Braves, Falcons Fans Wary Of Ticket-Price Hikes At New Venues Planned For '17
While Braves and Falcons officials said that they will set prices at their new facilities -- both slated to open in '17 -- "carefully and strategically ... to ensure access for a wide variety of fans," many are "well aware that teams in new stadiums tend to raise prices for just about everything, especially tickets," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Team Marketing Report data shows that the six MLB teams that have opened new ballparks since '06 increased ticket prices by an average of 36% in the first season, while the six NFL teams that have moved into new stadiums since '03 hiked prices by an average of 26%. The Braves have said that they "won’t sell" PSLs for their planned Cobb County ballpark. The Falcons will sell PSLs for their new downtown stadium, but "haven’t revealed the prices -- a source of worry for some fans." The 49ers sold Levi's Stadium PSLs for $2,000-80,000; the Giants and Jets sold MetLife Stadium PSLs for $1,000-25,000; and the Cowboys sold AT&T Stadium PSLs for $2,000-150,000. Falcons Owner Arthur Blank and President & CEO Rich McKay have repeatedly said that their PSL program "won't be in the same ballpark as those examples." Although neither team has "set ticket prices for the new stadiums, both have acknowledged plans for an increased inventory of premium, pricey seats with luxurious amenities in prime locations." Braves Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Derek Schiller said that the team's ballpark "will have about 8,000 fewer seats than rarely filled Turner Field, but 'we will have more than enough seats to offer affordably priced tickets and also to offer the premium and even super-premium seats for those who want it'" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 12/14).
ECONOMIC UNDERPINNINGS: The AP's Ray Henry wrote, "For the Braves, abandoning downtown Atlanta for the suburbs means moving closer to the team's fan base and developing money-making restaurants and amenities." Team officials said that it is "simply good business." But the decision also "highlights long-standing disparities over wealth, where people live and transportation -- all facets of life connected to race and social class in Atlanta." The Braves "will be moving from an area that's predominantly black and relatively poor compared to whiter Cobb County -- where the team says more ticket-buyers live." Georgia Tech professor emeritus Larry Keating, who has studied Atlanta's development, said, "It becomes a class issue in a lot of ways. A lot of the primo stuff that is highly valued by the society ends up going where the wealthiest areas are." Team officials said that they were "looking at other factors" when they chose Cobb County. Schiller: "We don't look at the exact makeup of the race, religion factor of that ticket buyer. What we're concerned about as a business that sells tickets is where do our ticket buyers come from? ... We are moving closer to where the majority of our ticket buyers come from" (AP, 12/14).