— Days Without Shea —

Loge13_smallsignLoge13 is slowly starting to emerge from its funk.

Here’s a little item to help get the juices flowing again.

This OpEd was in Sunday’s New York Times. Stuart Miller says in “You Gotta Expand” that the Mets blew it by designing a stadium with 13,000 fewer seats. Some  excerpts:

Sure, Shea is far from fan-friendly, and a new stadium with more leg room, better sightlines, more bathrooms and concession stands will be a wonderful thing. And many of Shea’s upper-deck and outfield seats are crummy and often empty; even this year’s record-setting paid attendance of 3.85 million for the 81 home games meant nearly 10,000 unsold tickets per game (since Shea can hold more than 56,000 spectators). So it’s logical and — in an era overrun by unnecessarily grandiose projects (the Freedom Tower, Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards) — even heartening that the Mets designed something more intimate and suitably scaled.

But the Mets, so used to playing second fiddle to the Yankees in terms of pennants, headlines and attendance, are actually thinking too small. The new ballpark will seat only 42,500; there’ll be room for 2,500 standing-room-only spots, which are pretty unappealing for a three-hour ballgame. (The Yankees’ new stadium will also be smaller, at 53,000; but while the Yankees will almost always be a bigger draw, the Mets’ capacity isn’t even in the same ballpark.)

In 2007, the Mets surpassed the 42,500 mark in 63 games, more than three-quarters of the total (and the 45,000 mark in 56 of those games); last year, even without a tight divisional race the Mets surpassed the 42,500 mark 42 times (and 45,000 36 times)…

If it’s not too late, the Mets should adjust their blueprints, ideally to 49,000 seats. Adding more seats is especially crucial because so much of Citi Field will be devoted to luxury suites. These playgrounds for the rich and corporate are a fact of life in all modern ballparks so it’s not worth whining about them, but the current plan features only about 33,500 seats for the public. In other words, the team is adding nearly 25 percent more luxury boxes but shrinking by 22 percent the number of seats for the average fan.

The Mets are, naturally, increasing ticket (and concession) prices in Citi Field and in the age of online ticket services, costs will actually soar even higher than expected given their scarcity. At opening day this year, which was attended by more than 56,000 fans, a seat three rows from the top cost $90 per ticket from Stubhub.com while a good loge seat went for $160. That already prices out far too many Mets fans — especially those looking to bring their children — and those fans will increasingly be frozen out unless the Mets make Citi Field a big enough field for everyone in the city.



[October 8, 2007 11:48 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ross Jones said

I would like to see the new park expand, but the most important thing right now is to say way to go Tribe!

[October 10, 2007 4:08 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

Bah! I've been to new ballparks (Camden Yards, PetCo Park, and Miller Park.) They are beautiful stadia.

There are MANY seats at Shea which are unattainable to the common fan - next time you are on the field level, or in loge, just look at the names of the faceless corporations which own Field, Loge, and Mezz boxes... John Q Fan will not get those seats unless he happens to be connected.

There will be plenty of cheap seats go go around. You'll just have to work harder for them, and you may not get the game of your choice.

And I haven't seen the Red Sox suffering with their small stadium... It seems their fans try even harder to get to games.

[October 12, 2007 10:23 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Eli said

The first few years of Jacobs Field and Camden Yards were sold out for every game. I think the cheap seats you talk about are going to START at $40. My guess is when Citi Field opens there will be no seats for sale on a game by game basis. Also, Fenway had added seats to the place, not reduced them.

[October 12, 2007 10:26 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stormy said

Kingman, drop me an email when you have a chance. I found some cool Shea stuff that I'm not sure if you've posted here.


[October 12, 2007 10:32 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stormy said

I'm assuming you can see my email address after I input it to leave comments.

[October 14, 2007 8:28 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ceetar said

this decrease in seats is the only real thing I object to about Citi Field. Sure baseball is a business, but sometimes they forget it's entertainment too. Ask those 12k+ fans if they're rather sit in Upper Reserved Section 45, row Q, or watch at home and that really answers the question about 'small intimate ballparks'. Yankee stadium originally had 85k. amazing.

I expect the cheaper seats to be around 20-25. I shudder to think of what things will be like with Value, Silver, Platinum pricing stuff like they do now.

Don't get too caught up on the yankees being the 'bigger draw'. They won the World Series a couple of times in the late ninety's but it wasn't until 2001 that they drew 3.5 million fans. The Mets drew that in 2006, after 5 years of mediocracy.

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