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Today, MLB Advanced Media and StubHub announced that they’ve renewed their agreement for StubHub to be MLB’s official re-selling marketplace for game tickets. The agreement began in 2007, and under it, MLB received a chunk of cash from StubHub, and folks looking to sell their tickets could use StubHub under the imprimatur of MLB – there was actual coordination between the entities. It was easy, convenient, and allowed folks to get tickets to sold out games … as well as dirt cheap tickets to not-so-sold-out games.

And that last part has been a problem for some teams, including three that decided to opt-out of the StubHub deal, according to a StubHub spokesperson. The Angels, the Yankees, and …

The Cubs.

Yes, the Cubs will not be an official partner with StubHub going forward, but the implications of that decision are somewhat unclear. I’ve done a little digging, and it appears that the biggest beef teams like the Angels, Yankees and Cubs have with the StubHub agreement is the fact that it allowed their tickets to unattractive games to be available for mere dollars, which (1) harms the brand, and (2) makes folks less likely to buy tickets in the primary market (i.e., from the team). Why pay $80 in January for a June game when you can wait until June, and possibly end up paying just $15 on StubHub?

We’ll see how this actually plays out, and I expect quite a few articles on this over the coming days. Will the Cubs align with another reseller like Ticketmaster, and impose artificial ticket price floors? Will the Cubs instead try to become their own secondary ticket market seller (in which they would obviously impose floors, which could theoretically be set at face value)? Will the Cubs simply try to negotiate a floor pricing scheme or better rates with StubHub?

The upshot here is that the Cubs must believe the StubHub deal, as it was constructed, was having a negative impact on the market for their tickets (that is to say, their ability to keep prices at the level they would like), and will now seek out a way to better maximize (or simply protect) the revenues associated with ticket sales.

Can’t really blame the Cubs for taking this route, if they believe they can make more money going at it without StubHub. At the same time, folks who’ve become accustomed to picking up late-season tickets on the cheap are probably going to be unhappy with how this shakes out.

We’ll just have to see what happens.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett,

    Question? Is the edit button ever going to come back. Not the most important thing, but just curious

    • Cubbie Blues

      Not Brett, but from what has been said in the past: It is a function that went away with one of the previous updates to the website. There does not seem to be a food replacement out there.

      • MichiganGoat

        it was a third party app I believe that is no longer supported by the software this site uses, but I’m sure there will never be a “FOOD” replacement but if there is I suspect it will be served at the Wiener Circle.

        • Internet Random

          Beer.

          • MichiganGoat

            Yes please thank you I’ll take a DIPA

        • Cubbie Blues

          The funny part for me is that I was trying to figure out what you were talking about until I finally looked up at my comment. Kind of ironic.

          • MichiganGoat

            Ha but now I am craving a hot fog and a beer

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Unfortunately, to date, that remains the case.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    The people that run this team aren’t stupid. They no people aren’t going to pay full price to see a bad team play pointless games.

    Calm down and step off the ledge.

  • Carolina Cubs fan

    For what it’s worth, the Bears work through Ticketmaster (or, the NFL ticket exchange does), and they charge 10% transactions vs. stubhub’s 15% for the sellers.

    It is interesting to note that the Bears impose a price floor, at the face value of the ticket. I would be shocked if stubhub didn’t have the technical capability to do that as well, so maybe the MLB doesn’t allow it, or the terms with the floor in place are still not good enough for the Cubs vs. doing it themselves.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Copy cat.

      Haha just kidding.

  • cubsklm

    I totally understand this move.

    How in the hell are we going to have the funds to sign next offseason’s crop of recovering Tommy John starting pitchers, or a replacement 3B who can’t hit coming off a wrist injury, or any other “chip we can flip”?

    I d like to create a t-shirt for the Cubs. “Chips 2 Flip”

    How about an update on the new Spring Training Ballpark?

    • baseballet

      You can bet the spring training ballpark will have a jumbotron.

  • Adam

    The problem is no matter what the Cubs try to do, the free market will determine the how many people are willing to attend a Cubs game. To simplify it, If all tickets were priced at $100,000, and 10 people were willing to pay that price, then the Cubs would make $1 million on the game. If tickets were set at $10, and 100,000 people were willing to go to the game at that price (assuming the stadium could hold that many people), then the Cubs would make $1 million on the game.

    Now, from a business perspective, to maximize revenues, the Cubs have to determine what the maximum amount of money the market is willing to spend on each game, and at what maximum price level someone is willing to attend the game at. Of course they will never reach the maximum revenue possible for a game, but its likely that they are looking at this and seeing a huge gap that exist in potential revenue and actual revenue, based on this deal with Stubhub. As Brett alluded to, when the product is not good, folks know they can wait and save a few bucks. The key will be how the Cubs intervene in this market problem.

    I live in Chicago near Wrigley. If a buddy and I had nothing better to do, and the Cubs tickets were a buck on stubhub (no joke), we’d pay the fees and our total would come out to about 6 bucks a person and we’d go to the game.

    If however the cheapest tickets are going to be 20, 25 bucks a piece, plus the Cubs start controlling the handling fees, well, we’re probably not willing to pay that much to go.

  • Jonathan

    If the Cubs intent really is to create a price floor, that is short sighted at best. People will find a way to unload their unwanted tickets through craigs list, ebay, message boards, etc. The way to get the ticket prices up is to increase demand and that can be done by winning. They can bypass stubhub but cannot eliminate the power of internet secondary markets all together.

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  • cubzforlife

    The beauty of stub hubs deal with the Cubs was you could download all the ticket info thru the Cubs. All 81 home games with the ticket #’s for instant sale. I was wondering why Stub Hub has been late in listing MLB games. Previous years they were up by now. This won’t stop crazy cheap prices. Good baseball will. Last year was the first time since 2002 that I saw 1.00 tickets for sale. I’ve been a reseller since 1999 and always profited over cost. Up until last year! Go Cubs!!! I remember in July Crane kenney telling me the Cubs would not hit 3 million in 2012. You can believe they’re paying close attention to attendance.

  • KYCub

    Ricketts greed is showing. Cheap players, higher ticket prices. we are all suckers for this guy. I am not sold they are serious about winning, getting rich is their goal.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah that’s why Ricketts keeps spending money on the top talent for the FO, spending money to expand facilities, and investing in a modern statistical system. He ONLY wants to line his pockets. Its fine to be frustrated with the direction the Cubs are operating but to jump to hyperbole it just ignorant.

      • MichiganGoat

        Bahhhhhhh

        • MikeL

          HUM BUG!!!

      • cubsnivy56

        Not to mention a video system at every minor league ball park that gives all Cubs Managers , Scouts, Coaches access via PC to see every game live or on replay. The daily video highlights from games and practices is put together by the Videographer they hired. And don’t forget about the TWO scouts that provide the in season scouting reports for each series. All new and considered a luxury for the low budget teams.

        • MichiganGoat

          exactly… super cheap Rickey all he wants to do is line his pockets

    • Joe User

      You’re pretty much a wanker.

  • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

    It is simple supply and demand, Cubs are good you get a 100 for a bleacher seat, BAD you get $20.

  • Patrick W.

    Just saw this story on ESPNChicago.com

    Seems to suggest it’s not a done deal, though my bet is that it is.

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/8734587/chicago-cubs-dispute-stubhub-claim-opted-contract-extension

  • Turn Two

    Wow, all the whining and moaning. Unless you think Michael bourne, zack greinke and anibal sanchez are bringing a world series by themselves what are we complaining about here. People want to buy some free agents this year and then some next and some the next. That line of thinking is ridiculous, a rebuilding team uses kids for 90% of the spots and then much further down the road when they see what holes are left they fill with free agents. If bet my lunch Theo is the one holding down payroll not ricketts. Stop the whining and open your eyes to what is happening here.

    • MichiganGoat

      Well said but it won’t stop all the complaining, for some reason Cub fans just need to complain.

  • CM

    So I am a season ticket holder in my third year – yes, my number was called when they were on their way into the trough and have lost money every year. I like that something is being done to protect the season ticket holders who based on current pricing tiers – shell out a considerable amount of money for the tickets. I don’t have a problem with them exploring other options and perhaps even cancelling their arrangement with StubHub (Note: if LA, NY and the Cubs are doing it – all major market teams with deep pockets, they aren’t all wrong).. What I do have an issue with though is that they just haven’t made a decision yet and so here we sit. They must know ( I hope) that season ticket holders don’t go to 81 home games (with many during weekday in afternoon) and therefore large chunks of games need to be moved with friends, family or in the secondary markets. The strongest buying time was last year in December when folks were buying guaranteed (good thing about StubHub) tickets to Cubs games for Christmas presents… and for summer travel plans.

    I also agree with others comments – put a good product on the field and keep prices reasonable….. then everything else takes care of itself. Hard to put out a 100+ loss team, slashed payroll and still some of the highest average ticket prices in all of baseball.. I don’t care what website gets created, when the team is horrible and no one wants to go to the game – the season ticket holders will try and stem their losses and do anything to unload even if it means cannibalizing each other on secondary boards like StubHub. Would rather get $10 than $0… even if the ticket face was $60..

  • Polar Bear

    I guess my confusion starts with the fact that the tickets on stubhub are from season ticket holders who have already paid for tickets? So…where are the Cubs losing money if they sell for $1 or $50? Isn’t it all just extra icing on the cake at that point?

  • Dougy D

    Sounds like a bunch of greedy SOB’s that don’t want someone to get any money for a ticket that they already paid full price for. It is kind of sad that instead of getting people to the games, they just want to be the only ones making any money of of their tickets. Yes, I know, if they still have tickets to sell and someone gets a ticket for $5 that doesn’t go into their pocket, it’s ‘bad’ business. I just hope that when they sell WGN down the river so they can pick up a little extra cash that after a couple of decades they realize that they have created a smaller market for themselves. I guess I will stick going to minor league games, rather than dumping my money at Wrigley to watch a bunch of mediocre and AAA players play ball.

    RANT COMPLETE

    • Dougy D

      Sorry, guys. I just don’t like the tactics that the Cubs as a whole have employed over the years. Remember the tarp over the chain link fence in LF? etc., etc. It just builds up and I need to let it out every once in a while.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Well God forbid that anyone should pay only $15 once in a while in order to watch this crap team lose another 100 games on the cheap.

    • PiattCountyGuy

      Agreed! This is only an issue because the Cubs think that they’re going to have another crappy team. If they thought that they’d win 100 games, instead of possibly lose 100, then they wouldn’t even consider getting rid of the deal. The team is telling it’s fans to take the bad with the good…..why isn’t that philosophy appropriate for the Rickett’s

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I don’t think the Angels and Yankees expect to be bad over the next few years, and they opted out, too. Something to consider.

      • Spriggs

        I don’t think I agree with this. It might be viewed as a backdoor way to increase ticket prices this coming year, but I think it’s also done in large part with the future in mind. When the games are sold out again (let’s say 2015) and tickets are going for a premium, they will have their own share of the secondary ticket market with presumably a better deal in place and a bigger share of the sales (guessing).

        In the short run — and at the risk of fewer fans at the games and upsetting current season ticket holders — they can negate some of the negative images (to their “brand” I guess) that go with $1 tickets available to the public – for everyone to see and joke about. They would like to stop the negative advertising so to speak.

  • DCF

    Exiting the StubHub deal obviously makes sense for the Cubs. They decided to keep tickets prices up, hoping that people will come anyway, but that can’t work if hundreds of tickets fort each game are on StubHub for only a couple of dollars.
    However I’m not sure about the Yankees. Is it just that they have their own deal with ticketmaster, ensuring them a bigger portion of the reseller’s fees?

  • Pingback: Cubs on Opting Out of StubHub Deal: Um, No We Didn’t | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

  • mikec

    I can cast some light on this issue, Brett. The Cubs have stated that they will start their own on-line ticket-exchange site. No details or timing yet. But you can bet they will establishi minimum-pricing floors. Stubhub steadfastly refused to do that, and will continue to refuse to do that. Cubs fans will still be able to buy or sell tickets via Stubhub, which plans to set up a storefront somehwere in the city, very likely in Wrigleyville. Without the Cubs partnership, Stubhub would no longer be able to offer the easy barcode transer from seller to buyer. Also, the fan here who was fretting about when all this will take effect should relax. It is definitely in both the Cubs’ and Stubhub’s best interests to get their operations going well before the season begins. Ameet Sachdev, the Tribune’s excellent business reporter, wrote a brief article the other day, and will tell us more when he knows more. Cynics aside, I expect this will be a good thing overall for sellers and buyers. Two major options instead of one.

  • Pingback: Reselling Tickets on StubHub This Year: Price Floor, Extra Fees, Sale Ending Six Hours Before Event | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

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    • Internet Random

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      Cookie Monster? Is that you?

      • DarthHater

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        • hansman1982

          Ok, this is just confusing now

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