Let the offseason moves begin! The New York Mets opened the floodgates yesterday by announcing their new season ticket packages and detailing the numerous changes that they will be implementing in an effort to retain season ticket holders as well as to incentivize new would-be buyers for the 2012 season. The biggest announcement coming out of Flushing since the end of game 162, so far, is that no season ticket holder will be seeing an increase in their invoices for the upcoming season. In implementing these changes the Mets also are moving their ticket issuing services to Tickets.com and introducing Dynamic Pricing, a system currently employed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, St. Louis Cardinals, and Oakland A’s among other MLB, NBA and NHL teams. Single game tickets go on sale in March, but until then it’s important to examine just what all of these changes mean to the average Mets fan.
Under greater analysis and in speaking with Dave Howard, Mets executive vice president for business operations, the team was quick to assert to Mets Today that by passing these increased savings onto the fans they took into account three things, “the economy, disposable income and the team’s performance.” Ticket holders will see some of the following price reductions depending on their seat location:
· 80% of seats will have a reduction of approximately 5% or greater
· 57% of seats will have a reduction of 10% or greater
· 35% will have a cut of 20% or more
· 18% will have a drop of 30% or more
Looking solely at the numbers, the Mets have done their homework and delivered to their faithful a season ticket offer that would entice even the financially strapped to fork over their hard earned or in many cases, saved, cash. Nearly 15,000 of the 41,800 seats will be available on any given day for less than $25, and a limited amount of full-season packages will be retailing for less than $1,000. What does, however, float to the surface are the other changes that the Mets have made to accommodate these additional box office savings.
Upon restructuring their seat pricing for a third year in a row, the Mets have also moved up their deadline for their various “early bird” incentives. The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings do not begin until December 5th, presumably around the same time that the free agency market begins to rear its head; most specifically for the Mets, the free agency of a certain Dominican shortstop and 2011 NL Batting Title holder. This date lags nearly a month behind the Metroplitans announced November 7th deadline for season package renewal and due payment in order to participate in the Amazin’ Mets Perks Program, which will be expanding in 2012 with additional benefits and exclusive experiences yet to be fully detailed and outlined. To clarify, before you even begin to gain an understanding of where Sandy Alderson and Team Collins will be taking the Mets in 2012, you need to decide if you’re on board with their agenda. It’s important to remember that as a loyal fan you’re there to support your team through thick and thin, but as Alderson has already announced that the payroll for next season might drop as much as $40 million dollars, you begin to wonder if perhaps all these discounts are at the detriment of the 2012 season.
The biggest change facing the Mets and their ticketing system is that of the newly introduced Dynamic Pricing for single game tickets. When these tickets go on sale early this Spring, they will initially be offered at prices at or below 2011 cost. These prices will then be adjusted on a real-time basis before and during the season, either upward or downward, purely based on market demand. Powered by Qcue, Inc. the system is meant to provide all fans with a variety of pricing options, but in reality it borders on ticket brokering. The seats have a floor price that will never dip below what season ticket holders have paid for equal seats, however, making matters incredibly difficult for your average fan is the fact that there is “no ceiling” on the cost of the tickets and they will rise based upon “what the market can bear.” In other words, if you and your family of four are looking to attend that Mets vs. Phillies matchup or Grandpa wants to watch his beloved Cubbies square off his adopted Boys from Queens, and both teams are presently in a pennant crunch or just perhaps marginally above .500, then be well prepared to pay through the roof for the opportunity to do so.
In introducing Dynamic Pricing — a system that seems to be spreading consistently throughout organized sports — it seems that the Mets are either betting on, or against, themselves. Which of the two it is remains most unclear. When pushed on what the team would be doing for families in the hopes of bringing more of them back to the ballpark amidst a potential price gouge, Howard offered no specific details. He acknowledged certain promotions from the 2011 season including kids getting in for free and student rush tickets, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t speculate or detail what was on tap for 2012, deciding to focus more on the larger revenue based season ticket holders until the other packages go on sale next year.
Like much in the world, the 2012 season for the Mets is full of uncertainty. Battling back from another crushing season filled with injuries and a high level of financial uncertainty, the Mets do seem eager to make it up to the fans. Are they delivering all that they can and more? Perhaps not, or at least not at this point in the early post-season/off-season. As the Boys of October hang up their hats and the winter months roll in, we’ll gain a greater appreciation for what’s in store for the team, until then we will all have some hard decisions to make and Mets Today will be here to keep you company. As always be sure to follow us on Facebook for all the latest New York Mets news and updates.