Variable pricing has long been a practice used by airlines in regard to selling airplane seats. Now the practice appears to heading to American professional baseball.
The New York Times says that the San Francisco Giants are experimenting with variable pricing, using "software that weighs ticket sales data, weather forecasts, upcoming pitching matchups and other variables to help decide whether the team should raise or lower prices right up until game day."
The story also says that, "The Giantsâ'' dynamic pricing experiment affects 2,000 of the 41,000 seats at the stadium. The team chose four sections in the upper deck in left field with 1,200 seats and three sections in the left-field bleachers that typically are among the last to sell."
When demand is low, the seats might sell for as little as $5. The hope is that the price will still attract fans who will spend money on food and merchandise. The average Giant fan spends $22 on those items.
When demand increases, say over the weekend against a good team, the seat price may rise to $30 or more.
The Times story says the new policy seems to be meeting with fan approval so far.
Currently, the Giants are in second place in the National League West standings, 7.5 games behind the LA Dodgers. It would be interesting to see how this would work with a poorly performing team, like my home team the Washington Nationals.