Astros not asking cheap prices to watch cheap team

It’s no secret that the 2013 Houston Astros will have the lowest payroll in the entire major leagues at around $25 million. But what is amazing is that the ticket prices to watch this low-dollar talent will raise many an eyebrow.

According to an article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle last weekend, curiosity-seekers who want to be the lucky fans to watch the team play in their first American League game in the franchise’s long history, will have to dig deep into their wallets to make it happen.

Apparently Astros President George Postolos believes that the prices for the Houston Astros-Texas Rangers regular-season opener March 31 “are a reflection of demand and the club’s increased emphasis on dynamic pricing—a strategy in which pro teams price games differently throughout the season and charge more for high-profile opponents on premium dates,” according to the Chronicle.

“Dynamic pricing makes the biggest difference when you have a major event, and we have a major event at the start of the 2013 season,” Postolos claims. “We’ve been doing this for a couple of years. But people really haven’t noticed before because we haven’t had a game like this.”

What the team president is saying in between the lines is “we’re gonna gouge you naive fans whenever we feel like we can get away with it.”

In last year’s home opener against the Colorado Rockies the Astros charged $92 for the most expensive seats at Minute Maid Park. The opener was one of two games to sell out for the Astros in 2012. The other was against the Texas Rangers in May.

The Astros are charging $130 for both the Dugout and Club Level 1 sections of Minute Maid Park for the March 31 nationally-televised match-up against the Texas Rangers which normally sell for $56 and $58, respectively.

The Crawford Boxes that normally are $37 will cost $100 for the home opener, the $41 Field box will go for $90 on March 31 and the Terrace, which usually costs $23, will jump to $52 for the game against the Rangers.

The Astros attempt to rationalize by saying the March 31 high ticket prices are similar to how other teams charge more for their home openers.

They point out that baseball’s other 100-loss club last season—the Chicago Cubs—are charging $114 for their most expensive seats, which can run as low as $60.

But the Astros point out emphatically that although they aren’t increasing single-game prices this season, they will use dynamic pricing more often in 2013 and in all areas of the stadium for the first time.

When the Yankees come to Houston in late September, prices will be higher in all seats except the outfield deck, with the top ticket going for $73, compared to the base price of $56 for other games. Other games with the Rangers will be at the same scale as well, depending on the day.