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Posted by Willy Franzen on February 21, 2012. Positions below updated every five minutes.
As of today pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training for every team except for the White Sox, Marlins, and Rangers. Baseball is here, and I couldn’t be happier. Last year I went to games at Wrigley, U.S. Cellular, and Yankee Stadium, and every time I paid under face value for my tickets. How’d I do that? I use StubHub and wait until 3-4 hours before the game starts and buy while people are trying to dump tickets that will soon be worth nothing. Markets work best when you have many buyers and sellers, and that’s why I’m able to get such good deals. The big loser in all this is the original ticketing agent. Because their prices are set many months in advance, they can’t react to market conditions. Usually they end up sitting on a ton of unsold tickets, but even when an event sells out, they lose. If they had priced properly, they could have extracted much more value out of the tickets (instead the scalpers get the surplus value). Yesterday, I read an article about how a company called Qcue is changing all of this. They’re based in Austin, TX, and they’ve developed technology that helps teams price their tickets dynamically.
After reading the article about how the Cubs have decided to use Qcue, I wasn’t sure if this was good news or bad news for me. Considering that Qcue’s home page advertises the stat that 50% of tickets never get sold while 10% sell for twice face value, I think it’s good news (but I could be very wrong). Qcue’s software should make it so that you are more likely to get cheap tickets directly from the box office. And even when you do pay more for hot events, all of the money is going to the team instead of to some scalper. More revenue for the team means more money to spend on free agents. Right? Let’s hope so. While nothing will ever beat a market in terms of pricing properly, Qcue does its best by pulling in tons of data points and adjusting prices on the fly. It really lets teams make the most of their monopoly power (I know that sounds kind of scary). You can learn more about the nuts and bolts of Qcue’s technology by reading their What Is It? and How It Works pages. This is fascinating stuff, which is why I highly recommend that you check out Jobs at Qcue. Right now they’re looking for a Research Analyst. It looks like it could be a great position for a new or recent grad.
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