By Taryn “The Coop” Cooper
Yesterday, the New York Mets made it a point to promote their “holiday ticket” sales. By the sounds of it, and by the fans who continually pump them up by being extensions of the cheerleading, marketing and ticketing departments, you’d have thought this was akin to a Black Friday early morning sale: your patience would be rewarded for buying tickets NOW for a game five months from now in 2013.
I’m not sure what people expected, but to say the enthusiasm fell flat would be an understatement.
Most of all, fans were in an uproar over social media forums, with the fact that the Promenade seats for Opening Day were priced at $63. A friend of mine mentioned that he got his for less than $40 in 2012. It’s understood that Opening Day is a high premium game, one in which the Mets have an opportunity to sell out the stadium and make some money. It’s the rest of the year they have trouble filling up.
I have no idea why you’re complaining about this stuff now. They’ve only been doing this for years. Can’t say I remember stuff like this at Shea, but it’s been the team’s MO since CitiField opened.
I’ve been a season ticket holder for six years. Each year since CitiField has opened, I’ve seen a decline in my ticket prices. My seats are pretty decent — the section called the “outfield reserved,” which means that I have seats in the outfield section but they are still considered “field level.” In my opinion, they’re probably one of the most cost-effective and best seats in the house. I understand people don’t like sitting in the outfield. But as a season ticket holder, I have never had a problem with resale unlike when I was in Promenade Reserved. I had to beg people to take my tickets then.
What people don’t seem to understand is that even though I have season tickets, they’re almost like a business investment to me. But as a business, I eat a lot of the cost too. Back years ago, the season ticket holder was seen as the real money maker in the stadiums. Now, the Mets spend most of the year catering to single game opportunities – like buy one ticket, get two free, or even the family package, where kids get in for free.
Now, in the Mets defense, I will say, I do not believe this is singularly their problem, but rather a baseball-wide issue. I’ve been to other stadiums and even good teams have a tough time filling the stadiums. But as we know, Mets fans are a fickle bunch and we’ve seen declines in attendance year in and year out, especially since CitiField opened. I guess in a large market, it’s more impactful.
I just have to laugh that some of the largest voices, those of whom are in bed with the Mets’ marketing department, are now all of a sudden up in arms about something.
My thought is…you all should have listened to me months ago when I warned you. Because I did.
I am a season ticket holder, who saw this coming a mile away. I wrote about it several months ago at my site Gal For All Seasons, when I was given the run-around for what I believed to be a good deal for season ticket holder initially. You can read the post Thank You Sir, May I Have Another at your leisure, about the Mets taking advantage of their built-in fan base, the season ticket holder.
The long and short of it was: in June, we got an email from our reps, telling us that a $500 deposit (technically $250/seat for each seat in your account) would not only hold our tickets for 2013 but would lock in prices from 2012 into 2013. To me, I thought it was more than fair. It was right when they announced the All-Star Game would be held at CitiField in 2013, and this was in line with that promotion. We would have guaranteed access to purchase All-Star Tickets.
Since season tickets are usually up for renewal in the late fall/early winter, I figured, I had a few months to worry about the rest of the payment. Turns out, I wasn’t prepared for them coming to me and saying I needed to pick a payment plan. By August 31, 2012. Several months before we’re used to doing it. And while I was still paying off the 2012 invoice.
The kicker was that even though we were told (and it was documented) that if we paid the “All-Star deposit,” we’d be locked in for 2013 at 2012 prices anyway. So to me two things were under the radar there: that the Mets planned on raising prices (I figured it was just a nominal raise, but enough to capitalize on generated interested for the ASG) and that they were really pumping the All-Star Game as a way to lock people into plans.
Trust me, no one is more aware about how the Mets are playing and the product they put out on the field more than I am. On the flip side, I can’t say that I blame them for trying to make a little money off the announcement. They needed SOMETHING.
But what got me was by the end of July, a sneaky email from my ticket rep, telling me I needed to figure out a payment plan by August 31. I thought it was sent in error. I was wrong.
You know what I did? I contacted the super-heroes of the Mets community, Metspolice Shannon Shark and his cohort Mediagoon. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with these fellows over the past year or so, and I like them. I decided to report my grievance to those who consider themselves the police force of the fan base. I asked if people had complained to them about this, that the Mets were pulling one over on the season ticket holders. They were both like – no, what happened? I explained, in detail, over email. I copied quotes. I had documentation.
I expected outrage. I got nothin’. So I wrote about it myself. I don’t have nearly the followers or readership that a site like theirs has. I figured, if they or someone else in the Mets community would pick up on it, something would be done. It went off with a whimper.
Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you all.
I have to kind of laugh now that the same people who are in bed with the Mets, who defend them at every shot by being close to the action, are NOW all of a sudden up in arms about the front office capitalizing on a game they know fans are going to attend, no matter what. I spend most of the year pumping my Mets/Yankees tickets and now this year, because the series doesn’t fall on a weekend, I may lose money on the series. I know these are total first world problems, but the money I make up during the year at premium games like that certainly doesn’t cover the cost of what I lose in September when no one wants to go, and the Mets have to basically give reams of free tickets away. I may get perks, like a jersey, or a signed cap or even tickets in the Delta SkyClub. But nothing really prepares me for just eating the cost of tickets I can’t make or that no one is interested in attending.
Oh, I know I’m the fool. But there’s more.
You know things are bad in Metsopotamia when the ever-optimist Ceetar is calling this a “troubling sign” (note: he did “suck it up” and buy tickets, in his words). Friend of the site and show La Grande Rusty from Real Dirty Mets says he’s “Livid.” Of all the stupid shit the Mets have done over the years, this is what pushes us over the edge?
But I kind of have to sit back and laugh when I see both Mediagoon and Metspolice calling out the Mets for this now. Guys, I hate to break it to you, I gave you this scoop MONTHS ago. You had a chance to call out the Mets organization on your site with tens of thousands of followers and chose not to, for whatever reason.
For lack of a better argument, I would say this is almost like the Martin Niemoller quote about not speaking up about the world and injustice around you because it did not apply to you. Yes, I know it’s a bit dramatic because in the grand scheme of things these are METS TICKETS we are discussing. But the idea is the same. One thing I have said about these bloggers with so-called “access” is that they become a little soft, a little more justifying of bad behavior from the powers-that-be. Not to say I am not one to look at the bright side of the Mets either. Like I said, I’ve been a season ticket holder for six years. I’m not going anywhere. But when I felt they were taking advantage of the season ticket holders months ago, and I could not get backing on it, I figured that I might have been the crazy one, that I might have been the one blowing things out of proportion.
Should have listened to me months ago, guys.
Lastly, a guy I admire and respect, Mark Healey from Gotham Nation has no love loss for the ownership group. This much he and I will always agree on. What we’ve disagreed on is how to stick it to them. In my opinion, if I stop going to Mets games, if I stop my season ticket plan, some other idiot will go in and buy my tickets. I guess in the grand scheme of things, I appreciate my “power” for lack of a better term as a season ticket holder, but I know at the end of the day, I’m just some schmuck who buys tickets and goes to ballgames.
According to Healey, he agrees with my “schmuck” terminology, as he claims that anyone still supporting the Mets by going to games and buying tickets are schmucks. You know what, dude? I really admire your stance. I even tend to agree that the money I could be spending on going to the Jersey Shore or other fabulous vacations is usually wasted on the Mets, a team that could really give a damn about me personally.
Conversely though, it’s part of my identity and to give that up would hurt ME more than hurting the team. I said a few years ago we should just sit one out, just one game — they have my money. It’s not going to be refunded. Playing to a mostly empty stadium would give them an opportunity to see how the fans could ban together and how it would look, even if it was just metaphorically.
I was mocked and laughed at for suggesting it. I didn’t care. I still feel like a symbolic “Fuck You” is something that this organization needs. Even if just for one night. Because I know getting ticket holders to not re-up is difficult. For me, it was. Being a Mets fan is part of my identity, even if it does make me a schmuck, which I’m inclined to believe in some of the time.
But you know, Healey has had it right all along. We are schmucks, we do believe that somehow “Just this once, just one more time” the Mets will come through for us and do the right thing.
Can’t say you weren’t warned. Because I was saying it all along. Yet, I’m just a schmuck who wanted her season tickets at the fair market value of 2012. Because we all know this team isn’t getting any better, despite having a Cy Young Award winner on the team.
And to the bloggers who found it prudent to complain, I say with great power comes great responsibility. Maybe if you all spent more time bringing up the real issues of the fans instead of bitching about black jerseys or patting yourselves on the back for Banner Day, this wouldn’t have come as a surprise for you.