Newsday has a good piece today on the increased ticket prices at Shea.
We posted about the gouging last night. Nothing surprising. Ticket prices go up most years. But this article puts the increase in context of the new stadiums (Both Yankee and Mets). The basic theme: ticket prices will continue to increase because people with lots of money will pay for them. Why are the Mets building a stadium with 20,000 fewer seats? “Because the last few thousand seats are the most expensive to build, but they produce the least revenue.”
This is why I don’t understand why fans aren’t more annoyed about Citi Field. It’s a farce to call this stadium a “throwback.” Ebbets Field wasn’t an exclusive club for New York’s elite. It was a stadium for real, blue-collar fans. Citi Field was built for — and is being priced for — an audience other than the real Mets fans who have attended games for decades at Shea.
Better sight lines? More bathrooms? Big deal. Unless you are willing to pay $100 a seat, you’ll never enjoy those amenities. A family of five (like mine) is going to be watching alot of games on TV that we used to go to in person.
From Tuesday’s Newsday:
From a bad choke to what seemed like a bad joke, Mets fans were stunned over the weekend to learn the team had boosted ticket prices by an average of 20 percent for 2008.
If Yankees fans had a laugh at their expense, they sobered up yesterday when they got their own lumps of coal: increases throughout a complex pricing system.
Here's the scariest thing, though: What will it all mean when both baseball teams open new stadiums in 2009 and ticket structures as we have understood them go kablooey?
Some of that we know now; some remains a mystery.
Lonn Trost, the Yankees' chief operating officer, said the team sought to spread out the changes and in fact priced the 2009 season first, then worked backward, so that about half of next season's seats will rise, but cost the same when the new stadium opens. The rest presumably will go up for '09.
Dave Howard, the Mets' executive VP of business operations, said the Mets' 2008 prices primarily are based on '08 economics, not as a preliminary step toward 2009.
But he conceded demand for tickets - and presumably the willingness to fork over the extra dough - is enhanced by fans' desire to retain priority at Citi Field.
It's a complex subject, one made more confusing by the different approaches of the teams, the different sizes of their new stadiums and different policies on matters such as variable pricing.
The New York drama is part of larger trends as the sports palaces of the 21st century continue to replace the last of the previous millennium's relics.
One clear trend: As in general American society, there is an ever-widening gap between economic haves and have-nots.
The most shocking ticket price increases tend to target those most able and willing to pay, while teams try to keep less desirable seats available at reasonable prices.
Howard said direct comparisons between Citi and Shea are difficult, but that the team is committed to maintaining affordable tickets.
"There will be some very expensive seats at Citi Field," he said, "but also a number of inexpensive seats."
One problem is the number of cheap seats often shrinks in newer, smaller stadiums such as Citi and New Yankee. This will be especially noticeable at Citi, where the whopping 20,000 upper-deck seats at Shea will be a distant memory.
The new Yankee Stadium will be larger by about 9,000 seats than Citi, and Trost promised 39,000 seats for $100 or less, 24,000 at $45 or less, 16,000 at $25 or less and 5,000 bleacher seats at $12.
Why make the stadiums smaller in the first place?
Because the last few thousand seats are the most expensive to build, but they produce the least revenue. It also is because a perception of scarcity leads fans to buy early and often, for fear of being shut out. The teams like that very much.
Catering to richer, more demanding fans goes beyond selling them good seats and jumbo shrimp. In some cases, it extends to variable pricing.
For example, according to a Mets' ticket holder with loge seats, the price hikes for 2008 are steepest for the most attractive games.
The cost of his seat will rise from $82 to $117 for platinum level opponents, or 43 percent. The increase descends from there to the value level, where the price rise is only $5 per ticket.
What's the strategy? Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports consultant, said "relatively price-insensitive businesses and high net worth individuals" are willing to pay extra for big games, leaving lesser opponents to people looking for bargains.
Look for that strategy to continue in the new stadium. (The Yankees don't do variable pricing.)
There will be benefits to the new buildings for those who get their hands on inexpensive seats: Views will be better in the smaller stadiums, and some fan-friendly goodies are good for everyone, even if they largely are financed by the high rollers.
"It's being closer, more amenities, better bathrooms, all the things everybody gets the benefit of," Ganis said.
Howard said the Mets still have the least costly median price of the area's major pro teams. And they currently are having a holiday sale on their Web site that offers the types of deals that likely will be more difficult to come by in '09 and beyond.
What about football? The Giants and Jets have not said whether they will resort to personal seat licenses in their new stadium in 2010. Uh-oh.
Yanks raise ticket prices for '08
The Yankees joined their crosstown counterparts yesterday in raising ticket prices for the 2008 season. Though Lonn Trost, the team's chief operating officer, was not happy about doing it, he made no apologies for bowing to the inevitable.
"We have to be able to be in a position to make sure fans can afford it and come out," he said. "We also have to be in a position to pay for all this."
"This" includes expensive items such as a new stadium and old players.
Trost said he was unable to estimate the average percentage increase for tickets "because we didn't look at it that way." The way the Yankees did look at their 2008 pricing was as an interim step of sorts en route to 2009 and their move across the street.
"The best way to say it is that approximately 50 percent of the increases that have been put in effect in 2008 will not increase into the new building," he said.
The team has about 37,000 season-ticket holders, and there is no reason to expect much drop-off, if any, with the new stadium on the horizon.
Trost said the price of bleacher seats will rise from $10 to $12 (in a season package) and upper reserved seats will go from $17 to $20 or $25. There also are increases at far more expensive levels.
Unlike the Mets, the Yankees do not offer variable pricing based on opponents or day of week.
The 10 most expensive ticket levels already are sold out.
The costliest of the remaining eight levels, the "Tier Boxes MVP," cost $55 per game for a full season ticket, $65 for an individual ticket in advance and $70 on game day.
The most expensive ticket is $400 for a game-day purchase at the "Field Championship" level. - Neil Best
Summer, 2007: The Mets tell us — partial season ticket holders at Shea Stadium for 23 years — that come 2009, we can expect NO chance to tickets in the new stadium unless we radically upgrade our package.
September, 2007: The Mets implode, and fall out of first place in fantastically horrible fashion.
October, 2007: We don’t see the Mets in the postseason.
November, 2007: We don’t see the Mets make any meaningful moves to upgrade the 2007 version of the team. We did lose one starter to free agency and traded one once untouchable prospect to the Nationals for two luke warm starters.
December, 2007: The Mets announce they are raising ticket prices for the final season at Shea Stadium.
Well that makes total sense.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets will raise ticket prices about 20 percent for next season, reflecting their high payroll and upcoming move to a new ballpark.
The Mets recently sent out season-ticket renewal forms. Prices last season ran from $108 for Metro Club Gold seats near the dugouts to $5 for spots in the top rows at Shea Stadium.
In 2009, the Mets will move into 45,000-seat Citi Field. Fans who buy season tickets for this season will have priority on picking out seats for the new stadium. Shea holds more than 57,000 seats.
The biggest increases will affect the most expensive seats, said Dave Howard, the Mets' executive vice president, business operations. There will be $5 seats for 36 of the 81 home games next season, he said.
"We considered where we were in the marketplace. Our average ticket price is still the lowest among the nine major pro sports teams in the New York area," Howard said Saturday. "Our payroll is among the highest in baseball. We put our resources back into the team. We tried to strike a balance."
The best seats at Yankee Stadium cost $150 last season.
So I excerpted the Mets named in the Mitchell report. I omitted guys like Paul Byrd, who once were Mets but juiced up after their Met careers. I did include guys (like Lo Duca) whose Met careers may have been enhanced by use before arriving at Shea Stadium.
Paul Lo Duca
Paul Lo Duca is a catcher who has played with three teams in Major League Baseball since 1998, the Los Angeles Dodgers (7 seasons), Florida Marlins (2 seasons), and New York Mets (2 seasons). He has appeared in four All-Star games.
Todd Hundley referred Lo Duca to Radomski when Lo Duca played for the Dodgers. Radomski estimated that he engaged in six or more transactions with Lo Duca. In some transactions, Radomski sent the performance enhancing substances by overnight mail to Lo Duca’s home or to the Dodgers clubhouse and Lo Duca sent Radomski a check a week or so later.
Radomski produced copies of three checks from Lo Duca, each in the amount of $3,200. All are included in the Appendix. Radomski said that each check was in payment for two kits of human growth hormone.
Lo Duca’s name, with an address and telephone number, is listed in the address book seized from Radomski’s residence by federal agents. During that search, federal agents also seized a note from Lo Duca to Radomski. It read:
Kirk, Sorry! But for some reason they sent the check back to me. I haven’t been able to call you back because my phone is TOAST! I have a new # it is [Lo Duca’s phone number is listed here]. Please leave your # again because I lost all of my phonebook with the other phone. Thanks Paul In 2002, Lo Duca was quoted by Sports Illustrated in an article responding to Ken Caminiti’s admission of steroid use. Lo Duca was reported to have said: “If you’re battling for a
job, and the guy you’re battling with is using steroids, then maybe you say, ‘Hey, to compete, I need to use steroids because he’s using them . . . Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone it. But it’s a very tough situation. It’s really all about survival for some guys.”
On June 26, 2004, Lo Duca wrote a check to Radomski for $3,200. On July 30, 2004, the Dodgers traded Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota, and Juan Encarnacion to the Marlins. On August 7, 2004, Lo Duca issued another check to Radomski for $3,200. In January 2005, Lo Duca signed a three-year contract with the Marlins.
Todd Pratt played as a catcher from 1992 to 2006 for four teams in Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies (8 seasons), Chicago Cubs (1 season), New York Mets (5 seasons), and Atlanta Braves (1 season).
Radomski became acquainted with Pratt after he joined the Mets in 1997. According to Radomski, Pratt informed him that he had previously bought Deca-Durabolin from another source.
Sometime in 2000 or 2001, while he was still with the Mets, Pratt asked to buy anabolic steroids. Radomski made one or two sales of small amounts of steroids to Pratt. Radomski also recalled having a few discussions with Pratt regarding their use.
In order to provide Pratt with information about these allegations and to give him an opportunity to respond, I asked him to meet with me. He did not respond to my request.
Mike Stanton is a pitcher who has played Major League Baseball with eight teams since 1989, the Atlanta Braves (7 seasons), Boston Red Sox (parts of 3 seasons), Texas Rangers (part of 1 season), New York Yankees (7 seasons), New York Mets (2 seasons), Washington Nationals (parts of 2 seasons), San Francisco Giants (part of 1 season), and Cincinnati Reds (1 season). He has been selected to an All-Star team once.
Radomski met Stanton around 2001 while he was pitching for the Yankees.
Radomski recalled making two sales of human growth hormone to Stanton. The first occurred in 2003, during Stanton’s first season with the Mets. Early in that season, Radomski mailed two kits of human growth hormone to Stanton at his residence. Stanton paid Radomski $3,200 by money order.
Radomski stated that he dropped off one kit of human growth hormone at Stanton’s locker in the Mets clubhouse later in the 2003 season. Stanton paid $1,600 in cash for that order. Radomski and Stanton spoke on the telephone two or three times in the course of these sales.
Fernando Vina played several positions with five teams in Major League Baseball from 1993 until 2004, the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Detroit Tigers. He played in the 1998 All-Star game and won two National League Golden Glove Awards as a second baseman. During the 2007 baseball season, he was a commentator for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight
While Radomski was working for the Mets as a clubhouse attendant in 1993, he met Vina, who was then in the Mets minor league system. Radomski stated that he sold anabolic steroids or human growth hormone to Vina six to eight times during 2000 to 2005. Radomski produced three checks from Vina. Radomski stated that these checks reflected a March 2003 purchase by Vina of human growth hormone, an April 2003 purchase by Vina of steroids, most likely Winstrol, and a July 2005 purchase by Vina of Deca-Durabolin.
On October 1, 2007, ESPN reported on its website that New York Mets pitcher Scott Schoeneweis had received six shipments of steroids from Signature Pharmacy at Comiskey Park while he was playing for the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and 2004. Dr. Ramon Scruggs of the New Hope Health Center (the suspended California physician who also was reported to have issued prescriptions for Troy Glaus) reportedly prescribed the drugs. According to ESPN, Schoeneweis spent $1,160 on steroids, including testosterone and stanozolol. Schoeneweis denied the report.
Mitchell List Of Mets:
Mets In Mitchell Report: Carreon, Matt Franco and Donnels
Mets In Mitchell Report: Dykstra, Segui, Manzanillo and Hundley
Mets In Mitchell Report: Mo Vaughn
Mark Carreon played as an outfielder in Major League Baseball from 1987 to 1996, with the New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, and Cleveland Indians.
Matt Franco played as an infielder with three teams in Major League Baseball between 1995 and 2003, the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves.
Although Radomski stopped working for the Mets after the 1994 season, he continued to socialize with Mets players and personnel. Radomski said he met Franco when he played for the Mets and that he came to know Franco “very well.” Radomski said that he sold Franco steroids on one occasion in 2000 after Franco called him to place the order. This call occurred, according to Radomski, after Radomski ran into Franco at an event.
Franco agreed to an interview by telephone with my investigative staff. During that interview, Franco denied ever purchasing or using any performance enhancing substance. Franco also denied that he ever met, knew, or talked with Radomski, asserting that he had never even heard of Radomski before the publicity over Radomski’s guilty plea.
Chris Donnels played parts of eight seasons as an infielder with five teams in
Major League Baseball between 1991 and 2002, the New York Mets, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Radomski met Donnels while they were both with the Mets in 1991 and 1992. Radomski sold both human growth hormone and steroids to Donnels from 2000 to 2004. Radomski produced eight checks and money orders from Donnels. The earliest was dated November 29, 2001 and the latest June 23, 2004; they totaled $9,950.
Donnels agreed to speak with members of my investigative staff. He said that he had been expecting to hear from us. Donnels said that his first discussions about anabolic steroids occurred in 1993, when he was playing for the Houston Astros. Ken Caminiti, who also was then with the Astros, asked Donnels what he knew about steroids, and thereafter they spoke frequently about the subject and conducted their own research. Caminiti eventually told Donnels that he was going to try steroids; Donnels believes that was the first time Caminiti had tried them. Donnels felt that using steroids was “not the right thing to do,” and he decided against using the drugs then.
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