The Dirty Side Of Giveaways

This past Saturday the first SGA Bobblehead (Stadium Giveaway) was supposed to happen. Due to the Weather Gods hating the White Sox, it was postponed to July 3rd as a part of a split double header. No need to exchange your tickets, they still work for the 1st game that will go down at 1pm (Gates will open 11:30 am). But that evening, 2 of the 20k bobbleheads that were to be released ended up on Ebay. Wut? Yeah, that’s straight dirty.

Pretty low starting big, but the Buy It Now seems about right. So how does this happen? Let’s review some “facts” about the giveaways.

1 – Most of the giveaways are not limited to the number that they give away. We know this for many reasons. Season Ticket Holders will get the giveaway box at the end of the year, so you have that number that must be produced to give to them. They also have to account for breakage, so you have those extras. When the garage sale is selling the giveaways, it might not always be leftovers, it can 100% be an extra that was produced and paid for by the White Sox. So if you have 20k given away, you figure they make about 30k. Maybe more, maybe less.

2 – People DO get them early. I was sitting behind home, most likely in Mr. Hand’s seats, on a Friday a few seasons ago. The next night they were giving away the Star Wars Stormtrooper Bobble. A couple in front of us had one, so no, it’s not impossible to get one before the release. Again, that might not go against the rules as it isn’t part of the 20k they are giving away.

3 – This is something that many guys who collect giveaways have been seeing for years. The Yankees were giving out a Babe Ruth bobble a few years back and the game was rained out. Some snuck outta the stadium and were on Ebay that same day. Cubs gave away the Final Out bobble in 2017, and that game was rained out too. It caused some issues as some collectors had flown in just for that bobble. People that had suites were let in so those guys got the bobbles but the rest of the public did not. That as well as the Ruth commanded a big price out the gate due to limited numbers being available. So even when it is cancelled, or postponed, someone will usually get some out to be sold.

Back to the Abreu, a quick look at the seller, he sells tons of giveaways for pretty low prices. Demand might be low, but there were a few things that he/she sold for well below market. Just checking today, he/she has a bunch of these. Several new listings have been put up just today with other giveaway items matched with the Jose. Most with White Sox giveaways.

The above auction has more than 10 available. Guessing this person has a case or more of the Jose Abreu bobblehead that wasn’t given out last Saturday. Wow. How does that happen? It’s something that started last year, and guys that do resale took notice.

Last year, I saw the biggest decline of SGA (stadium giveaway) resale prices on the secondary market I have ever seen. Even with an $8 ticket, it was tough for resellers to make much of a  profit on most items due to some rock bottom prices being floated out there. I bought the least amount of extra tickets I ever have, mostly due to the market being down, partially due to another addition in my life. Also, in the 6 years I have been in the game, I haven’t seen this many guys doing resale. It keeps growing, and growing, and growing.

Don’t get me wrong, all this is good for the consumer. I like that an out-of-town Sox fan can get a cheap price on an item, but for me, my time is worth something. It also is a crapshoot which items are gonna be in demand. I feel like once the team get’s good again, the overall demand will be back, maybe. But let’s take a look at some of the prices that appeared at the end of last year.

$19.99 shipped for the Tim Anderson bobblehead. Let me break this down for you. Ticket is $8. Shipping, at the very least is $7.10. Ebay is gonna take $2 and PayPal will take about $0.35. Add that up, you profit $2.54. Risking $8 to make less than $3 doesn’t seem like smart business. But it is what it is.

So what’s going on here? Bad business guy? Really nice guy who cares about the fans? The rumors that I heard about the new seller(s) were what you would imagine. They were stolen. Hot items. If you figure that in, yeah, an $11 profit makes alot more sense than $2.54. So who knows, they could have been stolen to sell at that price

Now, it just wasn’t this guy selling stuff from the south side. There was also a guy selling on the north side. Check this auction out –

This was one that really sold me on the stolen item theory. At the time of this pic (last summer) he had sold 57 jerseys. Now, at $24.99 shipped, it breaks down like this – $3 in fees to Ebay and PayPal, $4 to ship. So $17.99 to buy the ticket for the game. How is that possible up north? Sold out game. Tuesday night in the summer. Plus the quanitiy seems to be pretty large. So you tell me? What do you think it is?

A quick search told me that the seller of the Tim Anderson was no longer a member of Ebay. The Cubs guy (he also sold Sox stuff, large qty there too) is still on there but I ain’t gonna blow up his game. When confronted, he said he takes large groups to games and keeps the giveaways. Which, maybe I believe on the southside, but I don’t buy it up north. So the mystery will live on.

Will we see the market come back around or will more and more guys get into the game and drive the prices down ever further? I think the latter. There’s always 2 or 3 giveaways that end up in high demand and you can make a few bucks. To most of us, the price getting driven down so low makes it less and less desirable to spend that extra money to buy more to flip for some quick cash. Great for fans who can’t make the game though, take advantage as long as you can. We get good, it’s game on again.

Hopefully the stealers / scammers (if that is what is going on) will be caught before then. And it would benefit the White Sox to get this under control. If fans see that they can get a limited giveaway shipped to them for less than a trip to the old ballpark, is that gonna increase business? I don’t think it will. Especially during these low ticket sales times. For guys that do resale, it’s hard to make a decent profit when going against a guy who get’s the items for free. They can cut that price so low as there is $0 investment and still turn a decent profit.

What do you guys think? Tweet it at me @mysoxsummer. Looking forward to the responses.

-MSS

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