/40 ($52/47/39)

Baseline box: $46/40/31 ($43/38/30)

RF grandstand: $39/33/24 ($36/31/23)

Pavilion: $29/23/20 ($26/21/19)

Bleachers: $26/20/18 ($23/18/18)

Kaline’s Corner: $26/20/18 ($23/18/18)

UPPER DECK

Club seats: $44/38/34 ($41/36/33)

IF box: $38/32/27 ($35/30/26)

LF box: $38/32/27 ($35/30/25)

RF box: $38/32/27 ($35/30/26)

Pepsi Porch*: $57/TBD/30 (N/A)

Baseline box: $33/27/22 ($30/25/21)

Mezzanine: $28/22/19 ($25/20/18)

Reserved: $24/19/16 ($24/19/16)

Skyline: $20/15/12; ($20/15/12)

Standing room: 19/17/15; N/A

Jungle bleachers*: 17/12/9; N/A

* New sections of seating for 2014

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and center fielder Austin Jackson joke around on Friday in Lakeland, Fla. / Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News
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