World Series drives strong fan interest on ticket resale markets

Major League Baseball’s 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals is featuring heightened interest among fans based on secondary ticket pricing and volume.

EBay-owned StubHub, the league’s official ticket resale marketplace, said overall sales volume for Game 1, set to be played October 22 in Houston’s Minute Maid Park, is up 9 per cent compared to the start of last year’s World Series in Boston. The company also reported an 18-per-cent spike in the number of tickets sold on the secondary marketplace for this year’s start to the World Series, with an average ticket sales price of $943.

The spike is even stronger for Games 3-5 of the World Series, slated to be played this coming weekend at Nationals Park in Washington, as that team plays in its first-ever World Series, and Washington gets its first World Series games by any franchise there since 1933. StubHub said the average ticket sales price for Game 3 set for October 25 is 20-per-cent higher than Game 3 last year in Los Angeles, with low-end resale pricing beginning at about $900 per seat.

Similarly, rival ticketing operation SeatGeek, which does not have an official relationship with MLB, said its average ticket sales price for World Series Game 3 in Washington is $1,417 per ticket, with Game 4 right behind at $1,415 per ticket. If those numbers hold, they would track as the company’s most in-demand World Series games in the last five years with the exception of the Chicago Cubs’ run to the 2016 MLB championship, during which some World Series games played at Wrigley Field tracked above $3,000 per ticket on the secondary market. 

SeatGeek has also seen a 15-per-cent boost in demand for Astros-hosted World Series tickets, though the average sales prices there for Games 1-2 in Houston are slightly lower than what they saw when the club was in the World Series two years ago.

The robust local fan interest in the World Series counters a slow, steady ebb MLB has seen in overall attendance, with the league ending the 2019 regular season at a 16-year low. The ticket resale activity also represents a stronger narrative for the league after a series of on- and off-field issues for MLB during the course of the season, including continued questions over the legitimacy of the official league ball.