When it became clear that the Kansas City Royals would be punching their ticket to the 2014 World Series, Jeremy Scheuch decided he’d do just about anything to be there.
So after analyzing the financial demands of attending a World Series game in Kansas City — a $500 flight from his home in Chicago, $1,000 or so for a single ticket — and deeming them too great, the 35-year-old Shawnee Mission East grad took to Twitter to tender a standing offer to any current or former Royal:
If a player provides him with a pair of World Series tickets, Scheuch will, in turn, tattoo the face of that player on his backside.
“If I can literally sell my rear end,” he said Friday, “I would have no problem with that.”
Certainly, Scheuch isn’t the only native Kansas Citian angling to be on hand when the Royals host the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 on Tuesday. And while the price of admission might not be as steep — or permanent — as a backside tattoo, any Royals fan hoping to attend should expect to dig deep into their pockets or pocketbooks.
According to SeatGeek, a national online ticket aggregator, tickets for the opening two games of the Royals-Giants World Series at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium are poised to become some of the most expensive of any Fall Classic in recent history.
As of Friday, the average cost for the Royals’ four potential home games was $1,563.71, according to ticket aggregator TiqIQ — significantly higher than the $1,094.01 average for the three games in San Francisco. Even standing-room-only seats at The K were fetching an average of $961.55.
Not exactly chump change, particularly for a Royals fan base accustomed to some of the cheaper regular-season tickets in baseball.
In many cases, the high costs have left average, everyday fans facing an unpleasant decision: Shell out historically high sums of money for World Series tickets or risk missing out on something that — if history is any indication — might not happen again for a very long time.
Take Jeff Russell, a 28-year-old former Royals season ticket holder.
A lifelong Royals fan, he was born in October 1985, in the heart of the Royals’ last World Series run. He grew up with the Royals. Loves the team.
But he and his wife are also saving up for a house. Their cars are getting older. And an $800 hit for a single standing-room-only ticket has the potential to postpone other large expenses.
“It’s kind of a disheartening experience having to wait literally your entire life for something like this and you’re either going to break the piggy bank or have to watch it on TV,” said Russell, who by Friday afternoon had secured tickets to Games 2 and 7.
The decision hasn’t been much easier for Kevin and Katherine Ruprecht. Although he was initially hesitant to take the financial hit of a pair of World Series tickets, Kevin was ultimately convinced by his wife that this wasn’t something they should miss.
“She pretty much just put her foot down and said we’re gonna go,” said Kevin, a data analyst for Cerner.
Of course, deciding to pull the trigger and actually doing it are two different things.
The day after the Ruprechts decided to buy tickets, Kevin logged onto StubHub, selected a pair of $798 tickets and then, faced with the heft of a roughly $1,600 purchase, couldn’t bring himself to actually do it.
“Just pushing that button, there’s a lot of (internal) resistance,” he said — though he insists he’s going to take another crack at it soon.
He might be wise to hurry, as prices have steadily risen since the team finished a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles earlier this week.
As of Friday, said SeatGeek’s Connor Gregoire, the average ticket price for Tuesday’s first game was $1,281 — up from $1,111 on Thursday and $1,078 on Wednesday. And for the most part, prices increase the deeper the teams get into the series. The average ticket to a potential Game 7, for instance, currently sits at $1,917.83, according to TiqIQ.
The reason for the particularly steep prices?
For one thing, the team will be making its first World Series appearance since 1985 — a nearly three-decade drought that has worn on even the most ardent Royals supporters.
But you can also thank the manner in which the Royals’ historic playoff run has played out, Gregoire said.
“The way that they’ve gone about getting here has added a little bit to the price of a ticket,” he said. “They’ve won all eight playoff games, and putting myself in the shoes of a Kansas City fan, there’s almost an added sense of security that if you pay $1,000, you’re not only going to see the first World Series game in 29 years, but you’re going to see a win.”
Indeed, as the excitement has grown, fans have shown a willingness to splurge. Self-imposed limits have been pushed — sometimes during the course of a single conversation.
Jeff Vulgamore of Lenexa explained Friday that he’d put a ceiling on how much he’d be willing to spend for a World Series ticket.
Unable to attend the first two games because of work constraints, his only chance would be Game 6 or 7, when the Royals return, if necessary, to Kauffman Stadium after three games in San Francisco. He was born and raised in Kansas and loves the team every bit as much as the next guy, but he has his limits.
“I don’t want to spend over 800 bucks,” he said.
A few minutes later, after discussing the team’s magical playoff run, he amended his previous statement.
“I doubt that I’ll spend over a grand,” he announced.
A few minutes later, he was asked whether — if push came to shove — he might be willing to pay $1,200 for a ticket if the Royals returned to Kansas City with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to close it out at Kauffman.
He paused for a moment, turning the question over in his mind.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I won’t.”
Beware of scams
As World Series ticket sales heat up, it’s important to ensure that you are buying genuine tickets from a credible source. Any big sporting event brings out scammers with counterfeit tickets and a dizzying variety of schemes.
“Whenever you buy Super Bowl or World Series tickets, there’s a very, very, very good chance you could easily be buying counterfeit or reprinted tickets,” said Hal Wagner, owner of Ace Sports and Nationwide Tickets. “Because the biggest events of the year are the ones that attract the most fraud.”
Be wary of Craigslist deals and parking lot purchases, he said.