SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — If you're hoping to catch the Padres first game of the season, and first since 2019 with fans in the stands, you better have some deep pockets.
Tickets to Petco Park during the 2021 season have ranked among the highest across all MLB teams, according to ticket marketplace website Gametime. For Opening Day tickets, the Padres ranked highest with an average of $674 a ticket. By comparison, Gametime says teams like the Miami Marlins, Texas Rangers, and Cincinnati Reds are seeing ticket resales on average between $11 and $15.
The demand is largely due to capacity restrictions on stadiums and live event venues due to the pandemic. In California, stadiums are allowed to have fans at 20% capacity. At Petco Park, 20% of the stadium's 42,445 capacity is about 8,490 fans.
See prices for select games in the graphic below or click this link to open it in a new window:
Thankfully, this may only be a momentary issue for fans. Gametime's Vice President for Performance Marketing Jeff Gurian tells ABC 10News that once the team's official inventory of tickets is released, those prices are expected to fall.
"We're still waiting for the Padres to release their official inventory, so there are listings out there, and including some on Gametime, that are rather expensive right now," Gurian said. "But as more inventory gets released, prices will fall ... when the new inventory comes out ... we expect prices to fall quite a bit."
That inventory is expected to be released at any time, Gurian adds.
"The Padres have not actually released the full slate of tickets that they have available. The listing that you're seeing now are people that either know they will be getting tickets, like season ticket holders, or have been told otherwise they will be getting inventory, or think they can sell the ticket for that price then replace it with a substitute that they can obtain at a lower price," Gurian said.
Gurian advises that any fans interested in buying tickets this season are better off waiting to see how the ticket market shakes out later in the season.
"The premiums you're seeing now are likely inflated due to the limited demand and that should settle down, hopefully pretty soon," said Gurian. "It's one of those things if you're in the market to keep checking back and you'll probably see a lot more selection at a lot better prices.
"This is the time where a little bit of patience will probably save quite a bit of money."
Ticket prices may have been destined to increase — at least a little — this season, with high-profile trades and acquisitions during the offseason and spring training, and the record contract signing of Fernando Tatis Jr. The team is also coming off of its first postseason appearance since 2010.
According to Seat Geek, average ticket prices have been on the rise over the last couple of seasons. In 2017, the average ticket price at Petco Park was $40, then rose to $42 in 2018 and $48 in 2019. The average nearly doubled to $81 in 2020 and then hit $121 this season — granted this season's average may be impacted by the reduced capacity.