Marlins Hoping to Reverse Paltry Attendance With Lower Prices, New Points System
The Marlins this season are "hoping to end a run of three consecutive last-place finishes and equally poor results at the turnstiles," according to Spencer & Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. After a 100-loss season in which the Marlins "also pulled up the rear in league attendance," team execs "have taken a series of steps ... in hopes of producing more wins and larger crowds." To help boost attendance the Marlins "have lowered most ticket prices." Marlins President David Samson said, "It's supply and demand. We want more people. We didn't perform the way we should have performed. We're going to lower prices." When the Marlins moved into their new ballpark in '12, they said that they "expected to average at least 30,000 spectators per game and sell 15,000 season tickets annually, at least for the first few years." Even after an offseason "devoid of any public relations disasters, the Marlins are still trying to reach 5,000 season tickets." The team also is introducing a rewards system. Marlins Senior VP/Marketing & Event Booking Sean Flynn indicated that the program "will be available only to season-ticket holders this year, but to all ticket holders" beginning in '15. Season-ticket holders "will receive varying amounts of points for buying tickets, actually attending the games, posting Marlins-requested messages on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, and purchasing merchandise at the team store." Points "can be redeemed for tickets to future games, suite access, game-used bats or baseballs, retail items and passes to concerts or other Marlins Park events" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/31). Samson believes that the "slow pace of games might be hurting attendance and has told players to hurry it up" in a bid to make games faster. In Miami, Barry Jackson reported there also will be "more entertainment" at Marlins Park this season, with "concerts and parties in the Clevelander area on the east plaza on select Saturdays" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/30).
MAYORAL MALAISE: In Miami, Douglas Hanks wrote the Marlins heading into the new season "still face a tough sell with one of the country’s most reliable niche of baseball fans: Hometown mayors." Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez recently said, "I've never actually seen the Marlins play at Marlins stadium." Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said that he "has attended one Marlins game in two years, an outing with his grandchildren." He does not want the visit "mistaken for reconciliation, after joining Gimenez" in opposing the '09 deal that sent about $490M in borrowed government dollars to build the $645M Marlins Park and parking garages (MIAMI HERALD, 3/29).