Springsteen seats: Why the price is right

Something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it

I’ve sold two houses in my life. And, on both occasions, I got as much money as I could. I’ve purchased three houses. And, on each occasion, I paid as little as I could. Better said, I paid what I was able to afford — a stipulation that put many houses out of reach.

Of course, this is what happens in a market-rate economy.

It’s the analogy I always use when people complain about the prices of sports or entertainment — whether it was years ago, when New York Giants fans were required to buy a seat license at MetLife Stadium (which then gave you the right to buy tickets), or now, for tickets to see Bruce Springsteen’s first show in New Jersey in seven years. (And, who knows, maybe his last).

Lifelong fans felt they were entitled to some sort of discount — and that the team or artist should not do what everyone else does: Sell services and products for what the market will bear.

Tickets to see Springsteen in April at the Prudential Center will go on sale Friday morning. No one can be certain what the cost will be, as the dynamic pricing used by Ticketmaster will determine the price. The only thing you can be sure of is that some will be priced in the thousands of dollars.

Here’s the catch: They only will sell for that amount if someone is willing to pay that amount. Simple as that.

Of course, the idea of the market determining the price is driving fans — and now politicians — crazy.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) said as much Thursday afternoon, calling for an Assembly hearing into the fairness of ticket pricing practices in New Jersey:

“I am extremely troubled by the actions of Ticketmaster and other vendors, whose policies have left so many unsuspecting fans with outrageous ticket prices and fees, making attendance to certain Jersey concerts unaffordable for working folks,” Coughlin said in a statement.

“It’s highly unfair that only the wealthiest can afford access to a quality show, under these circumstances. We have tremendous venues in New Jersey for sports, concerts, theater and arts. It’s one of our great attributes. Not being able to afford or be given fair access to see your favorite band or team play is simply unfair.”

What exactly is unfair?

There’s a product in high demand that will fetch what people are willing to pay for it.

Is it unfair that some concerts at the Prudential Center do not sell out because there is not the same fan interest?

Then, there’s this: Hasn’t this always been the case for concerts? Only now, the artists and those putting on the show get full value — rather than having to share it with the Mike Damones of the world.

Does that make artists greedy — or even tone deaf? In this age of data analytics, we’re betting the artists are aware of what price point truly will hurt their brand. That’s for them to decide.

Just as it’s up to the fans to decide what price they are willing to pay.

And not just for Bruce shows.

Would you be surprised to learn that tickets to see Styx and REO Speedwagon at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel this summer are going for as high as $1,270? We’ll let the market determine if that price is right, too, right?

Springsteen himself has been quiet on the subject — even as seats were listing for as much as $4,000 for concerts in some other markets — markets that don’t have nearly the adulation for him as New Jersey does.

Springsteen’s manager, Joe Landau, finally broke the silence in comments to the New York Times.

“Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range,” he said. “I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”

Landau does not have to justify the prices. If people are willing to pay the price — if they feel it is a value for them — then the price is right.

It’s no different than the price of a nice dinner, a nice car or a nice set of clothes. Like concerts, these products all have multiple price points.

As do houses.

I would love to have a Shore house to go to this weekend. I don’t. I can’t find one that’s in my budget. But if you ever know of someone who is selling theirs for far below market value, let me know.