Loge13 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.