— Days Without Shea —

by Kingman on September 8 at 9:45AM
Shea Stadium welcome sign
We didn't go to Shea Stadium this weekend. The Kingman clan was supposed to attend Sunday, then they switched the day game to a night game and we switched tickets. Long story that I will post about sometime.

If you watched any of the games, you noticed a fair amount of empty seats, especially Friday night. NY Crains had an article about the lack of a sellout for the Phillies/Mets series.

Of course, the U.S. Open probably helped to keep some fans away. But even so, the announced 47,000 attendance for last Friday's game is misleading. Those are tickets sold, not turnstiles turned. The empty seats are the result of modern ticket selling - force folks to buy season packages and plans for certain perks (new stadium guarantees, post-season tix, etc.) and you will end up with some empty rows.

I noticed the same thing in Citizen's Park last week, when the Mets were in Philadelphia. The stadium was full..except behind home plate. There, the most expensive seats were empty for much of  the game.

When asked why CitiField would have 13,000 less seats than Shea Stadium, Jeff Wilpon said those excess seats often went empty anyway, thus insinuating that the goal for Citi Field was to always have full houses. Once the thrill wears off, however, the fact is there will be empty seats aplenty, as the TICKETS for those seats will go unused. The price you pay for cutting out loyal fans.

Here's the Crains article...

The Mets-Phillies rivalry this weekend is leading off with weaker ticket sales than the last time the teams faced off at Shea Stadium.

Only 47,000 tickets have been sold in advance of Friday night’s game with an average of about 51,000 sold for the total three-game series.

That number is surprisingly low compared to July’s series between the rival New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies when 55,000 tickets were sold for the first game by opening night. Ticket sales for that entire series averaged 53,000, a number driven by the Mets’ 10-game winning streak.

But with the Mets now leading the Phillies by three games after several weeks of close competition topped off by a four-game winning streak, ticket sales for the September series are comparably lukewarm. Depending on last minute sales, Friday’s attendance will likely fall below the 51,000 average for home games in a season of record-high ticket sales at Shea.

This season the Mets have brought in over 4 million fans for the first time in the stadium’s 44-year history, a 40% increase from three years ago.

“The numbers for Friday’s game are certainly lower than one might expect, but there’s also less disposable income for average fans right now,” said Wayne McDonnell, an assistant professor of sports management at New York University. “The start of the NFL season has a lot of New York sports fans excited this year, and others are probably waiting to see about post-season tickets and what they might have to save for October if the Mets make it [to the playoffs]. You also have to consider the state of the economy with lower to middle-income families sending their kids back to school.”

Though none of the three Mets-Phillies games have sold out, the rest of the weekend is fairing better with 54,000 tickets sold for Saturday’s game and 53,000 for Sunday’s game.

[September 8, 2008 4:24 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Anonymous said

Those numbers are mind-boggling: 4 million fans! Average attendance of 51,000! Holy cow! Remember, the Mets didn't reach 2 million fans in any season at Shea until 1970, when they were the defending World Series champions. Ironic - just as the demand for seats has never been greater, the Mets are about to cut their capacity by 13,000 seats.

[September 8, 2008 9:13 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Mets Police said

Sunday was a clusterfrak - the people with Sunday day game tickets got a night game, and the day game went to Saturday people.

I didn't use my Sunday tickets because it was a night game. The NFL keeps people away.

On TV the stands looked full for the nightcap. My ticket partner used our seats and was surprised at how full it was.

4 million is impressive - yet having worked there in 1987, the crowds seemed bigger then. It might be the inflation due to "paid" attendance - wouldn't surprise me if more actual humans saw a game in 1987.

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