Monday, September 13, 2010

Death of the Season Ticket Holder?

I read an interesting article on CNBC.com today. Although it was geared more towards football season ticket holders, what with Personal Seat Licenses, thousands of dollars for the year itself, not to menti0n all the other incidentals for eight games a year, they suggested that the season ticket holder is going the way of the dodo.

And why not? We have convenienced ourselves so that we never have to leave the home. We can order groceries, order clothes, heck we can even have dry cleaning picked-up AND delivered. Of course, it goes without saying that with most people spending lots of money on in-home entertainment centers, if you can watch a sporting event and have a better experience doing so in the comfort of your own home, why the heck not?

It did get me thinking of the Mets and the state of their season ticket holder fan-base. Recently, it has come to my attention that the Mets are calling mini-plan holders one by one, offering them complimentary tickets to any remaining game of the season in a premium section (kicker being you have to physically pick them up at the box office, so no chance for resale and actually guaranteeing that someone will sit there).

I can't complain about my status as a season ticket holder. The Mets have given me some perks this year, including a complimentary Club Mets membership, 15% discount in the CitiField stores, allegedly some perk at Port St. Lucie, fees waived for Cyclones and individual Mets games purchases, and free stadium tours with a reservation.

Yesterday, I received an email that said that Saturday, October 2, I am invited to "Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day." Apparently, there are some events and specials for season ticket holders, not to mention giveaways and stuff.

I was a little shocked. They are sending a future email detailing what types of specials they will have. Saturdays are games I usually go to anyway on my plan, and this was to be no exception. So I was pleased with the gesture at least.

With this article I read today, not to mention the recent kind gestures to mini-plan holders, coupled with the effort the Mets are *finally* making with their own season ticket holders, I can't help but think...is this the way of the future? For season ticket holders in sports?

I mean, it makes sense. I would say a big reason for season ticket holders to begin with is the playoff options. Of course, with the Mets, this is usually not the case. But with football games, it's a minimal time investment but lots of money to fork over for the "gift" of being able to buy these crapshoot of games. My friend actually makes a killing on his Rangers season tickets -- he is able to sell a whole part of his plan to ticket brokers, then he "leases" out the rest of the season in packages (I'm a proud partial-owner in that). The supply and demand statistics support this since there are fewer seats, and fewer games to fill.

Baseball, to me, is a harder sell. For one, there are more games. Outside of rivalries and/or a hot ticket (like a playoff game or a Subway Series type of game), some games are a tough sell for the casual fan, let alone the die hard who may not have resources to go (meaning, transportation time, more so than money I feel those are two limitations for fans these days).

I also do like my friend in the Rangers tickets plans and lease out some of my seats. I sold packages of five, four and three games. I have been fortunate to have eaten two games (SO FAR) for this season. That's not to say I've been able to get face value -- more often than not, I am marking them down quite a bit just to move them. Again, there are so many games, you have to give an incentive to resell. As a for example, I have tickets to Tuesday's and Wednesday's game, and they are marked incredibly low. However, I fully anticipate eating them (providing I do not go to them myself...but I am not sure I can make both games just for the sake of going).

I don't see myself giving up my status as a season ticket holder, but I can't deny that I'd like to see changes being made. Most certainly, I would like to see the Mets give us some kind of "hometown discount" on full season plans. That way, when I need to discount tickets to move them or I simply can't make it, there is not a lot of pressure. I feel like my seats, for what it's worth, are fairly valued. I wouldn't mind another discount though (We were supposed to have "10%" but it was like a stupidly derived average and did not apply to many seats, mostly in the Promenade section).

It's been tough to be a Mets fan in the last few years. Not that it's ever easy -- if it were easy, we'd all be Yankees fans. If other sports are worried about their season ticket holder base, in popular sports that are pretty easy sells, then it's evident to me that Sterling Mets MUST be concerned about their future with loyal fans.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's true that things are more comfortable and secure when done at home. But sporting events? Would you really pass up the chance of seeing the action up front? I don't think so. It's much more exciting to see things as they happen and hear the actual roar of the crowd. For this summer, I will surely take my family to the events here in Denver.

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