Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
High-definition, flat-screen TVs are driving down the price of tickets to live sports events in an unexpected way.
For the first time in decades, the cost of a Major League Baseball ticket has not increased. In fact, ticket prices have gone down in a lot of cities. At a time when the economy is getting better, why would MLB want to make a deal with you when you buy tickets?
Consider this: When you walk into any store, you can watch a game on a giant flat screen. The fields look gorgeous.
Take the recent Masters golf tournament. The course looked amazing on hi-def TV. Two of my brothers went to the Masters and one decided he couldn’t see enough on Saturday so he stayed home on Sunday and watched it on TV.
While you can’t capture the excitement of attending in person, what you see is superior on the TV. So my prediction is, except for the most marquee events, live attendance at games will be in an uphill fight against the flat-screen TV. And that will have the effect of depressing ticket prices.
Think about all those college football bowl games and how empty the stands were during the holidays. The price points will have to change for sports events in order to get people in stands to create a nice panorama for the TV cameras. Increasingly when you attend a game, you’re going to be the equivalent of a movie extra — unless you’re sitting in very premium seats.
All kinds of websites are popping up offering tickets at big discounts. One such site is ScoreBig.com, which promises discounts of 10 percent to 70 percent on sports, concert and theater tickets.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.