Opening Day Ticket Price Hike A Troubling Sign

The Mets spent more time and energy and research on ticket prices than you did. Their research suggests this is the best way to maximize revenue and push customers into committing to packs and getting more people into the ballpark for the other games. That doesn’t make it suck any less. The problem is it’s Opening Day and the demand is still high.

It’s one thing to say you’re annoyed with it in November and not going to buy, but once Spring Training kicks in and we hear about people planning to finally get out to the park again and see live baseball many people are going to be looking to find tickets. I’d be surprised if the stadium looks less than 95% full.

It’s a business first for the Mets, and it’s hard for me to get too up in arms at any specific tactic to maximize profit on the high-demand times, but it doesn’t bode well for the future. It’s not just baseball either, or just the Mets. Fans in this same market complained and moaned about personal seat licenses in the NFL, but the Giants and Jets both sold a ton of them. Movie tickets are going up, and if you think $63 for 3-4 hours in the sun watching baseball is rough take a look at the prices of some of the Broadway plays.

Revenue sharing money from MLB is going up too, and it’s only going to lessen the percentage of revenue that ticket sales is. As that happens more and more teams are going to make decisions to milk every last dollar out they can, with no regard to actual turnstile attendance. Take a look at the Marlins fire sale. The Marlins flat out don’t care about the fans, but the franchise itself is making a ton of money from other sources. Actual fans in the park aren’t at the top of their priority list.

It’s unfortunate. Many fans remember the days before the late nineties when payrolls skyrocketed causing ticket prices to follow suit when going to a baseball game was one of the most affordable activities in the city. As prices have rocketed, fan salaries haven’t followed suit and the economy crashed creating less disposable income in general. As a result everything is crazy expensive. I can’t ever legitimately afford to sit in the good seats at a game in any of the other three major sports, and every year it seems I get further and further away from the Mets field as well.

Dynamic pricing was designed with this Opening Day situation in mind. It was always a way to maximize the revenue of the top games, no matter when they happen in a season and was never really meant to lower prices to bargain basement levels to get the place packed. The Mets know, as everyone in sports knows, that take advantage of the few high-demand games you have, and let winning take care of packing the park for the other ones.

Unfortunately for us, the baseball market in New York is huge. The big Mets games are going to sell, and as they do better and better, those games are going to sell too. There’s no boycott that’s going to work. Clearly you shouldn’t back down from voicing your opinion at some of these frustrating aspects of fandom, but know that the only person you hurt by not going is yourself. It’d be great if we could drive market value, but the truth is we don’t.

I sucked it up and bought Opening Day tickets. I want to be there, it’s pretty much a holiday in my eyes, and I’m not yet willing to miss it. Maybe I skip another game or two depending on my situation, but I’m going to check my stubbornness at the gate about the pricing and go. Maybe I’m just resigned to the idea that everyone is out to take every last cent from me, but once Opening Day gets here I’m going to be excited no matter what I paid.

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