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Volume 21 No. 17
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5. What’s next for MLB’s Ballpark Pass products?

Ballpark Pass products sold more than 900,000 tickets last year.
The top story for MLB attendance in 2017 was fairly dour, with the league sliding at the gate for the fourth time in five seasons, and the final regular-season figure of 72.67 million standing as the sport’s lowest since 2003. But last year also marked the season that the sport’s Ballpark Pass products hit mass availability and fan acceptance.

Started several years ago by four MLB clubs as a way to move excess inventory in soft parts of the schedule, the subscription-based ticket products were offered last year by 23 MLB clubs. The remainder were largely constrained by facility or schedule issues, and that number is now expected this year to move closer to all 30 clubs. The passes collectively sold more than 900,000 tickets last year, and proved to be particularly popular among millennial fans.
Most of the 2018 Ballpark Pass offerings have yet to be announced. But a big push this coming season will be to expand the concept beyond lower-demand inventory and standing-room access into higher-quality levels of seating and broader ranges of experiential components.

The single-team subscription ticket offers in baseball are further supplemented by ongoing efforts by Experience and new President and CEO Junior Gaspard to expand the multisport offering Inwego. The service, billed as sort of a Netflix for live sports, is slated for expansion into more areas this year beyond test markets of the mobile technology company’s native Atlanta and Phoenix.

“There’s also a lot that can still be done here to more deeply integrate with corporate sponsors,” Gaspard said.