Rangers 10 Game Plans. Worth buying?

The Rangers have been heavily promoting their new 10 game plans over the past few days. I got a mail piece and an e-mail yesterday from the Rangers about these plans. I expect that many of you also received these ads. Essentially, they offer 10 games at regular box office prices for those seats, but three of the 10 are premium games for which the box office price would ordinarily be slightly higher. One of the 10 games can be traded in for a different non-premium game. You get some limited rights to participate in a pre-sale for one ALDS game and one ALCS. game. Most enticingly, you get an eleventh game for free and that game can be Opening Day.

Is this a good deal?

I'm assuming that the alternative for most of the people considering purchasing these packages would be to buy individual game seats to about 10 games.

Assuming that a 20 game plan isn't an option for you, is it a better deal for you to buy a 10 game package from the Rangers, or for you to buy the tickets offered in the 10 game package on the open market? To make this determination I surveyed available ticket prices on Stubhub and from several different ticket brokers for seats in the corner box area (near field level way down the foul line) and in the Upper Box (best seats available in the third deck).

A ten game plan in corner box costs $430 per seat, a 10 game plan in Upper Box costs $230 per seat. I assumed that you want to purchase 4 seats. Here is what it would cost you to assemble four seats for the exact same games from a third party in the exact same sections inclusive of all fees and shipping costs:

Corner Box LCA Corner Box Cheapest Upper Box LCA Upper Box Cheapest

Plan A $405 $378 $163 $148

Plan B $403 . $378 $141 $134

Plan C $504 $422 $171 $146

Plan D $469 $437 $174 $151

Plan E $494 $430 $173 $142

Plan F $435 $377 $153 $136

The difference between the LCA column and the cheapest column is this. Cheapest is exactly what it says, the absolute cheapest tickets you could get anywhere, almost always on Stubhub. They were available when I checked yesterday. They may or may not be available now. LCA, means lowest commonly available, or a price at which there is a reasonable amount of supply. So if the prices for the cheapest tickets offered for a game are $7, $10. $10, and $10, $7 is the cheapest price and $10 is the LCA price. Nonetheless, given how thin some of these markets are this early in the year I certainly can't guarantee that you will find tickets available at even the LCA price.

A few conclusions and notes:

1. If you are waiting to buy corner box seats until single game seats go on sale, no need to wait. For 63 out of 81 games, almost everything other than the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and a few weekend games against the Angels, you can get tickets from third parties right now at or below the prices you would pay at the box office. And since the tickets for sale right now are almost all season tickets, the odds are very high that they are in better locations than you would get at the box office.

2 If you are waiting to buy Upper Box seats until single game tickets go on sale, there is even less reason to wait. Only 11 of 81 games are more expensive if bought on Stubhub than if you wait until March to buy them at the Rangers box office, assuming that you are buying four seats together.

3. While there is considerable variance among the various plans, buying a 10 game plan in corner box seats can be a pretty good deal (1) if you really want to see about that many games including several against the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets, (2) if you would seriously consider paying market prices for opening day tickets in the corner boxes if you didn't get them as part of the plan; and (3) if you place a value on the limited pre-sale participation rights for ALDS and ALCS..

In that scenario, while you might be able to assemble seats for the same 10 games for $377 instead of the $430 by buying from third parties, it would still cost you $200 a seat for corner box seats for Opening Day that the Rangers are giving away for free for a total of $577. And that $577 could balloon to as much as $700 if you wanted to assemble plan C and didn't get the absolute lowest prices.

4. It is a lot less clear that it is worthwhile to buy a 10 game plan in the Upper box seats. Buying a 10 seat plan in that area from the Rangers would cost you $230 a seat. If you wanted 4 seats together, you could put together the same 10 games for as little as $134 dollars, even less than that if you didn't want/need Yankees and Red Sox games. It making sense to buy these seats would depend on your valuing the opening day seats at nearly their market price of a little over $100 or your putting significant value on the opportunity to participate in the pre-sale of whatever seats are still left for ALDS and ALCS. It would also help if you wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to trade in one of the low value games for a higher valued game like one against the Astros or Angels.

5. The Rangers have said that once opening day tickets allocated to the plans sell out, they will continue to offer the plans with the option to take any other game as the 11th game. While corner boxes might continue to make some sense if you took one of the Yankee games for which those seats are currently going for more than $100, it's a different story for the Upper Box plans. Without the Opening day seats you could do just as well buying on the opening market, even if you wanted an eleventh game against the Yankees or Red Sox. The only argument that might be made to buy the Upper Box Plan if/when free Opening Day seats are no longer available, would be based on the value of the post-season pre-sale rights.

6. If you want only two seats, the numbers are similar although the fee structure on Stubhub makes it slightly more expensive on a per ticket basis, perhaps as much as $20 more for 10 games of tickets.

7. Everything I have written about market prices is based on where prices stand before the promotional schedule is posted, more than two months before opening day, at a time where most tickets that will ultimately be listed haven't yet been put up for sale and most people who will want to go to a game or three aren't even thinking about buying seats. Prices will undoubtedly change as the year goes along. In what direction it is too soon to say although i will continue to follow it.