Why fans attending NLCS Game 3 will pay more for beer than tickets

As the Arizona Diamondbacks face a 2-0 deficit in the National League Championship Series, ticket prices for Game 3 at Chase Field plummet to as low as $5. (Photo by Bennett Silvyn/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks entered the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies as one of the best teams in baseball, but oddly, the ticket prices don’t come close to being the hottest ticket in town.

As the Diamondbacks trail the series 2-0, tickets for Thursday’s Game 3, scheduled for 2:07 p.m. Arizona time, are as cheap as $5 on the secondary market. The combination of an early weekday start time and a two-game losing streak have resulted in a disappointing one-two punch for an organization that hasn’t reached the championship series in 16 years.

“The market (for ticket prices) will set itself organically,” said Jason Karniol, owner of Assured Quality Tickets.

The low prices have sparked a frenzy on social media, with many Phillies fans posting on social media that they are buying multiple tickets, even though they can’t attend, so that it will be at the expense of the team and their fans.

“GM to everyone except AZ, I just bought 14 tickets for game 3 in Arizona to assure that there will be 14 less loser (Diamondbacks) fans,” a fan with the handle “sidebar taurus” posted on X.

Karniol of Assured Quality Tickets, a ticket brokerage business that has operated for nearly 16 years, has been in the ticket-selling business for most of his life.

The ticket brokers act as intermediaries between the primary ticket seller and the end consumer and often sell their tickets days before the event. The market setting itself allows for movements of prices to be made by both brokers and secondary ticket markets such as GameTime and StubHub.

While growing up in New Jersey, Karnoil would often receive four box tickets from his neighbor to watch the New York Mets. If his mom and sister did not attend the game with him, he would have two extra tickets that, at 12 and 13 years old, he would stand outside Shea Stadium to sell.

He learned patience, which is required in the broker business, along with timing and, in a way, skill to sell your tickets to the right market and consumer.

“Let’s just say the Diamondbacks make the World Series. Those tickets have not been released yet to the public and that presale happens tomorrow. Let’s say I want to post something or tomorrow morning meaning, I’m the first one to post them. I have to make up a press,” Karnoil said. “I don’t want to undercut myself nor do I want to sell them too cheap so I put them in for $1,000. (Then), 10 minutes later, 25, 30 people or more are buying tickets and (since) online is a database, and 10 minutes later my $1,000 ticket is now $200 more expensive than the next guy.”

Related story

The constant flow of competition between the secondary markets and the brokers causes differences in ticket prices and results in varying prices depending on which site the consumer uses or which broker the consumer is going through.

“Before that game on Monday was even played, those tickets (for Game 3) were really $110. That’s why I couldn’t believe (the price drop),” Karnoil said.

Other factors for ticket pricing include the time and day that the event is on.

Due to Thursday’s early afternoon first pitch, the game will take place during work and school hours for those living in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.

For example, Sunday noon tip-off games for the Suns are historically a hard sell and generate the least revenue based on the time and the day of the week, according to Karnoil, for a variety of reasons.

Following the shutout loss in Game 2 , the ticket prices for Game 3 reportedly took a nosedive by 90%, according to TickPick. The drop in price was also noted by Ticketmaster after the company released the average ticket price for a NLCS game is around $694.20.

Longtime Diamondbacks fan Jayme Markess was astonished to hear that tickets for Thursday’s game are just $5.

“(I’m) completely stunned,” Markess said. “I get the fact that it’s an early start in a mid-to-late-week game, but I mean, come on, this is the NLCS. For as cheap as they are, they should be sold out.”

The enthusiasm following the hot start is slowly dying in the Valley as the Diamondbacks find themselves in a hole. If the Diamondbacks do end up winning Thursday’s game, the ticket prices may rise for both Friday and Saturday’s game due to the fluctuating market.

Friday and Saturday’s ticket prices are listed as low as $39 and $32, respectively.

Bennett Silvyn BEH-nit SIL-vin
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Bennett Silvyn expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism and a minor in business, marketing and sports management. Silvyn has interned in marketing and social media for the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, as a reporter for Arizona Foothills Magazine, in sponsorships for the Arizona Rattlers and in social and digital media for FC Tucson. Silvyn has also reported for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network and The State Press.