SBD/Issue 15/Franchises

Mets Cut Ticket Prices Mostly Due To Economy, Not Losing Season

Mets Ticket Price Cuts Among The Deepest
Being Pursued By Any Team For '10 Season
Mets execs said the club’s '10 ticket pricing plan, led by average cuts of more than 10% for full-season tickets and in excess of 20% in some sections of Citi Field, was driven primarily by the economy as opposed to the club’s ugly fourth-place finish in the NL East. The price cuts, while to some degree expected, are among the deepest being pursued by any MLB team for the ’10 season, with many other clubs, including the Yankees, generally holding prices steady. “As we were putting together the plan, looking at purchasing patterns and so forth, the owners definitely wanted to be aggressive,” said Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard. “The economy was definitely the main thing here. We can’t deny that team performance was a factor, but we also wanted to have this be an expression of thanks for the support we’ve received throughout the season.” Certain areas of Citi Field were found to be overpriced during the club’s analysis, he said. In a letter sent to season-ticket holders, the club in part said, “Everyone at the Mets ... shares your disappointment with the 2009 season. We are also determined to get the organization and the team to where you -- and we -- want to be: a championship caliber team for 2010. You will soon hear from ownership and (GM) Omar (Minaya) about how we plan to improve the ball club through a combination of player signings, trades, enhanced player development and continued commitment to one of the highest player payrolls in Major League Baseball" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). 

CITI ON DOWN: Howard said that the tickets with the "largest declines will be in sections on the field level and second deck that adjoined lower-priced seats." He noted that fans "tended to avoid those higher-priced sections in favor of seats nearby that were cheaper." The Mets might "expand the number of clubs at the stadium that fans can visit next year" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2). In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch notes the Mets also plan to "cut prices by reducing the number of games classified as 'gold level' in their variable pricing system and making those games part of the two cheaper designations, 'bronze,' and 'value.'" The Mets appear to have "learned from their disastrous experiment to sell individual tickets on a monthly basis -- rather than making the entire schedule available before the season" (N.Y. POST, 10/2).

Mets Not Fearing Typical Second
Season Attendance Drop At Citi Field
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Howard said he is not fearing the typical attendance drop seen in the second year of new facilities. “There is that year two pattern, but we’re not as concerned. Even amid everything that’s happened this year, the injuries and the disappointment we all certainly felt with our record, the ballpark has been the star of the season, and the fan experience has been exceptional.” The ticket price cuts will generate at least a mid-seven figure drop in projected revenue, but Howard said it was conceivable to make that sum up through increased attendance, even with Citi Field filling this season to 93% capacity with an average attendance of nearly 39,000 per game. “It’s feasible. That’s going to depend in part playing well from the outset, which we’re obviously confident of doing once we come back healthy and rejuvenated. But, yes, the idea is for this to spark increased sales.” Meanwhile, efforts are ongoing to install more imagery of the club’s history in and around Citi Field, and the Mets will install a team hall of fame and museum in an as-yet-undetermined location in the ballpark, with artifacts to be displayed there to include the franchise’s two World Series trophies (Fisher).

GOING DEEP: In N.Y., Joe Ward writes Citi Field appears to be "fan friendly," but "is the field too large?" The team previously indicated that it has "no intention of making any alterations to Citi Field" for next season, but "should the Mets think about moving home plate 10 feet forward so they could shorten Citi Field's dimensions without having to knock down any walls?" The Mets designed the new ballpark "to be a pitcher-friendly park, just as Shea Stadium was often thought to be," but whether they "want to admit it or not, the Mets might have gotten more than they bargained for" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2).

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