Pirates Want to Set Record, Will They Follow Yankees Lead


Oct 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Fans arrive through the turnstiles before the National League wild card baseball playoff game between the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates were a hot ticket in the ‘Burgh last season.   Frank Coonelly wants to sell a record number of tickets in 2014.  The team has done very little in the offseason to add talent to the roster, instead relying on a wealth of internal home-grown talent to carry the buzz of 2013 into the season that gets rolling today.

So is there anything else the team could do to assist in Coonelly’s goal?  If you look to the North or West, yes there is.

Today, Jesse Lawrence wrote an interesting story about the topic for Forbes.  The man has some insight into the secondary ticket market as he is the CEO of TiqIQ.com, which is the leading ticket search engine online. Be sure to check out the article if you are interested in the idea of not paying ridiculous prices for tickets to see the Pirates.  After reading his article, it’s easy to understand that StubHub loved the resurgent Pirates.  The ticket giant made mega cash of all of those silly fees they charged fans who bought tickets during the bandwagon stretch run.

But of course marketing ideas always seem a little slower in Major League Baseball.  The Pirates are especially behind in any sort of forward thinking this year as their Marketing Director position is still not filled.  Leading the way on improving how their fans can purchase or sell tickets are the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels, a team that is always savvy in their marketing approach.

Here are a few lines from Lawrence’s article this morning.

"While branded exchanges have been around at a league level for several years–through the NFL, NHL and NBA Ticket Exchanges and FlashSeats–the Yankees and Angels ticket exchanges have taken the model one step further by putting the team brand, and all the credibility that comes along with it, in front of the secondary market. Based on data from year one, the exchanges are off to a good start. Last season, the average number of per-game listings for Yankees tickets on Stub Hub dropped 40%, from 7,000 to 3,000 across the entire Yankees Stadium seating chart.  For those that used the Yankee Ticket Exchange, they not only paid less in fees, but they also got tickets from real season ticket holders who weren’t in the business of making money on ticket sales, but were just looking to unload games they couldn’t use, and recoup some of their investment"

Pittsburgh has an increasing number of people that want to see the Bucs without being stressed out about whether they’re getting ripped off, or if the ticket is real or not.

Here is the bottom line.  The Pirates want to sell a record number of tickets this season.  Everything the organization does should be about reaching this goal.  Look, sales cures all.  It’s been a mantra of mine forever.  The Pirates need every penny and also must do their fair share in order to increase ticket sales.  It’s their survival.  Everyone knows that Pittsburgh wont be able to buy players like the Yankees do.

So is having an innovative (well not really), but is having an improved ticket exchange system in place to assist in the sale of tickets really too much to ask?  We think it would only help them reach their record setting goal.