boston.com Business your connection to The Boston Globe

This time, the tickets cost a smaller fortune

Red Sox World Series tickets on the resale market are a bit more affordable this year, although the average fan may still not be able to stomach the price.

Ticket resellers say demand for this year's Fall Classic at Fenway Park is not as high as it was in 2004 when the Red Sox made an improbable comeback against the New York Yankees to clinch the pennant, went to the World Series for the first time in nearly two decades, and won it - something the team had not done in 86 years. With no history being made this time around, resellers say their prices are down 20 to 40 percent compared with 2004.

Jim Holzman, the owner of Boston-based AceTicket.com, said he lowered his prices yesterday when it became clear that tickets would not sell at 2004 levels. Holzman said a bleacher seat that the Red Sox sold for $75 is now priced at $850 on his website. In 2004, he said, the same seat typically sold for $1,200.

"I'm not sure what's going on," Holzman said. "The market right now is trying to find itself."

A spokesman for StubHub Inc. said the online ticket marketplace owned by eBay Inc. has almost twice the number of seats for sale to this week's two games in Boston as it did for the first two World Series games in Boston in 2004. But the average price of the tickets being sold is down about $300 to $1,465.

People are still paying small fortunes for tickets, though. Sean Pate, the StubHub spokesman, said one Boston man yesterday paid $21,766 for two dugout box seats behind home plate.

Prices on StubHub for tickets to World Series games at Coors Field in Denver are significantly lower. Pate said the average resale price for the Denver games is $781.

Don Vaccaro, chief executive of TicketNetwork.com, a Connecticut company that markets the tickets of brokers across the country, said bleacher seats for games at Fenway Park this week are selling on his website for $700 to $750, ten times face value but well below the 2004 level of $1,200 to $1,400.

Compared with the 2004 World Series, Vaccaro said, many more tickets are being resold this year but prices are significantly lower because the stakes for both buyers and sellers were so much higher in 2004.

"The last time the Red Sox were in a World Series, it was 86 years since they had won one," Vaccaro said. "People wouldn't give up their tickets because they thought there's no way they would see this again."

Even before World Series tickets became available on the resale market, the teams themselves raised prices. The Red Sox, for example, charged $45 for a grandstand seat during the regular season but raised the price to $150 for the World Series, and bleacher seats that were $12 to $23 during the regular season went to $75.

Most of the tickets for the World Series games at Fenway were sold to season ticket holders, and some were sold on Oct. 15 to fans who participated in an online lottery. A limited number of tickets will go on sale at the ballpark on the day of each game. The New York Times Co., which owns The Boston Globe, also owns 17 percent of the Red Sox.

The Rockies yesterday tried to sell 20,000 tickets for each game scheduled for Coors Field, but the computer system of the team's ticket-selling company crashed shortly after the sale started. After the sale was suspended, one club official told the Associated Press that 8.5 million attempts to purchase tickets were made in the first 90 minutes tickets were on sale. The official said only several hundred tickets were sold.

Edgar Dworsky, a Somerville resident and the editor of a website called Consumerworld.org, has no interest in going to see the Red Sox play the Colorado Rockies, but he is appalled at the prices being charged by ticket resellers. He said the price reductions being cited by ticket resellers are meaningless to the average fan.

"Half off an outrageous price is still an outrageous price," he said. "It's become virtually unaffordable except for the rich and corporations. The whole thing is like a big private club."

Dworsky said the Massachusetts Legislature should pay close attention to the ticket prices as it considers legislation that would effectively do away with the state's antiscalping law.

The current law, passed 83 years ago, bars people in the business of reselling tickets from charging more than $2 above face value plus certain service fees and business charges. The law is widely ignored and rarely enforced, except for the occasional arrest of a street scalper around Fenway Park.

The House has passed legislation that would remove the $2 price cap as long as people in the business of reselling tickets obtain a license and abide by some consumer protections. The Senate has not taken action on the bill yet.

The Red Sox also prohibit season ticket holders from reselling their tickets, but have difficulty enforcing the regulation. A Red Sox spokesman last night said no one was immediately available to comment on ticket resales.

Bruce Mohl can be reached at mohl@globe.com.

More from Boston.com

'Related'

HOW HIGH? How much are you willing to pay for a Red Sox World Series ticket? Take our poll at boston.com/business.

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES