Raise your hand if you’d spend $310 for a ticket to see a baseball game.
On Saturday, I received the letter from the Reds that explained my options for purchasing postseason tickets. As a season ticket holder, my opportunity to buy NLDS, NLCS and World Series tickets is this weekend, from Friday through Monday. Tickets for individual games are not available, you have to buy a “series strip.”
My regular season seat is in Infield Box section 130 and costs $32/game. The letter informed me that a similar seat for the NLDS will cost $78 and for the NLCS, $105 – more than three times my regular price. That’s pretty steep. It would be nice to have the chance of purchasing a ticket for one game or two. That’s not an option.
Assuming its available, my seat costs $732 for the NLDS and NLCS (including the mandatory purchase of a ticket to the highly improbable Wild Card game). No option to buy tickets for only the NLDS or only the NLCS. If you want to attend even one game, you’re required to purchase tickets for all eight.
Is it really so hard or complicated to sell individual tickets for playoff games that fans have to be treated this way?
That brings me to the World Series.
As a teenager, I attended the 1972, 1975 and 1976 World Series, one game per series. Still have the ticket stubs. I was there for Ed Armbrister’s bunt.
A 2012 World Series ticket for my regular season seat costs $310 – per game. You read that right. Nearly ten times the regular season price. That’s the cost for the Infield and Field Boxes. Again, the sole option is to buy a series strip for all four games. Price: $1,240 for one seat.
Of course, the option of purchasing a worse seat is available. The few bleacher seats are $95/game. Other than that the cheapest seats cost $155/game. Some of the upper deck seats cost $240/game. You do get your money back if games aren’t played, like if the Reds don’t play in the Wild Card game. But the refund takes up to four weeks. When you add the lead time, the Reds could end up holding thousands of dollars of my money for nearly two months.
I know I’m fortunate. I have the means and proximity to enjoy a regular season Reds ticket at a reasonable price. And a great, great seat at that. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to buy postseason tickets. This post really isn’t about me (although it probably sounds like it so far) it’s about the way this arrangement treats the average fan.
The Reds’ representative I spoke with Tuesday (and since confirmed by someone definitely in the know) said the prices and policies were set by Major League Baseball, not the Reds. And I believe that. The Reds wouldn’t do this to their fans. It creates the ill will they work so hard year-round to avoid. The Reds would want their average, everyday fans to attend their team’s World Series. They would want the same people who show up to cheer for the team all year to be there for their crowning achievement. They’d want kids to treasure their 2012 World Series ticket stubs and memories of sacrifice bunts into adulthood. (Hey! Buy a season ticket package and you’ll have the opportunity to spend nearly $2,000 more for postseason tickets!) This is bad for their business in the long term.
It’s something the Bengals would do.
I thought about this situation Tuesday night at GABP. The crowd was really into it the entire game. Each Mat Latos escape. Jay Bruce’s game winning home run. Aroldis Chapman’s strikeouts. I noticed the elation and joy of the couples, the friends, the die-hards, the kids, the families — average Reds fans, supporting their team. And it occurred to me that few of us would attend the World Series.
I’m sure some smart economist in the Commissioner’s office has figured out they can sell thousands of $310 tickets for the World Series, in this economy, in the Cincinnati area. It just wont be to many average Reds fans. Or to me.
And that’s a Major League disappointment.