Ohio State Learns Pricing … Finally


I’m a Buckeye. I graduated from Ohio State. I taught at Ohio State. I wrote an unpublished book on Woody Hayes quotes. I have a bobblehead for every OSU head coach (not Luke Fickel though). My basement was built for watching Buckeye football games.  I’m a Buckeye!

And yet, like normal people, I hate it when prices get raised on me. Ohio State raised prices.  In this case, it’s bittersweet. I may have to pay higher prices, but finally my Alma Mater has gotten closer to pricing intelligently.

In the past, a football ticket was a football ticket. Every one costs the same. This is insanely stupid. Watch Stubhub.com for prices of tickets of the best games and you’ll see prices of $500 a ticket or more. 10 years ago I spent $600 dollars for two seats to a scalper to watch my team play Michigan State, not even the big rival Michigan. People are willing to pay these prices. Why wasn’t Ohio State capturing any of these dollars?

Pricing should be based on willingness to pay.

This year in my alumni packet I received the following price list for Ohio State tickets:

“Ticket prices (including $6 service charge) for the 2015 season are: $71/each for University of Hawaii and Western Michigan; $85/each for Northern Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota; $131/each for Penn State and $156/each for Michigan State.” (Michigan is not a home game this year.)

YES! Not that I want to pay more, but they are finally pricing more intelligently. Obviously people are willing to pay more for some games than for others. They should be, and finally are, charging it. There’s no way to know if these are the exact right prices, but they are moving in the right direction. Congratulations to the folks who set prices at OSU.

What you should take away from this, besides my begging you to root for the Buckeyes, is you too have opportunities for price segmentation. Are you taking advantage of them? Do you even know what they are?

Answer the questions, what types of products, what situations, what times of year, are people willing to pay more for your product? Whenever some segment is willing to pay more, consider charging them more. Pricing may be hard, but not that hard.


Photo by Chris Metcalf

Mark Stiving

Mark Stiving

Mark Stiving is chief pricing educator with Impact Pricing LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn

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