SBD/December 4, 2012/Franchises

MLB Cardinals To Raise Ticket Prices In Every Section Of Busch Stadium

Cardinals fans will pay a dollar more for bleacher seats in '13
The MLB Cardinals for the first time since moving into Busch Stadium III in '06 "are raising tickets prices in every section for the upcoming season," according to Goold & Hummel of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said that while some seats "will see an increase of only $1, overall the ticket prices will have an average hike of 4 percent." DeWitt: "It’s a little ahead of inflation but that’s primarily due to higher costs in the all-inclusive areas. The vast majority of the seats will see the smaller increase." In previous years, the Cardinals "have had price freezes in certain areas of the ballpark." Bleacher seats "will climb to $18 a game this season after staying at $17 the past three seasons." DeWitt said that "77 percent of season tickets will increase by a dollar, with the remaining 23 percent seeing increases up to about $10." Seats behind home plate "will jump from $205 per game to $215 for season-tickets holders." The increase in prices is "partially based on the data the Cardinals have collected from allowing season-ticket holders to sell tickets on a secondary market." DeWitt cited a StubHub report which said that "season tickets saw an average increase of $26 on the secondary market, and for premium games (for example: opening day, against the Cubs) they had an average uptick of $90." With the "added cost of all-inclusive tickets, which include food and drinks, the Cardinals wanted to move closer to the prices in the secondary market." The team will "continue to use dynamic pricing" to set the cost of single-game tickets (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/4).

STRIKING GOLD: In St. Louis, Derrick Goold writes a "genuine gold rush is afoot in baseball as teams, mostly from the largest markets, strike it mega-rich with rights fees that are radically changing the game’s economics and rosters." Cardinals Chair Bill DeWitt Jr. said, "A lot of big TV deals are getting done, and it shows you the value of the rights to live sports programming. We’re in new territory with some of these deals. Payrolls follow revenue." Goold notes market size will "be the driving force behind these rising fees, leaving midmarket teams like the Cardinals and clubs in smaller markets behind in the rights race, victims of geography and cable boxes." The Cardinals are "in the middle of a long-term deal with Fox Sports Midwest that is competitive for their market size." Sources said that the contract "goes through 2017 and the Cardinals have an option for 2018." Sources added that the Cardinals "currently receive a rights fee of between $25 million and $28 million." The contract "has escalators built in that will move the Cardinals toward $30 million." Both sides "declined to confirm or discuss the details of the deal citing confidentiality." DeWitt Jr. said, "For us to stay a top-tier team we need to be in line to have really strong attendance, which we have been able to do. That hasn’t changed. We’re never going to be a top TV-revenue team, that’s for sure" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/4).
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