The Ravens are putting single-game seats "up for sale" tonight coinciding with the release of the '18 schedule to "try to tap into fans' anticipation and better compete with secondary ticket brokers," according to Jeff Barker of the BALTIMORE SUN. Ravens Senior VP/Ticket Sales & Operations Baker Koppelman said the secondary ticket market "has really become a significant thing in the past few years." Koppelman: "We're competing with it. If you're going to compete with something, you want to compete from start to finish." Barker notes individual-game tickets last year "did not go on sale until June." Koppelman said the shift to what he called "the highest demand day of the year" is not the result of "any negativity or any panic." The Ravens said that season-ticket renewals are down nearly 5% "compared with this time a year ago." The club "acknowledged that there were a noticeably higher number of no-shows" this past season at M&T Bank Stadium due to player protests during the national anthem. The Ravens said they are reaching out to many fans about player protests and "redoubling the efforts of both the organization and our players to make the Baltimore area a better community." Koppelman said that selling some tickets early was "not part of the effort to curb no-shows" (BALTIMORE SUN, 4/19).
HOT OFF THE PRESS: In Cincinnati, Jim Owczarski reported the Bengals also for the first time will “allow fans to purchase single-game tickets for each game immediately” after the schedule is announced.If fans buy their tickets through the team, they “will not be subject to additional processing fees when they choose mobile tickets as the delivery option.”Small fees “will remain for will-call pickup or direct mail.”The Bengals are also running an online contest in which anyone who can correctly guess the opponent for their home opener will be “entered into a lottery, where a winner will be drawn and receive four tickets to the game” (CINCINNATI.com, 4/18).
DC United CEO Jason Levien is "assembling a group of investors from his ownership circle" with EPL club Swansea City to "help form the MLS team's new slate of shareholders," according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. The group is "likely to include American businessman Steve Kaplan, Levien's primary partner and money man at Swansea." The number of other Swansea figures to invest in DC United "hinges" on whether L.A. billionaire and Lakers investor Patrick Soon-Shoing "reaches a deal with Levien." Without Soon-Shiong, three or four from the Swansea group would "probably invest in United; otherwise it's likely going to be two or three." Sources said that Levien is buying Mahaka Group Founder Erick Thohir's 78% share to "form a new investment team." Thohir "might retain a small stake," but Levien is expected to "remain the face of the operation." Levien was slated to represent DC United at the MLS BOG meeting in L.A. this week, and was "tentatively scheduled to meet with Soon-Shiong" yesterday (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/17).
In Cincinnati, Steve Watkins reported the Reds have "re-launched an offer that gets fans a monthly 'subscription' to the team's home games for a flat price of $29.99 per month." Fans who buy the subscription "get a ticket in the top six rows of Great American Ball Park's upper deck to each home game in the month." The Reds have "at least 12 home games per month in each of the remaining five months of the season." The team "tested the subscription concept last year" at the same price point, and it "did well particularly among younger fans." Reds VP/Tickets & Business Development Aaron Eisel said that 30% of the people who bought tickets through the plan were "new buyers of Reds tickets" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/18).
GETTING A FREE PASS: In San Jose, Jon Becker reports MLB "won't count" Tuesday night's White Sox-A's free admission game toward the A's official attendance total count to spare the club the "indignity of having a zero or something close to it." This means when tabulating attendance, the A's are "now scheduled to have 80 home dates, instead of the usual 81." Erasing a zero-fan game from the totals will "obviously help the A's average attendance numbers." There were 46,765 fans who "took advantage of free admission" on Tuesday, but that figure "couldn't be used as the official attendance since teams are required to allow a reported 34% of its daily ticket revenue to be available for the revenue sharing pool" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 4/19).
REWARD FOR THE REAL MVPS: The Pirates following Tuesday night's home game against the Rockies rewarded fans who "sat through snow flurries, frigid wind and near freezing temperatures." As fans left the game, they were "given a voucher good for one lower-level available seat for any game Monday through Thursday the rest of the season." Temperature at game time on Tuesday was 34 degrees, two degrees colder than Monday when the Pirates "announced a paid crowd of 8,958" (TRIBLIVE.com, 4/17).
PUT A RING ON IT: Every Astros fan attending the team's June 20 game against the Rays at Minute Maid Park "will get" a replica World Series ring. The Astros "originally gave replica rings to the first 10,000 fans who attended" Padres-Astros on April 6. Fans "began getting in line early that Friday morning to make sure they got a ring" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/17).
In Boston, Karen Guregian writes Patriots Owner Robert Kraft "needs to step in" with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and "get these people in the same room, and get everyone back on the same page." It was thought the tension between the three parties would "be resolved a long time ago," as Kraft had said that he "planned on meeting with Belichick and Brady after the Super Bowl." Kraft last month "indicated that meeting took place." However, it seems "nothing's been solved." It is time to try again because what is "playing out now isn't what's best" for the Patriots (BOSTON HERALD, 4/19).
THE SEARCH IS ON: SNY.tv's Chris Botta cited sources as saying that Islanders co-Owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are "in the process of identifying a top executive to join the Islanders' hockey operation department." It is "believed that the new hire would become Islanders GM" while current President & GM Garth Snow "would remain President" or be given a new title. Malkin and Ledecky will wait for the completion of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- to "see which executives become available -- before intensifying the process" (SNY.tv, 4/17).
LOONS SELL OUT: Minnesota United has reached its cap of 14,500 season tickets for '18 and will "start a waiting list for fans interested in season tickets at Allianz Field" in '19. Fans "can be put on the waiting list by purchasing five-plus or 10-plus match mini-plans" for '18 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/19).