They have a history that dates back to the first game in 1903 but there may not be any tickets to collect for the 2020 World Series.
Major League Baseball has allowed about 11,500 socially distanced, masked fans to be in the stands for this year’s games, but so far we haven’t seen any physical tickets come to market for collectors to snare. It’s another blow to a market that still has a strong base of collectors but seems to be more of a relic from the past.
Tickets to the games at Globe Life Field in Texas were sold online only in downloadable, print at home style. While you can now buy admission from online sellers on eBay, there are no listings for the hard copy tickets.
“If any hard copy tickets do get distributed, I’d look for very high values,” long-time collector and stub chronicler Russ Havens told Sports Collectors Daily. “Covid obviously is making for a very strange year. Plus the low attendance figure would drive that number higher as well.”
In the last couple of years, pro sports leagues have moved to digital ticketing but hard copies are still printed in some cases, especially for high profile events or to season ticket holders. Many fans don’t use them, though, preferring to keep them intact and asking ticket takers scan their cell phone bar code when they enter.
“This means a glut of perfect condition tickets,” Havens says. “I’m seeing three-game strips of 2019 World Series tickets selling for $75 and single tickets for $25. For 2017, an Astros Game 5 World Series ticket – ungraded – will set you back $75. By contrast, a 1972 World Series ticket stub from Game 7 sells for about $40.”
Sometimes, teams won’t print admission tickets but will issue commemorative tickets on demand for those who bought admission and want a keepsake.
For those who go to an event that doesn’t offer a hard copy ticket or simply want to make one for a past event, there are other options. Havens cited Ticket Stub Time Machine as one such provider.
Like sports cards, the market for collectible tickets has been strong this year. Havens, who tracks prices and provides visual checklists and other information on his website, says eBay listings for ticket stubs have climbed from 70,000-80,000 to over 120,000 at times and auctions ending with a winning bid are up from around 13,000 per day to over 20,000 in recent months.
Havens says prices for more common ticket and ticket stub values have dipped a bit over the last several years but overall, values have remained relatively steady.
If you decide to pony up the money and make a last minute trip to see the World Series in one of the strangest seasons of all, you’ll be one of a small number of people who can say they were there. You just won’t be able to show off the ticket you carried inside.