SBD/March 24, 2014/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Phillies Facing Significant Season-Ticket Sales Drop

In Philadelphia, Chris Hepp noted the Phillies for the "second season running … are heading toward opening day at home with seats still to fill.” The team is “looking at a significant drop in season-ticket sales, as well.” Phillies VP/Sales & Ticket Operations John Weber said, “Our sales numbers are down. Last year, we had about 24,000 season-ticket holders. We are going to have between 18 (thousand) and 19,000 this year, which still ranks us in the top of baseball. It is a very solid number, but not where we have been." Hepp noted the development is not surpising "given the team's failure to make the playoffs the last two seasons.” Weber: “Things are a lot different than they have been in the past. The ticket climate is different than three or four years ago” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/21).

MONSTER MASH: In Boston, Callum Borchers reported Red Sox ticket sales for the '14 season are “up 14.5 percent” following last year's World Series win, but still not at the level following the ’04 championship. Red Sox COO and Fenway Sports Group President Sam Kennedy said, “I don’t think we’ll return to the crazed marketplace of ’05 to ’08. There’s an expectation now around winning.” Meanwhile, Kennedy said he was “very nervous about putting signs over" Fenway Park's Green Monster. He said, “I was worried about perception: Are you over-capitalizing? I remember [Red Sox Senior Advisor] Charles Steinberg brought a book into a staff meeting and said, ‘Sam, I appreciate that you’re worried about desecrating the Green Monster, but look at this.’ It was a cigarette ad and a shaving cream ad on the Green Monster -- in color -- from the ’40s and ’50s. I slept much better that night” (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/23).

DOG DAYS: In Milwaukee, Kathy Flanigan writes Hank the dog “is the distraction the Brewers didn't plan on but should be grateful for” after a disappointing ‘13 season. PR firm Mary Beth West Communications Strategic Development Dir Tim Wirtz said, “It's a great way for them to deflect some of the negative public relations around the Ryan Braun situation.” He added Hank “is going to put butts in the seats.” Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger and VP of Communications Tyler Barnes said that they have “turned down numerous requests for Hank appearances, including a few television ones that would require travel” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/24).

MEET THE METS, FOR LESS: ESPN's Keith Olbermann noted the Mets had to "succumb to the embarrassing reality of Groupon" by offering $9 seats to "weekend games against the Reds, Marlins and Phillies." Olbermann said the $9 tickets were the "cheapest seats on Groupon" and are all for games prior to Mother's Day. Olbermann: "You know what you have to do if you have to offer $9 tickets on Groupon in New York? You either have to lower the prices or sell the damn team" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/22).
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