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Is StubHub a good prediction market for an MLB team’s performance?

A recent NYT article reported continued troubled times for the Major League Baseball’s New York Mets.

the Mets have internally projected that their attendance will be lower this year than last year, mostly because attendance figures often reflect what happened the year before…

I think this is only partially true. I would argue that pre-season sales of season tickets, corporate boxes, and ticket packages are largely based on the previous year’s performance, indeed.  However, I would argue that secondary markets like StubHub are actually a lot closer to prediction markets like Intrade for a team’s projected performance.

If you would prefer to sit in Metropolitan Box 121, between third base and home plate, $28 (and fees) would secure a seat there. Tickets in that area range in price from $80 to $134, according to the Mets’ Web site.

The first objecion to this would be the high cost of Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox tickets where the odds of a loss are probably higher.  In this case a) fans aren’t going to see the Mets but rather the other premium team or 2) the emotional payoff from a potential win against the premium team is so great, it raises the value of the ticket.

A second objection is that markets like StubHub are not exactly precise since the payoff is only the satisfaction of getting to see a victory rather than a monetary reward.  However, if you have been a Mets fan in recent years, avoiding he agony of defeat might actually have a higher value than cash.

In fact, if you’re not picky about where you sit or who is playing, you can get into the ballpark for as little as $3 a seat.

Here are some not-so-fun facts for Mets fans:

  • The Mets are averaging 30,738 fans after six home dates.
  • Last season, they averaged 32,401 in 79 date
  • Their overall attendance in 2010 reflected a 19 percent drop from the year before when they drew 3,154,270 in Citi Field’s first season.
  • The decrease was the largest in baseball over that period.

One Response

  1. […] I wrote about the potential utility for StubHub as prediction here. […]

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