Twitter and the blogosphere have been buzzing today after the majority of Mets fans became aware of the prices for this year’s “marquee” games (Opening Day and the Yankees series). The cheapest tickets for the marquee games are $63 dollars, which gets you seats in Promenade Reserved. After that, the price jumps to $84 dollars for Promenade Box and continues to soar. Frankly, these prices are absurd and fans are right to be up in arms.
If the Mets were coming off four consecutive winning seasons, these prices would seem exorbitant. The opposite happens to be the case. When you add the fact that the Mets had difficulty filling the ballpark for last year’s Opening Day, before coupling that with the ongoing fan vitriol directed towards the Wilpon’s, this price increase becomes that much more difficult to comprehend. When you factor in that the Mets have yet to make one move of consequence this offseason (specifically providing clarity regarding the futures of David Wright and R.A. Dickey), this situation becomes comical.
February 27, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets chief executive officer Fred Wilpon speaks to the media as players warm up behind him during spring training workouts at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
It’s as if the Mets reached out to someone with tons of marketing and public relations experience, got the best advice, and then did the opposite of what that person suggested. What else could explain this? After setting these ridiculous prices, the Mets put a limited number of tickets on sale earlier than usual while also pushing “Four Game Holiday Packs.” If any of these packs contained one of the “marquee” games and allowed fans the possibility of a discount if purchased, the Mets’ thinking (while still indefensible) would make a bit more sense. However, according to the Mets website, none of these “Holiday Packs” include Opening Day or the Yankees series. The tickets to all of the “marquee” games are being sold individually. So, what gives?
The last article I wrote for this site defended the Mets against baseless, sensationalistic media attacks. I’ve criticized the team when I’ve felt it necessary, and defended it other times. Like many fans, I wouldn’t be opposed to the Wilpon’s selling the team. Having said that, I don’t view the Wilpon’s as being complicit as far as the Bernard Madoff situation is concerned. I don’t hate them. I recognize the human emotions at work here, and understand their reluctance to sell. Still, that doesn’t mean I’m happy with the current state of the team. Nor does it mean these prices don’t make my blood boil.
I doubt Fred or Jeff Wilpon are intimately involved with setting ticket prices. More likely, this was the result of a brainstorming session between Dave Howard and the ticketing department. No matter who came up with and/or signed off on the cheapest tickets for Opening Day (and the Yankees series) being $63 dollars, that decision needs to be changed. The team needs to act swiftly to correct their error in judgment. The prices need to be lowered, and the team must refund the difference to the fans who have already bought seats at today’s prices.
The “marquee game” ticket prices need to be lowered for a number of reasons. They should be lowered out of respect for a fanbase that has always been loyal, and that has stayed loyal over the last several years despite at times horrendous circumstances. They should be lowered because the prices are comically high. They should be lowered in order for the Mets avoid the embarassment of a half empty ballpark on Opening Day.
I, like tons of other Mets fans, attend Opening Day as a tradition. My father brought me to my first Opening Day when I was too young to remember, but I vividly recall being signed out of school early when I was 9 years old to see Dwight Gooden shut out the Rockies at Shea on Opening Day in 1993. I’ve been at nearly every Opening Day since. Attending the first home game of the year is a tradition that needs to be kept alive, not exploited in an attempt to rip loyal fans off. The Mets need to lower the prices, and lower them now.