"My girlfriend and I are headed to Connecticut to visit family in August, and we wanted to see a Yankees game before they close down the stadium," Lapcevic said in an e-mail to MLB.com. "I tried Ticketmaster for tickets, but all the games we tried were sold out. Can you believe a sellout for Baltimore Orioles tickets on a Monday and Tuesday night? It wasn't like that when I moved to California in 2000.
"Anyway, long story short, I found [re-sold] tickets on StubHub for a reasonable price. I was a little skeptical, but bought Tier Box front-row tickets, four of them, for about $200, all inclusive. There were lots and lots of tickets to choose from, but I wanted front row. The tickets arrived via [overnight shipping] two days later. No worries, no hassles. Reasonable price."
Many of today's fans can relate to Lapcevic's story, and now the whole secondary ticket market is about to become an even more important part of the national pastime. StubHub, the world's largest ticket marketplace and an eBay company, announced on Thursday that it has reached a five-year agreement with Major League Baseball Advanced Media to become the official online provider of secondary tickets for MLB.com.
This landmark partnership represents unparalleled integration of a secondary ticketing provider and a major professional sports entity. Effective immediately, the agreement will provide a co-branded secondary ticket marketplace that will serve as a singular online destination for fans to purchase tickets with StubHub being designated as MLB.com's Official Secondary Ticket Marketplace.
"We believe this agreement reflects our commitment to providing dynamic platforms for fans to purchase tickets in authorized locations in the digital arena," MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman said. "Secure, simple and fan-friendly. Those are the hallmarks of this national destination for all of our fans."
Starting with the 2008 season, StubHub will gain unprecedented category exclusivity from MLBAM with its designation, along with official, club-endorsed status from each participating Major League club. Exclusivity will pertain to all online secondary ticket sales through MLB team sites, supplanting other current secondary solutions. All existing team-enabled online secondary ticket offerings will be assumed by StubHub, enabling for all bar code ticketing, ticketing kiosks and any other electronic/mobile ticketing delivery, validation and transfers. Additional elements include promotion of the ticket marketplace on MLB.com and participating club sites as well.
"This partnership truly represents a win-win for both parties, in the best sense of the phrase," said Chris Tsakalakis, president of StubHub. "The chance for StubHub to align with such a dynamic industry leader is an opportunity we relish. On the other side, we're excited to offer MLB.com access to our industry leadership, be it in ticket inventory, customer service or technology. It's a great day for both companies."
It's a great day for baseball fans, because you've probably noticed that getting the average Major League ticket is tougher than ever. There are many reasons for that, such as: widespread pennant-race fever that has led to six straight sellouts in Milwaukee and a ticket sales season record in Detroit; America's two largest cities each boasting two clubs that are drawing more than three million fans a year now; modern ballparks such as St. Louis and Philly that everyone has to see; the Barry Bonds home run chase and other major individual milestone pursuits; and places like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field that are just going to sell out no matter what the team looks like (and both of them look good).
MLB is headed for its fourth consecutive overall attendance record, and just last Saturday fans set the overall one-day attendance record -- watching 17 games, including two doubleheaders. In fact, two of the three most-attended days in Major League history were set this past month. Tickets are in high demand, and with more awareness coming for the secondary market, it should reduce the number of fans who are shut out completely.
StubHub's unique, unrestricted marketplace, dedicated solely to tickets, provides all fans the choice to buy or sell their tickets in a safe, convenient and guaranteed environment. The company's best of class customer service, FanProtect Guarantee and award-winning customer satisfaction are attributes that have made StubHub a destination for millions of ticket buyers and sellers.
"StubHub apparently has a guarantee that the tickets are legitimate, although I don't know how they do that," Lapcevic said. "They also have a really slick interface that shows the stadium map and lets you choose the type of ticket, location, game and how much you want to pay max for each ticket. The stadium then lights up with indications of where tickets are located. You can click on the indication and see the details on the tickets. Alternatively, you can simply read from a long list of available StubHub tickets sorted by price.
"I had never had the opportunity to use [StubHub] until two weeks ago, and I was pretty impressed ... [I'm highly optimistic] we are going to have a great time at the game."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less