Friday, April 14, 2017

Report: Average LMB ticket price rises 27.4% in 2017

Your professional sports league is returning after a 2016 season marked by declining attendance, with two teams giving up the ghost altogether and moving to new cities last November.  Some of your teams are playing in decaying or undersized (or both) facilities.  Your offseason gains attention primarily for the acrimony among franchise owners that nearly leads to a total shutdown for the next season.  Your sport itself has been losing ground steadily to soccer as the preferred spectator sport in most of your nation.  So what do you do to apply a tourniquet and stop the bleeding?

According to Yesme Cortes of El Economista, if you're the Mexican League of Professional Baseball Clubs, you raise your single-game ticket prices and average of 27.4 percent.

The Mexico City-based financial newspaper has published its sixth annual report of ticket prices in the Mexican League, where nine of the loop's 16 teams saw their season attendance drop in 2016.  The average price of a single-game ducat among 13 teams across the league in 2017 is 108.3 pesos (US$5.83), an increase from 85 pesos (US$4.57) in 2016.

The highest average ticket in the LMB is  in Leon, where the Bravos will charge an average of 300 pesos (US$16.15) when they open the renovated Estadio Domingo Santana against the Mexico City Diablos Rojos on May 18 after playing their first five series away from home.  At the bottom end of the scale, it only costs an average of 45 pesos (US$2.42) per game to catch the Oaxaca Guerreros at Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos.  Three teams are collecting an average of 70 pesos (US$3.77) at the gate per opening in 2017: Campeche, Quintana Roo and Tijuana.  Figures for average ticket prices in Durango, Monclova and Saltillo were not used in the survey.

Here is a graphic from El Economista of the average ticket price for all Liga clubs in 2017 that was reprinted on the Puro Beisbol site:

To do your own conversion into US dollars, simply divide the listed price by the MX$18.58 per US$1 currency exchange rate at the close of business on Thursday, April 13.  The figures at the bottom of the page are the ones applied to the survey while those surrounding the depiction of a ballpark are for opening night or series tickets, which are often higher than average.

First, to those marvelling at the relatively low prices to attend a Class AAA baseball game in the Mexican League, note that (as shown above) the Mexican economy is struggling in comparison to the United States.  The GDP per capita in the States is US$45,965 while Mexico's GDP per capita is $9,747.  One result is that people south of the border typically don't have the kind of disposable income as their North American counterparts.

Some LMB teams actually lowered ticket prices to lure more fans to home games.  The Veracruz Rojo del Aguilas, for instance, lowered average ticket prices from 150 pesos to 100 pesos per game.  To their credit, the Tijuana Toros (who were second in the Liga in attendance last year) brought their average prices down from 150 pesos to 70 in 2017 even though they had no problem bringing people out to the ballpark.  However, the decision to raise ticket prices from 66.66 pesos to 180 pesos in Puebla after the champion Pericos were essentially dismantled after a season during which the team finished in the middle of the pack in the attendance derby.

National economic disparities aside, how many businesses responding to the loss of paying customers by hiking their prices come out ahead?  We'll all find out over the next five months.