Playoff tickets can still be had - for the right price

January 03, 2007|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,Sun reporter

Need tickets for the Ravens' NFL playoff game?

Getting them is surprisingly easy. But, not so surprisingly, it's also plenty expensive.

Due to the rapidly evolving world of Internet commerce, hundreds of Ravens tickets for the divisional round playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium the weekend of Jan. 13-14 were available online yesterday, albeit at several times the face value.

The Ravens, seeded No. 2 in the AFC playoffs, will take on the higher-seeded winner of this weekend's wild-card games.

TicketsNow, the Ravens' official partner in the online secondary ticket market, had more than 900 tickets available yesterday, ranging from $230 for upper-level corner end zone seats to more than $1,100 for lower-level seats on the 50-yard line.

TicketsNow aggregates tickets from licensed ticket brokers around the country and then offers them for sale.

Other popular cyber ticket marketplaces, such as StubHub and RazorGator, are Internet sites where individual sellers and buyers transact business under the oversight of those online companies. RazorGator had more than 240 Ravens tickets available yesterday, and StubHub had more than 430. In some cases, they might have been the same tickets.

Peer-to-peer sales and auctions of dozens of Ravens tickets were also taking place on eBay yesterday. And some ticket-holders were selling through more traditional methods, such as the newspaper.

Regardless of the transaction, the prices reflect the apparent willingness of fans to pay whatever it takes to be at the playoff game.

For instance, during the regular season, the cheapest single-game Ravens seats are upper-level end zone and have face values of $40 and $50. For the playoffs, the NFL sets face values, but even though those prices are typically higher than in the regular season, secondary market tickets sell at several multiples above the adjusted face value. At TicketsNow for the Ravens' divisional round game, upper-level end zone seats are $230 to $350.

Buying tickets to an important game can be an art. Prices tend to crest a week to a few days before the event as enthusiasm mounts. But fans willing to engage in brinksmanship and hold out as the event approaches could do better - but run the risk of getting shut out.

"That's the gamble," said Jennifer Swanson, a spokeswoman for TicketsNow. "Do that ... or buy them in advance and have that security of getting in."

For fans with deep pockets, TicketsNow is auctioning two VIP packages with proceeds going to the Ravens All Community Team Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits local charitable organizations and help groups. The packages include two premium lower-level seats donated by the team, a pair of pre-game onfield passes and admissions to a tailgate party. Yesterday, bids were about $900 for the packages, and the auction ends at midnight.

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