The White Sox will "reduce prices on 87 percent of their full season tickets as well as lower parking at U.S. Cellular Field for 2013" after drawing just 1,965,955 fans this season, 24th in the league, according to Mark Gonzales of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The cut in ticket prices, which will be "reduced by as much as 32 percent in the bleachers and 30 percent in the outfield reserved sections, follow a 2012 season in which home attendance dipped below the 2 million mark for the first time since 2004." The team "lowered the price of parking to $20, a reduction of $3 to $5 per game." More than 54% of full-season tickets "will be reduced by an average of 26 percent." Full-season tickets in the upper reserved section will "cost as low as $810 per seat and split season ticket plans will start as low as $297 per seat." The new policy comes "after the Sox commissioned a research project" by ESPN Sports Poll Founder Rich Luker. The White Sox "assessed the results of the project, which examined Sox fans’ sentiments on ticket prices and other factors determining their decision whether to attend games, as well as feedback on dynamic ticket prices and secondary market prices" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/19). MLB.com's Scott Merkin noted the corner seats in the lower deck "will be available for $20 per game and upper-deck corner seats will be available for $7 on a daily basis all season long (excluding only Opening Day and the two Cubs games in May), which accounts for nearly 5,000 seats per game" (MLB.com, 10/18). In Chicago, Daryl Van Schouwen noted the White Sox said a "small number" of fans will see a ticket-price increase due to high demand of their current locations. Those season-ticket holders are "being personally contacted by the White Sox" (SUNTIMES.com, 10/18).
NECESSARY MOVE: The Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton said the White Sox had to “do something to get people to the park, and I think the best way to do it is to say, ‘You can afford this more.’” WSCR-AM’s Hub Arkush said, "It's not that Sox fans are bad fans necessarily. It's not worth the aggravation from the Northside to try to get to that ballpark for a 7:00 start, and I don't know how the Sox fix that. I think that's a big a part of the problem as to whether or not they’re good fans.” Arkush also noted lower ticket prices "change the element of the fan base, and you do open yourself up to rowdier behavior, possibly more alcohol consumption." Arkush: "So there are other issues that you have to consider, and I am sure the Sox will keep a very close eye on it” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 10/18).
The pricing structure for season tickets at Dodger Stadium “doesn't appear to be changing significantly,” but season-ticket prices for “about 8,000 seats in the 56,000-seat ballpark will increase,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES. Prices for “more than 10,000 of them will go down” while “about 38,000 will remain the same.” Dodgers Senior Dir of Ticket Sales David Siegel said that “the price changes that occurred were largely the result of the reclassification of seats.” Hernandez adds, “Most notable are the six sections that used to be part of the ‘infield box’ area that are now part of the new ‘infield box value’ area.” Prices of a seat per game are “down from $50 to $35.” Some of the “most significant price increases will be in the top deck, where about half of the rows are being upgraded to ‘top deck front’ status.” The affected seats will “increase in price from $5 per game last season to $8 in 2013” (L.A. TIMES, 10/19).
NEW ADDITION: The Dodgers Thursday hired Rays Senior VP/Baseball Operations Gerry Hunsicker as Senior Advisor/Baseball Operations. He will assist GM Ned Colletti and President & CEO Stan Kasten. Hunsicker was with the Rays since’05. He also was Astros GM from ’96-’04 (Dodgers). MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick notes Hunsicker is the “first front-office addition since Guggenheim Baseball Partners bought the club in May.” Hunsicker “helped establish Tampa Bay's academy in Brazil and has been instrumental in sharpening the club's international focus, an area the Dodgers consider a high priority” (MLB.com, 10/19). In L.A., Steve Dilbeck wrote, “This hiring smells suspiciously like a Kasten maneuver. Kasten made it clear since he arrived in May, he wanted the Dodgers to have greater impact in the international market.” This is “addition without subtraction, the Dodgers’ makeover ongoing” (LATIMES.com, 10/18).
Toronto FC, which currently has an MLS-worst 5-20-7 record, is “rolling back” season-ticket prices to ‘07 inaugural season levels in a “bid to prevent season ticket-holders from abandoning ship,” according to Neil Davidson of the CP. Toronto FC parent company MLSE President & COO Tom Anselmi said, “We’ve let them (the fans) down in the quality of the product. ... If I’m a TFC fan, I’m upset, I get that.” He added that 90% of the season-ticket holders will “get a 20 per cent rollback and 40 per cent will see a 45 per cent reduction.” The top season-ticket price for stadium seating at BMO Field will drop to $1,007 (all figures Canadian) in '13 from $1,292 this year. The lowest price for a season ticket “will be $190, compared to $361 in 2012.” The top season-ticket price “for a premium seat -- those who sit on the field behind the advertising hoardings -- drops to $2,850 from $3,515.” Single-seat prices “will remain unchanged for the third year.” Anselmi acknowledged that the team’s ticket prices “remain near the top of MLS teams.” There are 17 home games in the season and “thanks to an increasingly irate fan base, there have been lots of empty seats recently.” Toronto currently has 15,800 season-ticket holders and the club’s renewal rate “last year was 85 per cent, down a point.” In addition, the waiting list for season tickets “has dropped” (CP, 10/18).
The Heat-Bobcats preseason game in Raleigh next Tuesday is “nearing a sellout," and Bobcats management "says it could eventually play a regular-season NBA game in the Triangle,” according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. This would be “part of an expanded effort at marketing the Bobcats throughout the Carolinas.” Bobcats Exec VP and Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Pete Guelli on Thursday said, “Down the line we wouldn’t rule out a regular-season contest in an alternate market.” Bobcats President & COO Fred Whitfield said moving a regular-season home game outside Time Warner Cable Arena has been discussed “at a very high level internally.” He added that the Bobcats are “allowed to play up to two regular-season games a season outside Charlotte.” Whitfield said that any other arena “would have to be ‘NBA quality,’ which likely limits options to at most three sites in the Carolinas" -- Raleigh's PNC Arena, the Greensboro Coliseum or the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Bonnell writes PNC Arena “is intriguing” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/19).