SBD/April 1, 2011/MLB Season Preview

Rangers See Unprecedented Demand For Tickets To Friday's Home Opener

Rangers have already sold more than 1.5 million tickets this season
The Rangers have "generated never-before-seen demand for tickets" to Friday's home opener against the Red Sox, according to Leigh Munsil of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Rangers Exec VP/Communications John Blake: "It was an unprecedented demand that we had never experienced before for an opener. You might be able to make a point that there was more demand for this game than there may have been for postseason games." Blake noted that the increased demand for Opening Day tickets "prompted the club to hold a lottery in February for the 'considerably less than 10,000' tickets still available for individual sale after season ticket packages were distributed." The lottery, the first in club history, resulted in 120,000 entries, and the club "turned away thousands of disappointed fans." The game as of Wednesday was the "third-hottest ticket of its kind on the secondary market." FanSnap.com Dir of Corporate Communications Christian Anderson indicated that the "only higher-priced opening day games" are the Red Sox' April 8 home opener against the Yankees and the Giants' April 8 home opener against the Cardinals. Anderson added that the average ticket price for Red Sox-Rangers was $207 as of Wednesday, and the "cheapest standing room spot was $60." Munsil noted as of Wednesday there were "1,000 or so tickets still available for Saturday -- when the players will be presented with their American League Championship rings." Also, "4,000 tickets are available for Sunday." The Rangers have already sold "almost 1.5 million tickets for the 2011 season," up 66% over the same point last year. Blake noted the team "did not reach 1.5 million tickets sold last year until June 22" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/31).

PLAYOFF PAYOFF: In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway wrote after a decade of "mostly sagging attendance and interest, the Rangers are by far the hottest ticket in town." The 1.5 million tickets sold is the "highest opening day total in a decade," and new Rangers season-ticket sales have "reached 3,500, more than the last five seasons combined." The team also has "surpassed the 15,000 mark in full season ticket equivalents for the first time since 2001." Galloway: "The powerful and emotional surge for baseball that exploded in October and into November ... has carried over rather well." This is despite Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban admitting that the "current local market is as tough a sell as he's seen for his NBA club that keeps winning its 50 plus games a season." The Rangers also had a "docile, uneventful, uninspiring off-season, followed by a tepid spring training," but fans "didn't prove to be skeptics when it came to the hip pocket" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/31).

QUIET MONEY MEN: In Dallas, Barry Horn notes Rangers co-Chairs Ray Davis and Bob Simpson are the two men who "rescued the Rangers last summer when they led a partnership group that bought the team out of bankruptcy." But during last season's World Series run, the two "never set foot in the front-row owners box next to the home-team dugout at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington." Davis and Simpson "tiptoed out front when they flanked" team President & CEO Nolan Ryan at the news conference to announce that former Managing Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg was leaving the franchise, and Davis in his opening remarks "pointed out he was attending his first Rangers news conference and probably his last." But Davis said that he and Simpson "are scheduled to be on the field" when the Rangers receive their ALCS rings on Saturday (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/1).

STILL IN HICKS' HANDS: In Dallas, Jeff Mosier reported though former Rangers Owner Tom Hicks "no longer has a stake in the team he lost in a bankruptcy court auction last year," most parking at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is "still in Hicks' hands." Arlington Deputy City Manager Troy Yelverton said that the two sides are "still negotiating lease terms as this season approaches." Yelverton added that "all the contracts with Hicks' companies and the Rangers specify that there must be parking for the baseball games," and that even if contract talks "continue into the season ... fans shouldn't see any difference" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/31).
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Texas Rangers, Baseball, Franchises

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