— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | CitiField | Mets
by Kingman on June 1 at 10:19AM
The Kingman clan and most of us in Loge13 gave up our seats for Monday night's (Memorial day) game. We also traded our 5/18 tickets for tonight's Pirates game. The Kingman patriarch and matriarch will be going as I unfortunately have a conflict and can't make it.

And I am not alone in not being alone at Citi Field. Attendance continues to wallow and will only get worse, if and when the Mets start trading off our few marquee players.

Nate Silver of the 538 political blog went out to Citi Field Saturday night and was aghast at how empty the stadium was for a Mets/Phillies showdown on a holiday weekend. As a numbers guy, Silver let the data make his very dire point about the Mets attendance:

"The Mets' attendance, through their first 25 home dates (not counting the second game of a double-header against the Rockies, for which separate admission was not charged), is now running 13 percent behind last season's pace, which in turn ran 15 percent below 2009's. But the news is a little bit worse than that still, for two reasons.

First, the downward trend appears to be accelerating. Through their first 10 home dates, the Mets were averaging 29,281 fans, just barely behind last season's pace. Since then, however -- despite playing most of their home games against the Phillies, Dodgers and Giants, who are usually good draws in New York -- attendance has averaged just 28,024, versus 34,425 for the comparable period in 2010.

Second, this is happening despite lower ticket prices. According to data from Team Marketing Report, the average seat at Citi Field (combining what the Mets define as 'regular' and 'premium' seats) sells for $61 this season, down from $70 last year and $79 in 2009. This implies that the Mets' ticket revenues are running about 25 percent below last season's pace, and are barely half what they were just two years ago...

...

Rather than bore you with the details of a regression analysis that I conducted, which looks at these different factors, I'll just give you the conclusion: it suggests that the Mets are making something like 20 or 25 percent less than they "should" be making based on the size and wealth of the New York market, the quality of the team's play over the near- and medium-term, and the way that fans rate the stadium experience at Citi Field.

This isn't definitive proof of anything -- the margin of error on the calculation is fairly high, depending on which assumptions one makes. But it does provide further evidence that there are unexplained or "intangible" factors driving down the Mets' attendance and revenues this season, above and beyond the team's mediocre play."

Intangibles. I completely agree. This is more than just fans reacting to a good team playing badly. We have some good players. We also have bad ownership mocking those good players and clearly queuing up some of them for early dismissal. That same cluelessness is evident in the ticket plans and how fans have been treated by ownership. And this problem won't be fixed until new ownership is in place. Until then, enjoy the peace and quiet of Citi Field.



[June 1, 2011 11:28 AM]  |  link  |  reply
RustySlob said

...maybe some good news down the road. Maybe all this pain will lead the next group of owners to be more wise. And, shhhhhh, between you & me, it certainly feels like we're in a depression and a ticket to a ball game should cost about 10 bucks esp. when I could watch Kingman Jr. in a competitive game for free.

[June 1, 2011 2:09 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

New ownership won't make that big a difference. Do you go to Mets games to root for your team? Or do you go to Mets game because the ownership is just peachy?

You go because you root for the team.

So, the question you have to ask yourself is, "How much am I willing to spend, regardless of the product on the field, to see the Mets play live?"

And what I am afraid is, that for most, the cost fans are willing to pay to see a game is much lower than the cost predicted in the business model that MLB has penned itself. A $10 ticket is not going to improve the bottom line. $10 x 44,000 x 81 = $35.6 million. That's what? Two players? And that assumes you sell out 24/7. Someone's gotta pay.

As I have posted before, the cost of doing business and fielding a team is uber-expensive, and teams NEED the new stadiums to generate the revenues to make payroll. The Mets and Dodgers should be idiot-proof in terms of making money, but as we can see, the McCourts are barely making ends meet out in LA. The Mets needed to bring someone in order to operate effectively. It will get ugly in the Bronx if the Yankees stop making the playoffs like clockwork. All this... In New York and LA. What does this say for other cities that do not have the lucrative TV / Cable deals + population base to draw on?

Players are asking for (and owners are paying) higher salaries. How much are you willing to pay?

We know fans do not turn out in great numbers for a losing team. There are exceptions, but NY is not one of them.

I see this (not only in NY and LA) getting uglier in the near future. MLB's business model is not sustainable, in my opinion.


Cheers!
-Doug

[June 2, 2011 5:27 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Paul said

So attendance is down at Citi Field this year, but my question is: What took you guys so long?
It wasn’t like the handwriting was on the wall. Have we forgotten how they left us hanging after the 2008 season? Great way to treat plan ticket holders. I also fell for what they finally offered us for 2009, but after that year was over I said enough!!!
I was not going to pay “infield prices” for “outfield seats”. So what am I missing?
Meaningful games…..No.
Exciting Games…..No
Being taken advantage of……Hell No.
The reason why attendance is down is because finally people are tired of Paying for Steak….when all that is being served it Ground Beef!

[June 3, 2011 10:13 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

Paul,

What do you think is a fair price to see a game? Do you think a team can pay its players based on that ticket price?

I hate to write it, but the players are getting paid more than can be generated from the ballpark and TV.

Cheers!
-Doug


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