After the news broke yesterday about the NY Mets Third Annual Adjustment of Ticket Prices, I got an e-mail inviting me to a conference call with Mets Executive VP of Business Operation, David Howard to ask questions about the new dynamic pricing on Mets tickets. As most of you know, I’m not a fan of Howard’s and from what I hear the feeling is mutual. After last night’s conference call nothing has change in our relationship.
Howard started the call by reiterating what was in the press release where the organization has scraped its Platinum, Gold, Silver, Tin Can tier pricing to a new pricing program where Mets tickets will be priced like a commodity. Just like gold, silver and pork bellies (the Skill Sets have really morphed into the Duke brothers ) the price of a Mets ticket will now be set by market demand, however there is one caveat, there is a minimum price a ticket will go for and it will be what a season ticket holder paid for their ticket, which is fair as the organization is protecting its best customer. Ah, but this being the Mets there always a “read the fine print” moment and in this case it’s giving season ticket holders a deadline of November 7th to make a payment to commit to 2012 season tickets. This is a full month earlier than usual and as Howard Megdal points out right at the time teams can have exclusive negotiating rights with its own free agents. The Mets fan cynic in me says this means that there is no way the club will resign Jose Reyes and they want to make sure those who hold season tickets make an early commitments before they can decide if a Reyes-less Mets team is one they want to invest their discretionary income.
I’m not a season ticket holder but I did at one time buy partial plans but with different commitments and such, I decided to buy game tickets when I know I’m free to go to games. So under this plan I will have to play Russian Roulette Mets style to buy my tickets. The price of tickets will vary as to who the opponent is and if the team is in contention or an also ran. So a seat for a game against the San Diego Padres on a Monday night in September will a whole lot less than a game against the Highlanders on a June Friday night. Classic supply and demand.
The question I posed to Howard was about all the seats with no ass’s in them behind home plate and how watching the current post season games from Citizen Bank Park, Comerica Park and Rangers Ballpark where there are real good old fashion baseball seats with fans in them as opposed to Citi Field where fans would rather sip Chardonnay and talk about how happy they are that the financial intuition they work for is sucking the country’s economy dry, than watch a baseball game. So courtesy of Amazin’ Avenue, who has done a fantastic job of transcribing the conference call (a big tip of the Mets cap to Chris McShanne and James Kannengieser ) here is my question and Howard’ response:
Steve Keane, Ed Kranepool Society: This is the 3rd year in a row that the organization has revamped its ticket program and it seems like the organization has a problem reading its fan base. Watching these postseason games, especially games at Citizens Bank Ballpark, Comerica and Arlington, you see the seats behind home plate are regular stadium seats, whereas at Citi Field they have these big expensive luxury seats. Has there ever been any thought of taking those seats out by the Champions Club, and putting in seats where fans will actually sit in those seats during games.
DH: The Champions Club is behind home plate but not immediately behind home plate on the field level. It’s actually technically off of the field level concourse. They sit above the Sterling Seats. With regards to the Champions Club in particular, we are actually changing that club and making it an all-inclusive club. While the prices are essentially remaining constant, there is going to be complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages served.
I think in regards to the Delta Club, which is the club that’s on camera from the center field view during games, those are upholstered theater-style seats. They are very comfortable. They are a premium seat. They are basically sold out. Again, you may not see people sitting in those seats all the time. They may be in the club, they may be in the back, they may not be there. Those seats are sold, so we don’t have any plans at this point to change those. What happens is that the team starts to win more, it gets more exciting; people will be in those seats on an increased basis.
So in essence, who gives a shit if someone is sitting in the seats, THEY’RE PAID FOR!!!! And they are sold out (I guess those were the tickets that sold like “hotcakes” last season) Howard’s thinking is we can get the corporate suit here to wine and dine during games but it’s you annoying Mets fans with your rent and mortgages and families to take care of and on top of that insisting on having a winning team that we need to buy tickets. There has to be some bloodline between David Howard and M.Donald Grant .