I was shocked at what people were asking a week ago. $1,500 -- $2,500 for mid-tier loge seats? Forget it. Even for the playoffs, that's out of control. That's more like Finals pricing (If you want to see crazy, check out the price for the home games for the Finals...).
I guess people can ask whatever they want, but the first few resale postings set the price and future postings anchor off of it. So if the guy in Row 10 says, "Hmm, I'll ask for $2,000 and see if anyone is desperate," the guy in Row 9 will say, "Wow, I thought the market-clearing price would be about $800, but if guy-behind-me is asking $2,000, I'd be nuts to ask just $800. I'll set it at about $1,600 and will look cheap by comparison!"
Obviously, $2,000 was never really a viable price, nor was $1,600. But if enough people set their prices that high, supply will increase greatly while demand stays relatively steady. By the time you get to 2-3 days before the game, all the sections on Ticketmaster are dark blue (meaning a lot of tickets available) and sellers who really need to get rid of their tickets will panic a bit.
In the end, they may end up selling their tickets for a lot less than they would have if they had just priced them correctly to begin with.
While I think you've got it right for the most part, it also takes just one buyer to believe the true market is what the prices are showing, and pull the trigger at $1,600.
You are 100% correct, which is why it's so important to price tickets correctly if you have to
sell them (e.g., going out of town). If you are just looking for a pay day but are happy to go to the game if someone doesn't hit your ask, go for it.
@tenn_smoothie: I don't know what the profitability split, but ticket revenue for the NBA has tended to make up from 20-22% of total revenue (ex-covid) over the past few years, a number which has been on the decline:https://www.statista.com/statistics/193410/percentage-of-ticketing-revenue-in-the-nba-since-2006/
I'm guessing that, for the Celtics, it's a slightly higher number, given that ticket prices are higher than average (although I don't know if that's factored into share of TV revenue).
Ticket sales remain important, though. A seat that goes unused not only generates zero revenue at the gate but also at the concession stands, gift shop, parking lot, etc.
The vast, vast, vast majority of tickets that you see on the Ticketmaster site are resale tickets. If the seats are red, it's a resale ticket. Blue is a seat directly from the Celtics. Normally, for high-demand games, the Celtics-originated tickets are gone instantly, so it's a testament to just how high the prices are that there are any remaining. Even in corner Loge seats, the face value of the tickets is $600+.
If you buy the "blue" seats, there is a very modest Ticketmaster surcharge (usually only a matter of a few percent of the total price).
Red seats have prices set by the ticket holder, and come with a much larger TM surcharge (~21%, none of which the ticketholder sees). The ticket holder also pays 5% of the total sale price as a commission. Most STMs get their tickets at a discount to the comparable face value that you would pay if you bought them directly from the Celtics. Depending on the game, that discount can be significant.
Keep in mind that a STM has committed to buying every
game, including the bad ones and the pre-season ones. I would not
recommend becoming a STM to generate a profit. In years like this one, yes, it can be a good year. In years when the team is bad, or even just "not great," it can be very difficult to get rid of tickets for anywhere close to face value, and resale tickets sell at a deep discount to what the member paid for them.