Oral Tracey | Premium tickets at premium prices
It is one of the most basic principles of economics: The price of a product is determined by the amount the consumer is willing to pay for that product. Also, the higher the demand for that product, the higher the price that product will fetch.
With emotions running high over the whopping 50 per cent increase of the grandstand tickets for the final day of the annual ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs), it is important to note that Champs’ Saturday tickets are proportionately the most highly demanded tickets in all of Jamaican sport.
It has been that way for several decades, it’s still so today, and it will remain that way in local sport for a long time to come. The perennial outcry from disgruntled Champs fans as it relates to accessing those premium tickets has become routine and near nauseating. Truth be told, ISSA should have facilitated the forces of the market a long time ago.
Not only is it smart business to capitalise on the market value of a prime product, but a price rise, commensurate with the demand, would lay to rest some of the cyclical rumblings that generally come from some fans who seem to think they have a God-given right to Saturday-evening grandstand tickets.
With tens, indeed, hundreds of thousands of fans at home and abroad willing and able to pay good money in the annual pursuit of the approximately 4,000 available tickets, it puts ISSA in a very strong position.
The 50 per cent raise across the board for the 2019 edition of the stellar event has the regular grandstand tickets moving from $5,000 to $7,500, regular season tickets moving from $9,000 to $13,500, and premium season tickets moving from $10,000 to $15,000. These adjustments were not only smart by ISSA; they were also necessary.
In the context of a $30-million shortfall in sponsorship and the consistent overwhelming demand for this particular block of tickets, the margin of increase could have been even wider without any significant ruffling of feathers.
Happily, the reality of Boys and Girls’ Champs being an amateur high-school event was still not lost on ISSA as they appropriately decided not to increase the ticket prices for any other day, or any other section of the stadium. The bleachers, where the majority of students go to enjoy an event which is effectively theirs, will basically remain their domain.
The decision to let the bleachers be draws a clear line of demarcation between the grandstand, which is now clearly designated a premium section attracting premium prices, and the bleachers, which remain a more affordable refuge for those who wish to be part of the live setting for the spectacle of all spectacles in Jamaican sport.
Outgoing ISSA president Dr Walton Small and his executive made a prudent move, a move they should have made long ago. If there is one criticism that could be levelled at ISSA, it would be that they still have not fully exploited the forces of the market. Based on the numbers involved in this annual revolving scramble, it would not be far-fetched that the true market value for a Saturday, evening Champs grandstand ticket could easily read as follows: Regular: $10,000, regular season. $20,000, and premium season tickets: $30,000. Even then, these tickets would sell like hot bread.