Rising ticket prices have become an annual tradition for the Phillies and 2011 will be no different. With a $2-$5 increase on all ticket prices, season ticket holders are going to be smacked with a $415 increase per seat. If you have 2 seats, that is $830 you probably did not plan on. Partial plans (17 or 14 games) will rise $70-$85 dollars for each seat.
With every game sold out in 2010 and a 123-game sell-out streak dating back to 2009, it is easy to see why the Phillies feel they can keep gouging fans for more money. But they are failing to see the long term effects. They are forcing out low-middle income fans and pulling in more corporations and those at the top of the proverbial food chain.
If the team stops winning in a couple of years as the talent ages or moves on to other teams, the higher-end fans, whom are usually the fair-weather fans, are going to drop off like flies. And there won’t be any low-middle class fans left to pick up the slack in ticket sales because they will not be able to afford the high prices. Of course, that is just my opinion. You may agree or disagree.
There are other ways to make money; all the Phillies need to do is look around and see what other teams are doing in terms of creative enterprise. Take a look at some of the fee-based services and opportunities the San Francisco Giants offer to their fans:
– Lou Seal-ebrity Ride of the Game: Allows Giants fans the opportunity to tag along with Lou (the mascot, like the Phanatic) for an inning.
– Lou Seal Appearance: The mascot will visit your party, take photos, etc… between innings or a your kid’s birthday party, etc…
– Steal Second: Tag along with the Giants grounds crew during the third inning and change out 2nd base!
– Slumber Party: Pitch a tent and sleep ON the field, overnight and then meet a player in the morning.
– Fantasy Batting Practice: Take a swing or shag a ball; for up to 30 people which includes a two-hour batting practice with Giants Alumni, lunch on the Club Level, a Q&A session with the Giants Alumni and tickets to the game that day. (I saw this event when I was in San Francisco last year taking a park tour and was SO jealous!)
And this is just ONE team. One team that has figured out how to please their fans and earn money at the same time. If the Phillies incorporated a few of these ideas into their plans, there would be no need to keep jacking up ticket prices. Fantasy batting practice? Can you imagine? That would be SOLD OUT every time! And fans would be willing to pay top dollar for such an opportunity…I know I would.
How about riding around with the Phanatic for an inning? That would be AWESOME! Have the fan paying for the experience sign a waiver that does not hold the team liable for any accidents and also has the fan pledge not to do anything stupid and…abracadabra! An easy money maker. Magic.
Hey Phillies, how about a little creativity? You will make more money and fans will be happier; it’s a win-win. Not to mention that offering these unique experiences is a great public relations move.
That is my rant for the day…feel free to comment below.
And in case you missed it, here is my 2010 Phillies Photo Tribute with pictures I took throughout the year:
Thanks for stopping by!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Earlier this month, I showed you highlights from a 1982 Phillies Magazine. Flash forward ten years later and here are bits from a 1992 Phillies Magazine for you. Curt Schilling is on the cover and the price of the publication (seen on the bottom, left hand side) is only $2.00. In 1982, the same publication sold for $1.00. Today, the magazine / program sells for $4.99.
Inside the magazine are pages very similar to the 2009 editions; team rosters, a score sheet and several informative articles about the team and happenings around Major League Baseball. One page of interest in the 1992 edition is the player fact section, which includes the current Phillies General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr. Here he is, then and now:
And my favorite part of the old publications is being able to compare ticket prices over the years.
The chart to the left shows prices from 1982, 1992 and this coming year, 2010. The highest priced regular (non-premium seating) ticket in each year were as follows; 1982 – $7.00, 1992 – $12.00, 2010 – $60.00. Ouch!
I was in college in 1992 and remember always buying the cheapest ticket they had; then I was able to sit pretty much wherever I wanted. The Vet was huge and always had plenty of open seats. I miss those days. Now to attend a game, I need to break the bank unless I want to sit all the way up top, where players look more like ants that people. And that still costs $20.00. However, vertigo from sitting in the super high, steeply sloped seats is totally free. ;o)
By the way, I will be attending a special event this Sunday in New York City; the financial company Bloomberg has put together software in conjunction with MLB.com to provide new ways to track baseball statistics. MLBloggers were invited to preview the software and give our feedback. If any other MLBloggers will be attending, please let me know. I would love to meet you!
I will also “attempt” to do a live blog from the event, but I am unsure as to the conditions and internet connection. They said wireless will be provided, but my laptop is old and may or may not cooperate. The event will be between 12pm and 5pm on Sunday, so feel free to stop by my home page and see if I managed to pull this off ;o) Either way, I will be back with details. Wish me luck!
Amaro photo by Jenn
Ok then, here ya go! The Phillies have signed Placido Polanco to play 3rd base after the Tigers declined to offer him salary arbitration. Because he was not offered arbitration, this means the Phillies do not have to give up a draft pick. The deal is for 3 years, 18 million dollars, plus an option for a 4th year.
Phillies fans should be thrilled to see Polly back in the red pinstripes; he is a career .303 hitter and rarely strikes out, a stat which would be a huge help to this lineup which tends to whiff more than most teams. Polanco played second base for the Tigers, but has played 322 games at third in his career as well. The Phillies actually signed him as a third baseman originally in 2002.
Back in June of 2005, the Phillies traded Polanco to the Tigers after Chase Utley won the position at second base. Fans screamed for Polanco to stay and to be placed at third base instead of David Bell, but the Phillies sent him packing, a move which I have always felt was a huge mistake. So, the Phillies have not only signed an amazing player today, but they also righted the wrong of 2005.
In exchange for Polanco in 2005, the Phillies got right-hander Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez. To give you an idea of how that worked out, the following off-season in 2005, Urbina was arrested on attempted murder charges for attacking 5 farm workers at his Venezuela home with a machete and he also tried to light them on fire. He is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence. Great pick up, Phils! I wonder if we can get him back when he is released? Nothing wrong with a little entertainment… ;o)
Polanco is back and I think this is an outstanding move for the Phillies! Welcome back, Polly! We missed ya!
More Arbitration News
The Phillies did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, not even Chan Ho Park. He may still be back, but it looks like the Phillies did want to be tied down monetarily. While this gives them greater freedom to sign players at lower costs, it also means other teams can now sign them.
Ticket Price Revisited
Thank you to everyone for their feedback on my last blog regarding the ticket price increases. There were a few revelations in those comments. For instance, Rich of Fightin’ Phillies reports that parking has also gone up from $11 to $15 and if the price continues to rise, he will not be renewing his season ticket plan in 2011.
The BILF Reporter says the ticket price increase did not upset her parents too much, but it also appears that partial plan holders are losing a playoff game opportunity. In 2009, the partial season ticket holders were guaranteed at least 3 games; for 2010, it has been knocked down to 2 games. Another comparison is that in 2008, partial plan holders not only got the 3 games, but they were also given “second chance” opportunities for up to 3 additional games when there were tickets leftover. So, it is basically going from 6 possible games to 2 in a matter of only 2 years, while prices continue to rise.
Add together the parking increase, ticket increase, lost playoff game and some partial season ticket holders getting their seats bumped backwards, this is a recipe for some very disgruntled fans. If anyone from the Phillies is listening, they may want to rethink this strategy. Imagine what is going to happen here; they will lose their loyal fans as season ticket holders, gain bandwagon fans and then, when they stop winning, who will be left in the seats? There are fewer and fewer reasons to buy or renew your season tickets. Where is the incentive when each year, we pay more and get less?
And yes, I understand the Phillies are more reasonably priced that say, the Yankees. And if you’ve got money, you are probably not concerned. But people on a budget are used to paying a certain amount for a particular level of service; they will resent the changes. All of these teams, not just the Phillies, should be more sensitive to what their fans expect and deserve. Of course, this is just my opinion :O)
Speaking of fan appreciation, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. left an automated message on my voice mail today, thanking me and all the fans for our great support. Say it with flowers, say it with a phone call….or, how about saying it with better seats and lower prices? Just an idea…
Polanco photo by Jenn
The Phillies found a back-up catcher today when they signed Brian Schneider to a $2.75 million, 2 year deal. Schneider spent the last 2 years with the Mets and the previous 8 seasons with the Nationals/Expos. The best news here is that Schneider was notorious for being a Phillie killer; pitching to him has been a 10 year nightmare. Overall, Schneider is a .251 hitter and should fit nicely into the back-up spot vacated by Paul Bako and Chris Coste before that.
And in a very odd twist to the situation, Coste has just been signed by the Mets! Coste started the 2009 season with the Phillies before being tossed and subsequently picked up off waivers by Houston in July. The self-proclaimed 33-year old rookie is now in enemy threads which is sure to send shockwaves throughout Philadelphia. Coste was well loved in Philly and many were unhappy with his departure. Not to mention, many would rather see him retire than play in a Mets uniform. It is a sad, sad day for Coste fans. But look at the bright side; at least we will get to see him a lot next year :O)
As for the other holes in the line-up, like third base, no word yet except that midnight tonight is the deadline for all teams to offer salary arbitration to their free agents. The Phillies are likely to offer arbitration to Chan Ho Park as they have stated they want him back next year. Park may decline and decide to look around for a starting pitching spot as several teams have seemed interested in him. If he accepts, he will be with the Phillies for 2010 and probably get a raise. As for the other free agents, Bako and Eric Bruntlett are out of the picture with their replacements already signed in Brian Schneider and Juan Castro. Brett Myers has already been shown the door, as has Jack Taschner. Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Matt Stairs and Miguel Cairo are also unlikely, although Stairs and Cairo may be offered minor league deals.
So, have we all looked at our season ticket invoices yet? This is not a huge shock, but Phillies ticket prices went up again this year by $2- $4 per ticket. Not only that, but some season ticket holders received worse seat assignments. Someone I know got bumped backwards 2 rows in the same section. So, we are now paying more for less? While 2 rows is not earth shattering, traditionally, season ticket holders have been rewarded for their loyalty with better seats from year to year, not punished.
So yes, the World Series win in 2008 plus the return trip in 2009 do affect the prices, unfortunately. But that does not make it any easier to swallow. The money does not go towards improving the team or free agency; it is just more in the pockets of the owners. And with the team winning now, they do it simply because they can.
Prices over the recent years have increased tremendously. A seat that cost $42 in 2004 is now $58 for 2010. The last year of the vet for the same seat was $26. What I am wondering though is what happens when the team sucks again? Do we become the Nationals with a stadium that is only 25% full? I follow the team win or lose, but I will not pay those prices to see them lose when I can do that at home for free. Then again, maybe they will never suck again…one can dream ;o)
So, did anyone else get there ticket invoice and wonder what happened? Did you get the same seats or did you get bumped back? What do you think about the prices? Let me know in the comment section below.
Coste photo by Jenn
The Phillies announced that they will increasing ticket prices for the 2009 season, as demand for tickets is on the rise after the World Series win. Most seats will cost $2-$3 more, and premium seats will go up $6 each, costing $50 a piece and lower infield seats go from $50 to $60, a $10 increase. Season ticket packages will range from $1,300 to $ 4,100. Phillies vice president of sales and ticket operations, John Weber, stated that while they are trying to mirror prices in similar markets, they did keep the current economy in mind. “I think we could’ve increased it even further based on the demand we have,” Weber said. “I think we definitely kept it (down), keeping the economy and everything in mind.” He also said that many seats have been the same price since 2004, as further justification.
It could be worse. Look at the Nationals for example; their ticket prices for some seats are 50% higher than similar seats at Citizens Bank Park, and the Nats are a last place team. However, while it is true that prices for a Phillies ticket have generally been lower than some other similar markets, this does not soften the blow. Major League Baseball, in general, has been slowly but surely alienating the average fan. The ticket prices have gone sky high and when you factor in the cost of ballpark food, drink, souvenirs and parking (and for some of us, gas costs), a family of four will spend anywhere from a minimum of $138 for nose bleed seats without buying any “extras” (4 tickets $88, parking $10, food & drink for 4 – $40 minimum, souvenirs optional) to $250 for decent seats; again, no “extras” (4 tickets $200, parking $10, food & drink for 4 – $40 minimum, souvenirs optional). Add in the cost of toys for the kids, maybe a hat or tee shirt and other items, and you’ve dropped about $300 on ONE game. Go to 2 games and you’ve spend the average Joe’s entire paycheck. Your normal, everyday, hardworking blue collar people simply can’t afford this. And a team that prides itself on being down to earth, blue-collar types, should be more sensitive to the plight of the average fan.
It was never more evident to me that baseball prices have gone WAY out whack than it was during the playoff run this year. I was lucky enough to attend at least one game of every series this October at CBP, including game 4 of the World Series. What I noticed was, as the playoffs progressed, the demographics of the crowd began to change. The Division series against the Brewers was some of what you’d expect at a Phillies game; lots of families, college kids and generally a nice, friendly atmosphere, with some of the stiff corporate movers thrown in. Moving on to the League Championship series and then the World Series, I saw the crowd change even more. Fewer families, fewer young people and more Corporate-types in suits. Plus, there were LOTS of people who knew NOTHING about the game or any of the players and were just people with money ready to jump on the bandwagon. And if you know anything about Philly fans, they KNOW their team. But those fans are the ones who can’t afford $250 for ONE World Series ticket; and that is if they were lucky enough NOT to get robbed on E-Bay or by other on-line scalpers who were charging anywhere from $500 for a standing room only ticket to thousands of dollars for an actual seat.
During the World Series game I attended, one man in a suit actually clobbered me, trying to reach over my head during batting practice to get a foul ball for his kid. The kid asked his Dad who tossed the ball (it was Ryan Howard) and neither the kid nor the Dad knew who he was! The Dad then instructed the kid (he looked about 10 years old) to climb over the seats and push me out of the way so he could get closer! So there I am, trying to take pictures, and I have stuck-up, spoiled 10 year old kid kicking at my legs to try to get me to move. Unbelievable. You’d all be proud of me though; I didn’t budge. Now, I let kids in front of me all the time…I am pretty tall and can usually shoot pictures over their heads. But this behavior was just disgusting. I looked down at him and told him that he needed to quit kicking me and go back to his father. The stern look on my face got his attention and he finally moved on.
I am sure that could happen at any game, but the main point is that they were not REAL fans. These are not the people who follow the team all year long and keeping coming back whether the team is winning or losing. These people had no idea who Ryan Howard was! And that was only one of many, many situations I found myself in and conversations I overheard. People sitting around me were unfriendly and paid more attention to their PDA’s and cell phones than they did to the game. Usually, I meet really great people and have fun conversations about the game with them, but these crowds were cut from a different cloth. During the League Championship series, I even saw a woman 2 rows in front of me playing solitaire with a deck of cards on top of the food tray she flipped over onto her lap. This was right in the middle of the game.
There were still some of the usual fans, like me, wandering around, but we were sorely outnumbered; those fans who either saved up the money, called in favors or simply made good friends with their credit card companies (guilty!) to buy tickets. But the invasion of the upper-class, “casual” fan was very apparent. The prices of a post-season ballgame have driven away the die-hard fans who just can’t manage the finances and invited in Corporate America to take their places and regular-season ticket prices are heading in the same direction. Big companies buy up tickets and hand them out as gifts or incentives for employees. The result? A large population of game-goers who arrive in the 2nd inning and leave in the 7th. Sound familiar? The LA Dodgers have followed this model for years. They attract more casual fans than real ones, because the real fans can’t afford the prices. Does Philly really want to mirror big cities like LA? I should hope not.
And it is not just Philly, it is all of Major League Baseball. Fans everywhere are being shut-out from their favorite pastime and are forced to choose between a day at the ballpark or feeding their family. Guess which one will win every time? No contest. So, drive us away, but remember, if you alienate enough of us, you run the risk of having long-time, loyal fans become resentful of a team they once loved. And ultimately, it is the team, the city and the sport of baseball that will suffer the consequences.
And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod! All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!
Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose, Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!