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Posted on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

Michigan to implement dynamic pricing for 2013 single-game football tickets

By Kyle Austin


Michigan fans wave a flag during a home game against Iowa last year.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan will move to dynamic pricing for its single-game football tickets sales this fall, a move that could result in elevated costs for attending marquee home games.

According to the school, a computer program will be implemented to determine prices based on their current market value. Team performance, visiting team performance, weather, inventory and more will be taken into account.

Ticket prices will change over time, but will not move below their original $65 face value. Season ticket prices will not be subject to the system.

Dynamic pricing for sports tickets is used by more than half of Major League Baseball teams, as well as NBA and NHL teams, according to the athletic department. Michigan is one of the first college sports programs to adopt the model.

According to a post on MGoBlue, the move is in part due to increased use of secondary ticket markets. Michigan has an exclusive agreement with Stubhub that will remain unchanged.

"Dynamic pricing is a practice that has become standard across the sports and entertainment industry after gaining acceptance through airlines and hotels," Michigan chief marketing officer Hunter Lochmann said in a statement. "Pricing dynamically will allow us to adjust single-game ticket prices upward or downward based on real-time market conditions with the biggest factor being fan demand."

The move comes two months after the athletic department announced a 23 percent hike for student tickets, to $40 per game.

Single game tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale July 30 to season ticket holders, to donors July 31 and to the general public Aug. 1. Michigan has seven home dates this fall: Aug. 31 vs. Central Michigan, Sept. 7 vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 14 vs. Akron, Oct. 5 vs. Minnesota, Oct. 19 vs. Indiana, Nov. 9 vs. Nebraska, and Nov. 30 vs. Ohio State.

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.



Tue, Aug 6, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

These, "marketing guru's" will push these ticket and concession prices until they start to lose attendance and only then will the rise in prices begin to level off. Complaints will not affect the rise in cost, I believe that only empty seats will have any affect and I mean lots of emty seats. Mich. prides itself on sell-outs in, "The Big House".


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

As a student, I've always felt that the University of Michigan was run by a group of investment bankers. Someone probably told them they could optimize their profitability.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

Can Pay-Per-View be far behind?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Hmmmm so constrained supply by holding tickets back increases demand. Since UM controls the market they have a monopoly. Kinda sounds like Enron manipulating electrical rates. Question: Will Dave Brandon wake up when attendance drops to 70,000 a game or will he just call us fair weather fans? This is the third Brandon boner after the basketball seat debacle and messin with student tickets.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

70,000 will lead to general admission to punish bad fans....


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

This is not really dynamic pricing if the low price doesn't fall below $65. It is just a money grab. Frankly, plenty of folks would be glad to take their kids to see some of the crummier opponents for $20 or so and experience the Big House. And, little kids enjoy seeing the team score so wouldn't be bored with a blow-out. I'm disappointed that UM is just wringing every $ they can instead of giving a break to fans.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

I hope the AAPD also implements "dynamic pricing" for the police services the city provides. Same for parking at Pioneer - dynamic pricing.

An Arborigine

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

I guess scalping is now sanctioned by the UM?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Just use an algorithm that correlates ticket prices to the Las Vegas game odds. Even then, I REALLY doubt that the prices will be adjusted "downward". That's just not going to happen. Ever.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

We go to a game every other year or so, but only a decent game and not for more than $50 per ticket. Can't justify more.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:20 a.m.

I have long been upset about Brandon's policy of "money grabbing", be it with seat forced donations, with in-your-face merchandising (i.e. 'alternate uniforms' that they can sell for lotsa cash, gimmicks at the games), and so on. Seat licenses in particular gall me because it forces you to "donate" on top of the already expensive ticket prices (which can be considered a donation of sorts because the players are not getting paid in real cash). Some have argued that Brandon has to do it to support the other sports. I get that argument, though I vigorously disagree. It essentially professionalizes what should be an amateur event. This "dynamic" pricing only further professionalizes this experience, and at this point, I can agree with the players who claim they should get paid. If the university is actually profiting mightily on the brand and on the players' backs, where is the kickback to them? Everybody is profiting obscenely in this corporate professional world except them. It's no longer about access, about education, about competition. It is about "monetary value" first and foremost, and that is the major loss here that David Brandon has forced on us. We have now officially lost the innocence of sport in the college arena (which we have been on a long road towards before today), but dynamic pricing--using pro sports as the model--is the final straw. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no one official who has the nerve to stand up to this, and no one to pursue this with. I wrote an immediate response email to '' and of course, did not get a response. Maybe I should have included a 100 dollar gift card to UM athletics.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

how would you support other sports then, with taxpayer State and University general funds? no thanks, then some of the uninformed arguments of others about Athletic Department costs raising their tuition could come true.

Kelley Rea

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:46 a.m.

I wonder where this upward spiral of prices will lead us. I have read several of the comments about long time ticket holders now being priced out of the market. Families can no longer afford to take their kids to the games. It seems that many Michigan fans are opting out of purchasing Michigan football tickets. The Michigan Athletic Dept. surely wants Michigan fans at the games. But, with this new pricing paradigm, we may be reaching the point of simply attracting those who can afford the tickets. Hopefully, some of those people will actually be Michigan fans, but maybe not. I think the Athletic Dept. is singing a new refrain - Go Green instead of Go Blue.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

What if the university just dropped people who habitually sold their season tickets (esp in the best seats) on stubhub? And didn't always try to screw us over until they reach the brink of the demand curve? Oh yeah, that's right, because stubhub pays universities to be the sole legal scalping marketplace. Just another dagger in the back of blue collar, low and middle class fans from Dave Brandon. P.S. YOU ALREADY DO THIS! Haven't we all noticed that the lower demand games are cheaper than our major rivalry games?!? Nothing new here except and excuse to take this practice even further because demand is so high for the big games. Disgusting.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

I have season tickets and it's becoming impossible to sell one of them if someone in my group can't go. People look at me like I'm stupid when I tell them I'm selling a ticket for 100$ or w/e the face value is. I like the new pricing methods in the sense that it cripples the scalping market and I don't like sitting near opposing fans so someone can make money off tickets selling them after the fact, but the ticket prices are getting so high that pretty soon I won't be able to go like most others. It's also disappointing that there are no chances to take my kids to the game anymore. I would have liked to have done that but it's hard to spend an extra 100$ to bring them to some crap game and I can't afford 200-500 for a good game. Shame that student prices are going up so fast as well....


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

Some of The frustration comes from the lack of purpose. It's like db is fighting desperately to scrape as much money from me as possible with no good reason for it. Congratulations on your huge savings account I guess.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

I'm in the exact same position, mgoscottie. I'm lucky if I can sell my tix if I can't make it to a game and even if I can sell them I'm lucky if I can get half price for them (end zone seats). People always balk at the face value price. It will be a very sad day when I eventually get priced out of buying season tix but I do see it happening.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

You musty not have very good seats, huh? I dunno if you watch stubhub regularly during the season, but mid-field seats routinely and easily fetch double face value or more. But sorry, I do totally agree with you. I am somewhat disgusted with the entire athletic department lately (ok, really just Dave Brandon's CEO, bottom-line mentality).


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

"Ticket prices will change over time, but will not move below their original $65 face value. Season ticket prices will not be subject to the system." That's funny. Scalped tickets for some of the early non-conference games against MAC opponents go for $10 or $15 from scalpers outside the stadium. But I guess UM doesn't want to offend season ticket holders (who paid the full $65) by selling those tickets for their true market prices.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

Yes. But scalped tickets on stubhub (our trusty, legal, internet scalping rip off machine) easily cross face value for most games.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

It's all about the kids, folks, just the kids.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

Ya , little Richy Rich.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

Hilarious that tickets for ND/Mich are more than tickets for the world's supposed greatest rivalry (although not surprising). No wonder UM is bitter over ND ending this latest round of the series.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

Makes sense to me too, Ross, but not for the reasons you listed. It's because ND is ND, and a bigger draw than both MIchigan and Ohio State (look at the top 10 games for ticket demand, ND is #1 with 'Bama #2). On the flip side, re: Michigan and OSU, we're talking about the world's supposed best and biggest rivalry here, and both will undoubtedly be in the hunt for the Big 10 championship and possibly more. Excuses, excuses.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

Plus there is nothing better than watching ND lose at anything.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

Makes sense to me, actually. ND game is early season (warm weather), just as big a national/alumni audience, and often a night game = higher demand.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

Now that you all know what Dave Brandon is up to, it's up to you fans to stop him. You can start by sending letters and petitions to him. Dave likes to appear to be the second coming.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

The best way to handle it would be for a few very wealthy donors to withhold money until Dave Brandon is fired....

Glenn Galler

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Once you get past the fact that Dave Brandon is trying to squeeze every penny out of the Michigan fan, it is really easy to respect the University of Michigan Athletic Department.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.

haha. Yeah, CEO Dave doesn't realize how bad he tarnishing "the brand" for younger alumni like me.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

remember when we were a public university-----paying our bills and saving a bit for the proverbial rainy day? i must have missed the IPO. we are clearly into a full scale money grab, and as a season ticket holder of 40+ years------i don't like the path that david brandon is taking us down. i suppose he'll have reached his goal if/when i don't renew next season. he'll just have more 'product' to sell on stub hub.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

"Ticket prices will change over time, but will not move below their original $65 face value." DUH! Did anyone ever think the U0f M would sell a ticket for less? No need to go to a scalper anymore. You can get screwed by the U direct! That's why I gave up my tickets this year after35 years. The rest of you can buy all you want. And then you complain about wall street! What's the difference between the U and wall street? NOTHING!

Jim Osborn

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

With Wall Street, one makes money over time. With U of M, one one only loses money over time.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

I don't get this. Why not sell the ticket for less 5min before kickoff or after the game has started. If no one buys the seat, no money is made. If someone buys it for less, the U makes a little money. This makes no sense.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:53 p.m. So....there is indeed a loophole for the Champions of the West. GO BLUE!!


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

"According to the school, a computer program will be implemented to determine prices based on their current market value" Why waste money on a computer program? Just get that shady guy with no fingers in his gloves to tell you what the tickets are worth.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

They would have to pay that shady guy as a consultant to keep things above board.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Dynamic Ticket Pricing ?? Agree with "Scott" the poster above. Fancy, yet dubious name in order to keep the cash cow fat. Most of the people I know have grown tired & disgusted @ the greed of Dave Brandon's policies. Keep raising the cost of tix and "seat licenses" ... you're pricing yourselves out of what most locals/families are willing to pay to watch a game at the stadium. The only folks filling the seats will be large corporations who write off the expense to impress their clients. Rah, rah for the home team? I'll continue to watch the games @ home on my 65" screen or spend my hard earned $$ at a LOCAL sports bar.

Jim Osborn

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

I'll bet that Brandon gets in for free!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

Exactly! Wayyy over the line this time, Brandon! We're all pretty disgusted at this point, and the damage you are doing may be irreparable.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

"Greed for a lack of a better word ... is good" - Dave Brandon


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

The absurd thing is they've already been using this dynamic pricing on a smaller scale. The bigger Big Ten game face values printed on the tickets has been higher by $20 or so vs. non-conference games. This new model will enable an even greater level of profiteering.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

Yep, nothing new here but an excuse to screw us harder.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

I like the way the always put a positive name on something of questionable morality. "Dynamic" pricing , "Patriot act", "right to work" state, homeland security. Dave Brandon is a master of Orwellian doublespeak.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

interesting you attempt to link Dave Brandon somehow, which fails.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

No, the master of Orwellian doublespeak is still any government. WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

Nutin" like spending a grand for a family of 4 to see the ol scalmy mater play!


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Does this mean that I can now sell my own tickets at whatever asking price I feel I can get? That the scalping rules are now a non-issue? I am actually looking for an answer, not trying to be smart!


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

spike, you have ALWAYS been able to resell your ticket for whatever price you can get!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

This is a valid question. If the act of scalping is selling above the ticket price, but the issuer of the ticket admits that the price on the ticket is NOT the actual price, and in fact the official price is constantly changing, how can you ticket anyone for scalping a ticket? (Even if Stub Hub is not involved EyeHeart.) By eliminating an official, enforceable price on the ticket - and in fact now making that price the 'minimum' - it would seem that UM has now made all the game-day scalpers legal. If that is the case, they may have increased the demand for (and availability of) in-person scalping; and perhaps cut into their anticipated profit boost. Law of unintended consequences...


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

You could do this all along on Stub Hub. But you knew that.

Steve Gerber

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Doesn't this dynamic ticket pricing make a joke out of the illegal ticket scalping policy? How is this different? The difference to me is that the UM Athletic dept. is getting the money instead of an individual.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

and that would be a good thing.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Exactly! What Universities, corporations, doctors, courts, politicians and government do is illegal for The common man. Legal and illegal, right and wrong, depend on who one is. "There is no society" Margaret Thatcher (my favorite quote)

Kyle Austin

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

That was my main interpretation, Steve. For the few regular fans who set their alarms and snatch up tickets the moment they go on sale, the prices could be going up. But for everyone else who buys on the secondary market, the prices should be the same or close to it. The money will just go to a different place.

Tim Hornton

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Go Blue!!!!

Shawn Letwin

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Note to employer: Please begin adjusting my pay rate dynamically with a base rate of my current compensation. I will then adjust my compensation requirements to match the dynamics of the tasks you assigned to ensure that I am compensated fairly. The business model that I ask you to emulate is widely recognized by the major petroleum companies, entertainers, athletes, etc. so that it only goes that the people who actually do the work get compensated "accordingly". "Accordingly" right now has been very dynamic from your side (employer) in order to match the trends of your peers in private industry: no raises, loss of defined pensions, reduction in 401k matching, increased insurance costs, decreased hours, reduction of vacation days, sick days, personal days, etc. The UofM sports program is very profitable and it was not cited as the driving force on this issue. It should also be noted that this very same dynamic business model on the streets is called "scalping"...which I understand to be illegal for private citizens or others. Yet, UofM can now do it legally...Hmmmm!


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

What's a working stiff to do, Scott? Try starting your own business, see how that goes. Most people find that they don't want to take the risks and do the work necessary to run a successful business that employs other people. They'd rather take the less stressful and demanding path and just work for somebody else. You always have a choice.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Shawn, you are always free to attempt to negotiate a higher salary from your employer, or, shop your talents to another employer. Chances are if you've done that you've found that your existing compensation if pretty fair and you wouldn't do so well if you had to shop yourself into the open market.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.

Scott, I suggest you come up with your own ingenious way of stiffing the public so you too can be rich.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

That's why the super rich keep getting richer. The fix is in. What's a working stiff to do?


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

I think that is a fantastic idea. Take a regular Notre Dame Ticket of $80.00 - that sometimes fetches $500.00 - $1,000.00 on Stub Hub - that extra money doesn't go to the university. You'll still get the regular complainers, the ones that complain about Michigan football just for that act of complaining, and the ones that will scoff at a $125.00 ticket, yet who really want to see the game and pay $500.00 last minute. But the University should recoup some of that money, for their big show !


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Actually UM makes money off of stubhub ticket sales. They have their own stubhub sponsored page. Everytime a ticket is sold on stubhub UM makes a profit. They make money off the original ticket and make more money off the resale. That's why UM doesn't care if you scalp it for $500-1,000 because they make more money.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

What if the university just dropped people who habitually sold their season tickets (esp in the best seats) on stubhub? Oh yeah, that's right, stubhub pays universities to be the sole legal scalping marketplace. Just another dagger in the back of blue collar, low and middle class fans from Dave Brandon.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Do you really think that the single game tickets are in locations that would fetch $500 to $1000 on Stub Hub? The tickets on Stub Hub come from season ticket holders.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Not a bad point. And if one doesn't have the money the option of watching a a 62 inch screen TV isn't bad. I wish the money would be used to reduce tuition costs however, not to raise the salaries of administrators and tenured professors who teach one class and write books no one reads.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

Will that stop with the tickets, or will the concessions also be priced dynamically. For example, will the normal $5 bottle of water cost $10 if it's a hot day?


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

It is already in place for programs. The Notre Dame UTL program was $20.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

Off all the methods of profiteering that U-M Athletics have implemented, raising the price of bottled water AND banning the bringing in to the Stadium of unopened water makes me the angriest. And trying to justify it by claiming security concerns only made it worse.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Good idea. You'd make a good AD or school president.