Monday, February 25, 2013

The Ticket Price Dilemma

There are tickets and there are seats, and surely prices to go along with them. Various sports handle this question differently. In American Football there is generally one price , 8 home games does not leave a lot of space for supply to outreach demand, even at the highest prices. American Baseball has the exact opposite problem as American Football. With 82 home games, and over 40,000 seats per game, it leaves a lot of space to throw in the bobble-head deal. Then somewhere in-between are even more interesting problems, European Football [19 Home Matches], America Soccer [17 Home Matches], North American Hockey [41 Home Games]

Each Sport has its own approach to setting ticket prices. American Football charges a lot of money, because each game relatively speaking will get the same draw of people. National Hockey fans uses a supply and demand of the opponent to gauge the price of the ticket. The winning percentage of the opponent generally causes the price of the ticket, the assumption is that the game will be quite boring. This also follows suit in baseball, where just until recently a person could buy a ticket for as low as a dollar (thank you bobble head day at Nationals Park). What is truly interesting is the European system of setting ticket prices. Teams charge more for how they believe teams will finish at the end of the year. Below is Liverpool's fee schedule 

Category A games: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United £48.00
Category B games: West Ham, Reading, Aston Villa, QPR, Sunderland, Norwich City, Fulham @ £44.00
Category C games: Swansea City, WBA, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic, Southampton @ £42.00

What is interesting is how wrong those projections were.

Rank Team Points Cat
1 Manchester United 68 A
2 Manchester City 56 A
3 Tottenham Hotspur 51 A
4 Chelsea 49 A
5 Arsenal 47 A
6 Everton 42 A
7 West Bromwich Albion 40 C
8 Liverpool 39 -
9 Swansea City 37 C
10 Stoke City 33 C
11 Fulham 32 B
12 Norwich City 32 B
13 Newcastle United 30 A
14 West Ham United 30 B
15 Sunderland 29 B
16 Southampton 27 C
17 Wigan Athletic 24 C
18 Aston Villa 24 B
19 Reading 23 B
20 Queens Park Rangers 17 B

Think about the bargain the West Brom game was, or for that manner the Swansea match (who went on to win the Capital One League Cup this past Sunday). The pricing makes sense for those in A, even if Everton was about to be relegated they will always be an A (local rivals).

Manchester United : The Best Show in Town
As shown above, we can see that Manchester United started to run away with the league, but are people coming out to watch them more than other teams?

Its likely that most teams are selling out anyway. The line going across the plot demonstrates an equal proportion, meaning Manchester United sold as many tickets as the averages of other matches. Anything above the line means Manchester United attracted more spectators than other matches. So it does look like people want to come out and watch Manchester United.

Above is some baseball analysis, a very easy one to do. It takes into consideration the days in which a team plays as well as the opponent. I like to show the Rays, because when the Yankees come into town their attendance suddenly sky-rockets, but when they played the Washington Nationals last year, the attendance was surprisingly low, and both teams made the playoffs! Albeit the Yankees are a well known playoff team, and the Nationals had one heck of a run last year.

I'll close this post with a conversation I had with my father about this very topic. I explained how ticket prices depends on a lot of factors (including the weather). I recall his exact words 'Well that isn't fair, why isn't it always the same price?'. Well... the ticket pricing works two ways, it allows me to get a bobble head for a dollar, but also means I have to pay extra when the phillies come into town [for those unaware Philadelphia is a about 2 hour drive to Nats park, it tends to attract Phillies Fans]. A low ticket price allows casual fans the chance to watch a game at a lower than average price ticket. It would be an interesting argument to make, that Dynamic Ticketing increases the popularity of sports, and has created an event at the ballpark instead of just the sport.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


It goes without saying, but Liverpool have been all but a success a this year. As my beloved Reds sit in 7th, behind Everyone, Arsenal,Tottenham,Chelsea,Man City and Man United, all of which have a game in hand. Most fans would agree that Liverpool are 'playing' better, but subjective words always sound good because we can grasp on them with hope instead of having our dreams crushed by some matter of fact number. The question really is; are Liverpool actually doing better.

Cups and Leagues:
Competition | Finished Last Season | This Season

Capital One Cup : Won | Out in Round 4 to Swansea
FA Cup : Loss to Chelsea in Final | Out in Round 4 to Oldham
Barclay Premier League : 7th | 7th
Europa : NA | Second Round

On the same day last year, Liverpool had played a total of 34 games, this year that total was 43. To say that Liverpool needed a striker was an underestimate. Liverpool's attack ranked 11th last season, and so far this year they are 5th, while their defense ranked 3rd and now ranks 8th. So although the 'Possession' style football may have increased the total number of goals, it seems to be leaving a lot more holes in the back. This is quite surprising, since Skrtle and Agger are some of the best top class strikers in the world.

Liverpool seem to fall apart in the second half. If the game only consisted of 45 minutes, Liverpool would rank 4th in the league. They also fail to recover from a goal; when Liverpool's opponents scores first they average only .6 points from those matches (1 win 3 draws 6 loses).

Liverpool scores there goals in the latter half of the game. There peak goal proportions is around the 60th. What is also interesting is Liverpool's inability to score a late goal.

Daniel Sturridge has scored the 3rd amount of goals in 5 games with Liverpool. His four goals puts him behind Suarez (18) and Gerrard(7) but with not nearly the amount of games. Liverpool received more goals, but more goal scorers.  Suarez only trails Robin Van Persie for the Golden Boot (and he only trails by one goal). Sturridge definitely helped this, during the barrage against Swansea Sturridge created a lot of chances.

So a year later, and Liverpool are in the same ranks. I've lived by an old saying 'If you aren't getting better you are only getting worse'. Its true for Liverpool as well. The 'hope' began to show its true head, and it does not look great for Liverpool.

JonJo Shelvey has failed to produce. An I'll be honest, I never really thought he would. If it was not for the show 'Being Liverpool' I would have never expected Brendan Rodgers to select the young lad. In prior years he was always way to eager to take a shot. He has terrible ball handling skills, which is very uncharacteristic of a Rodgers player.
Raheem Sterling had the world on his shoulders and stood tall, but never threw the world off.  He simply played to get the minutes, or so it appeared. He always played it safe, never going for an aggressive run to score, or to prove himself. At the same token he never really made a massive mistake.

Jordan Henderson looks great on the pitch. He moves the ball well, and a has a solid shot. He looks like a future liverpool star.
Stewart Downing never deserved the hate. He may not be the goal scorer most people expected him to be. However, Downing holds the ball well and leads for a lot of set ups. He should be able to continue to be a star.