1. APBA Guy said...

    As far as the A’s fans are concerned, the price reductions are long overdue. Attendance is down to nearly 10,000 a game lately, despite perfect weather. The drop, from roughly 16,000 last year reflects two bad years of overall team performance with little likelihood of playoff baseball in 2010, a lack of name recognition, unease about the team’s future (Las Vegas A’s?), and the natural consequence of Lew Wolfe continuously bad-mouthing the Mausoleum while accomplishing nothing by way of alternatives.

    In 1998, when I first started watching the A’s live, the best seats behind the dugout were $ 22. This year they are $ 48. The product on the field is demonstrably inferior now. Those seats should be priced around $ 32.

  2. Flynn said...

    I think the A’s are in a little bit of trouble. They’ve got renewed stiff competition locally in the face of the Giants. They have a horrible stadium which has deteriorated in terms of maintenance over the last five years. They aren’t getting people to show up even for Red Sox/Yankees games, as the rather stiff prices they are charging to sit in an epic dump with an artificially low capacity – a terrible idea – keep casual fans and fans of the other team from coming, which impacts the A’s bottom line. And most importantly, the team is crap and no fun to watch.

    They could easily become the Expos if they don’t get it together. They already struggle for attention, if they don’t put their hands in their pocket to get some players and freshen up the Coliseum while the Giants are good, marketable and play in a palace then they could become totally irrelevant on the local scene. It’s just not that much of a hike for East Bay people who live near BART to go to AT&T instead and the local rivalry isn’t to the level that A’s fans wouldn’t just go put their Giants hats on instead.

  3. Bob Tufts said...

    It’s better to reduce your seat prices and attract fans than give seats away, which makes those who actually bought tickets feel used (see WNBA).

    All teams at some point will adjust seat prices up to the last minute in order to act like hotwire (the Giants are almost there) in order to at least get someone in the stadium to park, buy merchadise and food.

  4. Michael said...

    Most MLB teams actually held their ticket prices down up until the early- to mid-90s: US inflation historically increased at a higher rate.

    The past 10 years has really been a period of adjustment, aided by the replacement of almost all ballparks. Yankees excepted, the MLB ticket market is what economists would call “efficient.”

    Some people get angry when they can’t afford to seat their family of 4 in the front rows of box seats, but that’s not a right they’ve ever had (or arguably one they should have – keep those kids safe!). MLB fans who find good sightlines in the cheaper seats (especially the front rows of the upper deck) are the smartest shoppers in sports.

    Now, concession prices: THAT’S gouging. But that’s to be expected when the team simply bids for the contractor who promises the highest revenues.

  5. Michael said...

    Oh, and re: the A’s, their fan base has proved itself over the course of many decades to be the very definition of “fair-weather.” I’ve always had a good time when I’ve visited that park. Yes, it’s old. Yes, the A’s got screwed by Al Davis.

    But while it’s not AT&T Park, as someone who lived with the Kingdome I can tell you it’s hardly the end of the world to have easy transit access and relatively inexpensive seats in a park that while not optimal, is by no means decrepit.

    And an “artifically low capacity” only comes into play when you can somehow reach that capacity. Come back then and we’ll talk.

  6. Flynn said...

    They never reach that capacity because people do not go to the games they want to go to, because they think tickets are gone. The A’s have discouraged walkups, which is a huge part of their ticket base. These people by and large have not turned into advance ticket buyers and the A’s have not found how to replace them.

    For example, from 2003-2005 the A’s averaged 38,647 for a game versus the Red Sox or Yankees. From 2006-2008 they averaged 31,446. All of these visits came early in the season, so the A’s didn’t even have the excuse of being disappointing – in all of these years the A’s were playing pretty decent baseball when the big fanbase teams arrived (and in 2006 they were good, period). In my myopia I forgot to calculate the Giants in this, but they have had a few sub-30,000 crowds versus the Giants in the last two years compared to the average of nearly 50,000 per game from 2003-2005.

    As someone who has been to the vast majority of these games there has been a reduction in the away team’s fans which in my opinion is due to the belief that there will not be tickets for purchase at the gate. For some this might not be a problem but the A’s are on pace to draw about 1.4 million this year – an extra 120,000 fans through the gate a year makes a difference.

    Furthermore comparing the Coliseum to the Kingdome is like saying Danny DeVito is tall because he’s taller than Verne Troyer. The tarps over the seats in the upper deck are dirty and torn, the scoreboard has broken lights all over it, the place stank of pee and the groundskeeping crew didn’t bother to erase the field markings from the Raiders game so the entire outfield was covered in hash marks. It’s a crappy place to go a game, particularly when you get the sense the people working there both on the field and off don’t care.

  7. The Rabbit said...

    “All teams at some point will adjust seat prices up to the last minute in order to act like hotwire (the Giants are almost there) in order to at least get someone in the stadium to park, buy merchadise and food.”
    Absolutely correct.  I’m on the e-mail list of many major league teams.  I can get great seats and super packages (even for contending teams) a week before the games.
    I can almost always get box seats at 1st or 3rd that includes a decent buffet, all beverages, and other goodies under $50 in St. Louis, the most convenient major league park. Still might be too expensive for a family of 4, but “such a deal” when sodas and dogs are $5 each.

  8. Richard in Dallas said...

    When the Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994, I was there on openeing day, 16 rows from the field in the first section on the outfield side of the third base dugout.  Had it not been a rainy day, I’m sure I would have had the tase of dirt in my mouth whenever someone slid into third.  The face value of that ticket was $16.00.  That same seat today brings $80.00 at the box office, plus a whole lot of made up charges.  For the $16.00 that prime seat cost 15 years ago, you can now sit in the bleachers, or in the 3rd level NOT directly behind (or should I say above) home plate.  If baseball ticket prices were running along with inflation, the $40K I made back then would have me sitting pretty today.  If only…

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