Thursday, February 22, 2007
That's the email I got from the Mets today. More than a dozen people I know tried and failed to win the right to buy tickets to any of the *four* games offered in this poor choice of method to allocate tickets. It's like the Mets made a conscious decision to prevent average fans from getting Opening Day tickets except through a scalper.
Think about it this way: With a lottery, you guarantee that eBay sellers and scalpers will sign up for the sole purpose of putting the tickets on the secondary market. Since the lottery signup is online, the barrier to entry is tiny (an internet connection and a credit card to buy tickets if you win the lottery) and there are no geographic hurdles (a reseller in Flushing can register as easily as one in Fargo). Because of the low cost of entering the lottery, resellers will enter many, many, many times, lowering the chance that any single Mets fan will win a chance to purchase tickets.
If, instead, every ticket the Mets wanted to sell for these games was put on the auction block, scalpers could still participate, but there would be little profit opporunity for them. That's because fans who want to go to the games would buy tickets at the "market clearing" price. Scalpers could try to bid $51,111,111 for dugout seats, but would be unable to resell them for more.
Using a lottery begs the question: Are the Mets trying to help out scalpers, or are they just too stupid to realize their mistake?