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Ticketmaster dives headfirst into baseball

Baseball's Seattle Mariners and Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch have a pitch for fans: Name your own price for tickets to the ballgame.

Baseball's Seattle Mariners and Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch have a pitch for fans: Name your own price for tickets to the ballgame.

Mariner fans can log on to Mariners.CitySearch.com to bid on tickets to the July 27 game between the Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays in the first of a three-game pilot program. Ticketmaster and the Mariners are using the program to test a dynamic pricing model similar to the one made famous by Priceline.com.

This is the first tryout of such a model by any professional sports team, the companies said, and comes at a time when clubs are charging onto the Internet.

The move also comes on the heels of the deal Tickets.com struck to provide online ticketing services for Major League Baseball. Analysts considered the partnership a coup for the smaller and struggling rival to Ticketmaster Online.

As part of the pilot program, Mariner fans can learn about available seats and see what others are bidding for them via the Internet. They will have choices of buying tickets in either $32 lower box seats or $14 upper deck seats.

The benefit for fans is that they can find deals if demand for a game is low, the companies said. For team owners, the pricing model will provide insight into how to price tickets, which could lead to having more seats filled.