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Ticket Prices Climb as Fans Prepare for the Return of Stephen Strasburg to Nationals PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 02 September 2011 08:36


“Do you still love me?”

That may be something rattling around Stephen Strasburg’s head. The pitching phenom of the Washington Nationals took the league by storm last year when he debuted with electric stuff and velocity that stayed within 3 digits for several innings.

But that all came crashing down when on Aug 20 of last year, it was announced that Strasburgh had a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, needed Tommy John surgery, and would miss most, if not all, of the 2011 season.

But, Strasburg has been on track to return to the Bigs, allowing 1 hit over 6 IP Thursday night for Double-A Harrisburg in what was expected to be his final minor league rehab start before he returns to the Washington Nationals.

His expected start will be at National Park on Tuesday when the Dodgers come to visit where he is scheduled to face Ted Lily.

How have ticket sales been for Strasburg’s return?

According to SeatGeek.com, there has been a jump in Nationals prices from $30 to $57 for the second game of the Dodgers series on 9/7. The entire series is averaging $39 but SeatGeek says they are expecting to see even more movement and demand over the next few days. Nationals tickets are averaging $40 this season, a $2 drop from last season, placing them in #20 across the entire MLB this year. You can also see Nationals price data here.

So, love appears to be returning to a club that is in dire need of it. If Strasburg avoids the injury bug, and Bryce Harper can stay on track, 2012 should be what Nationals fans had hoped 2011 was supposed to be.

Source: SeatGeek


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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For First Time Since '04, Pittsburgh Pirates Increase Ticket Prices for 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 08:51

PNC Park Seating ChartGo through a short stretch of winning while being in a position where you haven’t raised ticket prices in nearly a decade, and it adds up to time to take advantage.

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced details of their 2012 ticket pricing yesterday in which they will be raising prices for the first time since 2002. That is the current longest stretch of any club in Major League Baseball.

For one, premium seating behind home plate will see a sizeable jump. The “Lexus Club” seats ran $160-$210 in 2011. Next season, those same seats will cost between $180-$225 for single game, in advance. The “Pittsburgh Baseball Club” seats jump from $47-$52 to $50-$55 for single game, in advance

All in all, ticket prices at PNC Park went up across the board.

"We compete in a much different economic landscape than the one that existed nine years ago and we are committed to making the investments required to continue to build a winning team," said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. "The great support from our fans this season has allowed us to increase our investments in the Club. We will continue to reinvest our resources in our team, as we did with the recent acquisitions made at the trade deadline, our recent draft signings and the extension of Jose Tabata."

"We particularly appreciate the loyal support of our season ticket holders. They have been with us through the hard times. As a result, we have held season ticket prices to the smallest increases, thus resulting in even larger savings off the individual prices than in previous seasons," said Coonelly. Full season plan holders will receive a savings between 14-percent and 50-percent off of the individual ticket price, and an average savings of 27-percent.

"We also ensured that Pirates baseball remains a tremendous value for families by keeping more than a third of the ballpark priced at $20 or less for individual ticket buyers, including some seats as low as $10," said Coonelly.

In 2012, a family of four can sit in the upper grandstand between the bases for a total of only $32 ($10 for each adult ticket and $6 for each kid priced ticket), which is $20 less than those same seats cost in 2011 ($16 for adults and $10 for kids ticket).

"For full season ticket buyers, more than 50-percent of our tickets are priced at less than $20 per ticket, while more than 30-percent of our seats can be purchased for less than $10 per ticket," Coonelly added.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE 2012 TICKET PRICES COMPARED TO THIS SEASON FOR THE PIRATES

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While League Flat, Plenty of Winners and Losers in MLB Attendance Game PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 13:13

MLBWith Major League Baseball heading into the final 7 weeks of the season, league attendance remains flat compared to last season (up 0.1%), but across the league, there are plenty of winners and losers in the paid attendance game.

While gate numbers are not available, tickets sold is announced each game. Based upon research by the SportsBusiness Daily, and confirmed against data collected by BizofBaseball.com, over 1,916 games played through Tuesday, the league has a paid attendance total of 58,042,992, or an average of 30,294.

Leading the league in both total attendance, average attendance, and percentage of capacity filled are the Phillies. The NL East team is currently the only club to have drawn over 3 million in paid attendance (3,004,451), while averaging 45,522 or 104.30% of capacity. Ballparks are considered 100% of capacity when all seats are sold, but standing-room tickets can allow capacity to exceed 100%. In all, thirteen clubs are drawing over 2 million in attendance (In the AL, the Yankees, Twins, Angels, Red Sox, Rangers, Tigers. In the NL, Phillies, Giants, Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers, Rockies). The Twins, Red Sox, and Phillies have averaged over 100% capacity for the season with the Giants at 99.9% of capacity.

At the low end of the spectrum is the Florida Marlins who, while ostensibly flat compared to last season (up 0.5%), have drawn an average of 18,242 per game, or 46.80% of Sun Life Stadium’s capacity. And that’s just paid attendance. One fan conducted a headcount at game 1 of a double-header yesterday at Florida in which he counted 347 fans in their seats at first pitch.

But, in terms of total attendance, the lowest number currently goes to the A’s who have drawn 1,215,000 over 64 as of Tuesday. They’re followed by the Rays (1,217,058), and Marlins (1,222,210)

In terms of increased attendance, the biggest gainers (double-digit increases) are the Indians (up 24.5%), Pirates (up 24.3%), and Rangers (up 21.9%).

Decliners in double-digits are the beleaguered Dodgers (down 17.7 percent), and the Rays who continue to struggle at the gate (down 16.5%)

Other Notes

  • The Mets, who are in the midst of a legal battle with the trustee for the Bernie Madoff victims is seeing attendance down 8.4% compared to last year, which was a down year for the club, as well.
  • The Brewers, in baseball’s smallest market, are seeing a 6.5% increase over last year. Next year could be interesting, depending on whether the club can retain Prince Fielder
  • The Giants are seeing the benefits of winning the World Series in 2010 and see a 12.1% increase from last year.
  • The Twins rank 4th in overall league attendance this year, incredible considering they are having a disappointing season. The effect of Target Field is still hanging on as attendance is down less than one percent for the club, thus far (down 0.6%)
  • Even though the Diamondbacks are fighting for first place in the NL West, and hosted this year’s All-Star Game as a season ticket selling point, attendance is down 2.6% compare to last season.
  • Losing Adrian Gonzalez really wasn’t that bad from a marketing perspective. The Padres, who overachieved and were in hot contention to win the NL West at this point last year, lost the star slugger in the off-season. Still, attendance at Petco Park is nearly flat compared to 2010 (up 0.9%)
  • Call it the “Joey Bats factor”. The Blue Jays are seeing a double-digit increase in paid attendance of 11.5% even though the team is out of contention in the AL East.
  • It’s depressing in the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners, who haven’t been able to get it turned around in the standings in years is seeing an attendance decline of 9.5%.
  • What will it be next year? The Cardinals, who are 10 games out of first behind the Brewers and are running out of time to stay in contention, see attendance down 7.3%. With Albert Pujols still a massive question mark for the club, watching the Red Birds attendance numbers next season will be interesting. Losing Pujols could take a massive dent out of the attendance numbers, while retaining him might simply keep paid numbers static depending upon the Cardinals performance in the standings.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE ATTENANCE DETAILS FOR THE AL AND NL THROUGH TUES. AUG 23

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Despite Losing Record, Minnesota Twins Winners in Attendance PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 08:37

Sellouts, and lots of them. Normally, this isn’t what you expect of a team 15 games out of first place, and sitting with a .430 record.  But, that’s what’s happening in Minnesota.

Consider this: as of last night, the Twins recorded their 55th sellout of the 2011 season. They have sold out 38 games in a row and 45 of their last 46 games since May 25 of this year. And, since opening Target Field in 2010, the Twins have sold out 134 of 144 regular season home games. Through 63 home dates in 2011, the Twins have drawn a total of 2,489,231 for an average of 39,512 (100% of Capacity).

This coming from a club that just a decade ago had owner Carl Pohlad offering of them up for contraction.

Yes, the Twins are riding several factors that have them ranked 4th overall in league attendance this year.

The team went to the playoffs last year, which slingshot ticket sales in the off-season, but it’s the ballpark, which opened last season, that is key. For one, it’s considered a gem of a design. For another, there is the honeymoon effect. It’s likely that the 2011 season could be a highwater mark for the Twins as the newness wears off. Getting back to winning ways could keep the paid attendance mark buzzing.

They say winning cures all ills in sports. For the Twins, their new ballpark certainly hasn’t hurt as winning has alluded the team this year.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Several Major League Baseball Ballparks See Record Attendance Over Weekend PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 08:31

Through Monday, attendance in Major League Baseball remained flat compared to last year, drawing an average of 30,312 compared to 30,281 on the same date last season (an increase of 0.1 percent), but several ballparks around the league saw record numbers this past weekend.

On Saturday, the Phillies-Nationals game at Nationals Park drew 44,685 – the first sellout of the entire season at the ballpark – and the largest crowd at Nationals Park history surpassing the Red Sox-Nats game from June of 2009, While no numbers are captured to prove it out, the high volume turnout for the Nationals was, in large part, due to Phillies fans that made the trek to DC to see the game.

Also on Saturday, a paid attendance figure of 42,374 witnessed the Cardinals-Cubs game at Wrigley Field. It was the largest crowd at Wrigley since 45,777 saw the 1978 season opener against the Pirates.

Finally on Sunday, a sellout of 43,388 in paid attendance was part of Sunday's Indians-Tigers game at Comerica Park. According to the Tigers, the three-game series over the weekend saw total paid attendance of 132,239, the largest number for a three-game series in Comerica Park’s 12-year history. The previous record of 131,463 was set during an 2008 series against the White Sox.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

Follow The Biz of Baseball on TwitterTwitter

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Milwaukee Brewers Surpass 2010 Season Tickets Sold PDF Print E-mail
Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 14:42

BrewersThe Milwaukee Brewers today announced that as of this morning, the Club has already sold more tickets for 2011 home games than were sold for all 81 games at Miller Park in 2010.  Additionally, the Brewers have set a new franchise record with over 627,000 group tickets sold this season, breaking the mark of 623,622 group tickets sold in 2008. 

“Our fans have demonstrated their tremendous passion for the Milwaukee Brewers and their support has played a key role in providing the best home field advantage in all of baseball,” said Rick Schlesinger, Brewers Executive Vice President – Business Operations.  “We still have plenty of good seating options available for remaining home games and encourage fans to plan accordingly.”

The Brewers drew 2,776,531 fans at Miller Park last season, which ranked 11th overall in Major League Baseball attendance.  Today, the Brewers will surpass the two million attendance mark at Miller Park for the season.  The Brewers, who own the best home record in the Major Leagues at 40-15 (.727) are averaging 36,230 fans per game at home (1,992,628 attendance/55 games). 
Source: Milwaukee Brewers


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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The Renewed Love Affair with the Pittsburgh Pirates PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 08:47

Slowly but surely, fans are returning to PNC Park to watch the Pirates

It may not be “We Are Family”, but after years and years of being abysmal in the standings, the unfathomable has happened: the Pittsburgh Pirates sit alone at the top of the NL Central standings, a half-a- game up on the Brewers after winning 3 straight and winning 7 out of their last 10.

With the winning, the crowds have slowly started to return to PNC Park.

As of Tuesday, the Pirates were averaging 23,967 over 48 games, up 18 percent from last season on the same date on the calendar when the club pulled in an average of 20,367 over 43 games. Over the season, there have been 3 rainouts compared to just 1 last season at this point on the calendar.

And then there’s this: Last season, there was just one game that was a sellout at this point in the season (Opening Day, 39,024). This season, Opening Day drew 41,358 and there have been seven other games in which the Pirates have drawn over 39,000.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Dodgers, Mets Crater MLB's Chances for Major Attendance Rebound PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 15:04

While it may have taken over half a season to get there, paid attendance in Major League Baseball is now pacing ever-so-slightly ahead of last season compared to this day on the calendar. That may sound like a small thing, but when you consider that the league will almost assuredly see the most rainouts that any point over the last decade, and steep declines by two key clubs in the league, it’s nothing short of miraculous.

It’s the latter that deserves some attention.

With the McCourt divorce, the Stow beating on Opening Day, and the bankruptcy that Frank has put the club into, moral – and more importantly attendance – is spiraling downward.

As of yesterday, the Dodgers were pacing a staggering 17 percent below what they were last season. To date, the Dodgers have hosted 50 games, seeing a total attendance of 1,830,479 in paid attendance, or an average of 36,610. Compare that to last season when the club had hosted 47 games for a total of 2,061,224 in paid attendance, or an average of 43,865.

The Mets aren’t helping, either. Through 44 games, the club has pulled in 1,357,199 or an average of 30,845 or down 8 percent from last season. Compare that to 2010 at this time, which wasn’t exactly the best to begin with, where the Amazin’s drew 1,444,870 over 43 games or an average of 33,602.

While the Mets aren’t news the league wants, the decline for the Dodgers is worse than it appears. That’s because there are few rainouts – if any – at Dodger Stadium and its size means a high level of attendance numbers. Historically, the Dodgers have ranked 1st or 2nd in total each season. As of now, they rank 10th. The Mets? They sit just 3 spots back at 13th.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Slowly, MLB Attendance Has Begun to Surpass Last Season PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 18 July 2011 08:07

At the beginning of the 2011 season, it seemed improbable. League attendance, smacked around by rainouts, and the declines by the Dodgers and Mets, both of whom had been bellwethers for the league was running down approx. 6 percent from the same point in 2010.

Flash-forward to Sunday and the league has now surpassed last season, in terms of average attendance, albeit by the slightest of margins.

With the Red Sox and Rays getting the marathon game in the books early Monday morning, the league now sees an average attendance of 29,893 compared to 29,853 at the same point on the calendar last year.

While Bud Selig’s pronouncement of a 6-7 percent increase from last year seems, at best, a long-shot, expect 2011 to surpass 2010 in average attendance when the season ends in a few months.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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