Ticketwatch is Merely Perception

Submitted by Seth on October 4th, 2017 at 2:08 AM


This is all wrong:

Look I have two younger brothers, I am on my fifth dog, and I am a proud graduate of an American public elementary school, so I know a thing or two about the old throwing-motion-fumble trick. First of all your footwork’s a mess, and anyway this isn’t the time or situation for it.

In the aftermath Iowa fans are all “eh, let’s go beat up on the Big Ten West.” That leaves us with the mess. A Spartan loss would have kept the bad news train rolling and the foils from getting hopeful. They’re coming.


Also coming: my app I keep plugging that will let you sell tickets to each other after finding each other on a map. The good news: iTunes just has to approve that version and then Apple phone users can test it out—if you’ve signed up we’ll let you know when it’s live, hopefully before the MSU game (it’s in iTunes’s hands now).


(click embiggens)

The bad news is the Android version is still too buggy to risk rolling out right now. That bums me out because I don’t have an iPhone. I’ll try to find somebody to try it out live on Saturday, and if I can maybe we’ll throw a prize in there for the testers or something. If you haven’t done so yet, go to www.tidgetapp.com (lead photo by Patrick Barron) and sign up pre-launch so you can use the app for free We’re at about 850 total but I don’t know how many are Apple vs Android. Goal is at least 1,000 of you by pre-launch.


Those are some bad fake tickets but there are others people have spotted that aren’t so easily detected. The real tickets don’t have a timestamp on them. Be careful whom you buy from when the scammers are out there. If you’re nervous, try to stay within people you know, or at least people you can track down, or use the ticket resellers—I can tell you from experience that security is most of the ballgame.


Right, dammit Iowa. Actually they didn’t do that much damage except to the “get me in the building” line. It’s still an expensive ticket, but other nobody seems that particular about where they sit:

Yard line 8 weeks ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last Week Current Face + 50% PSD
Midfield $540 $540 $480 $409 $317 (-92) $470
The 35 $396 $396 $376 $350 $290 (-60) $405
The 25 $370 $360 $333 $336 $278 (-58) $325
Goal line $249 $243 $360 $267 $268 (+1) $245
Endzone $249 $246 $225 $247 $226 (-21) $164

For not much more than the get-in price you can get a pretty good seat. Those who were trying to recoup Michigan’s high PSD for the midfieldish are going to be out of luck. SeatGeek had a $323 ticket (just one) in Row 58 of Section 2.

And it’s going down. One reason is the market is finally opening up. While worriers on the bye week got some trading done at $250-ish when they announced the start time, and as of Sunday the “let’s get this taken care of” responsible types were buying at $240ish, the “I just realized I don’t want to take my daughter anymore” folks started realizing they have to offload those seats starting yesterday.

By Thursday it’s likely they’ll be joined by another group: the “I don’t want to sit in the wind and rain”-hairs:


My advice here is figure out what you want to pay, and then wait until a good seat opens up at that price point. The get-in should get down to about “$200 but I’ll only sell them to other Michigan fans” in a few days. Be patient, work your contacts, and don’t be afraid to walk away. A buddy and I were haggling on Sunday with a guy who kept trying to bump us to $270 each (direct) for decent corner seats. I bet he’d leap at $240 right now.


Let’s go to the board!

Seat MSU       @IU      @PSU    Rut       Minn       @MD      @Wis     OSU       
Midfield $317 (-92) $89 (+17) $524 (-17) $144 (-2) $172 (-26) $151 (+17) $243 (-13) $541 (-5)
The 35 $290 (-60) $69 (+15) $488 (+32) $94 (+2) $161 (-) $133 (+11) $274 (+35) $460 (+24)
The 25 $278 (-58) $71 (+6) $397 (+2) $88 (+7) $143 (+24) $111 (+7) $229 (-1) $384 (-)
Goalline $268 (+1) $66 (+1) $366 (+37) $74 (+25) $121 (+14) $98 (+20) $173 (-10) $305 (-)
Endzone $226 (-21) $50 (-) $245 (+16) $56 (+7) $115 (+20) $76 (-2) $150 (-4) $304 (+58)
Buy? at $200 at game thurs b4 at game for face at game now. at $250

For the Maryland seats I stopped counting the low seats behind the Maryland bench after readers reported they can’t see from there. The Wisconsin seat was just one but I thought about buying it. Playing Northwestern close and losing more important players to injury soured some Wisconsin fans, but they’re bound to perk up after they trounce Nebraska and remember they’re 5-0 and that last year’s game was (thanks to some wild kicking) really close. Sometimes you come across an angry dude who wants to sell his ticket I guess?

Ohio State’s get-in price leapt up past $300, which is to be expected. The stable prices for better seats suggest that’s an early market bereft of sellers; I wouldn’t buy now, but I would consider an offer from a friend to buy them for face plus half of their PSD.

I added a line at the bottom with my thoughts on when to buy. Rutgers is a dog. Maryland and Minnesota can only go down. IU nobody has ever had problems getting tickets to, and they’re emboldened right now from playing Penn State tight. As for PSU, they think they’re on a march to the playoffs—that fast defense might in fact get them there, but they’re still relying on guard types at the tackles and James Franklin is running the clock. That was just announced as a night game officially so stay the hell away until the excitable PSU fanbase calms down from its Generic Football Abstrate Experience AT NIGHT!!!!! moment.


Everyone Murders

October 4th, 2017 at 8:36 AM ^

Seth notes:

The bad news is the Android version is still too buggy to risk rolling out right now. That bums me out because I don’t have an iPhone.

Be happy, sir.  While you won't have Tidget for a while, you also don't have an iPhone.



October 4th, 2017 at 9:07 AM ^

Considering the weather, plus the late start, think there will be people waking up Saturday morning, looking out the window, and saying "Screw it"?

Or is this flying too close to the sun?


October 4th, 2017 at 9:45 AM ^

Yes there will be. However in the past there have been more people for M-MSU than any other game who show up to tailgate and then see if they can find a ticket. Those last-minute seats won't drop below the online market until kickoff if any are left by then.

But if your worst case scenario is paying what you would pay tomorrow who cares right? If you are looking for two together that changes the math. You might be able to find a single seat with people who would rather sit with a Michigan fan for face value on Saturday. I really wish the app was up and running because this is the part of the market we really handle well. People are going to tailgate all day and have a seat they need to get rid of because so-and-so couldn't make it.


October 4th, 2017 at 10:02 AM ^

Looking for 2, so I guess I'll plan to get whatever the bottom price on Thursday, maybe Friday is.


BTW, love these posts because of the data science and evidence behind all the explanations. I like to track sporting event prices like the stock market, taking into consideration things like competing events, mean prices, etc. So these posts are awesome to me.


October 4th, 2017 at 9:33 AM ^

I love these posts! They help talk me off a ledge when in the market to buy. It'd be interesting to see a projected "season ticket" equivalent column. At the end of the season, we'll see how much more (less?) it costs to buy season tickets versus the Ticket Watch method.

Also, iPhone user here that will be at the MSU game. Looking forward to trying out the new app.


October 4th, 2017 at 10:24 AM ^

No, 4 together makes it hard because you can't play the last minute game. Your best bet is finding someone who bought a bunch of seats together and didn't fill/had cancellations. Those aren't always on the secondary market because they look to fill with people who won't offend, e.g., the clients they're serving.

If you're, like, ever going to buy a home or refinance one, you should give Matt a ping. I don't know if he's got extra Rutgers seats but I wouldn't be surprised if he does.


October 4th, 2017 at 11:23 AM ^

If you think he might be able to save you some $ on a refinance (he probably can, it's worth a shot) go here https://www.homesurelending.com/mgoblog/, fill out the form, and mention when you talk to him you're trying to find a group of Rutgers tickets.

Otherwise just email him and ask him to keep you in mind if he needs to sell off a group of them for a fair price (remember: group tickets raises the rate a lot since that's a special need). 


October 4th, 2017 at 10:16 AM ^

Also, looking at this game, it looks like the majority of people will end up getting below face + PSD.

I'm assuming that ticket holders are also taking a bath on the non-rivalry games.

So what's the value prop for season tickets any longer?

I have a baseball partial season ticket package and because I travel tons for work, I end up having to sell about half my tickets per season, and I'd estimate:

  • 60% of my seats go for well below face on gameday, some as low as $5 for bad weather, bad opponent games.
  • 20% maybe about face (before Stubhub takes it's cut) and
  • 20% that actually would go above face.

I could easily replicate my ticket package by buying a la carte for less than what I pay now. The only reason I've kept my seats is because when the team makes the playoffs, I get first access to pre-pre-pre-sale and can usually flip any tickets I don't use to pay off the package.

Without a playoff incentive, and with alternating years of no homefield rivalry games, what is the selling point of the season package at the Big House?


October 4th, 2017 at 10:23 AM ^

That's the exact reason why I don't go for the season tickets. Every year I'm ready and then look at the schedule and just know that I can get into most games (Not MSU/OSU) for at or usually under face.

Last year I bought one ticket for the Wisconsin game (M sideline, 40 yard line, 40 rows up) for like $120. That was about $10 more than face value. I just can't bring myself to do it. 


October 4th, 2017 at 10:30 AM ^

Michigan actually contracted the guy who used to sponsor these posts (TicketIQ is going through some turnover right now so we're letting that simmer) several years ago to help them maximize ticket prices. They have very good data on the secondary market and have adjusted their prices so that they're making out on season tickets better than the people who buy them can resell them. There's no reason to backtrack because they can blame Brandon when they keep prices at the same astronomic highs on even years, and blame MSU-OSU-ND home games for jacking them up on odd years.



October 4th, 2017 at 11:04 AM ^

Yeah, and I do think it's getting closer but the odd years ('15, '17) with the MSU/OSU games at home just make the even numbered years awful. Ahead of 2019, I will again consider my options.

Off the top of my head, here's what about what I paid for seats last year:

Hawaii: $30 (endzone)

UCF: 4 tickets, $40 each (10 yard line, vistor sideline)

Colorado: 2 Tickets, $85 each (25 yard line, visitor sideline)

Missed Penn St due to the flu

Wisconsin $115 (40 yard line, M sideline)

Illinois $60 (35 yard line, M Sideline)

Skipped MD 

Indiana 2 tickets, $35 each (40 yard line...SNOW, M sideline)


October 4th, 2017 at 10:30 AM ^

I assume it's a prestige/consistency thing. I know a lot of people love to talk about "their seats" and how they know all the people in their rows, etc.

But from a purely economic standpoint, it seems like a tough sell.


October 4th, 2017 at 1:40 PM ^

I love this sort of ticket analysis - for music and sports. Have you considered a separate column for Midfield Home vs Midfield Visitor sidelines? Seems to vary greatly in pricing for most games.