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  • MLB Teams Slyly Raising Spring Training Ticket Prices

    Do you have plans to get away from the cold and snow and feel the sand between your toes, the sun on your back, and hopefully catch some Twins spring training baseball in Florida? What better way to forget your problems and get away from it all? Well, if you are going, you might want to raise your credit card limit and keep a tight grip on your wallet or purse, because MLB is looking to help themselves to your money. Even the Twins, who aren't raising spring training ticket prices this year have found a loophole.

    It's part of a trend.
    Originally posted at www.twinstrivia.com.

    For instance, the Detroit Tigers apparently have found a new way to gouge a few additional dollars from their most dedicated fans. The Tigers normally open the gates to Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida two hours prior to home games. However, by that time the Tigers have already completed their batting practice. Baseball fans enjoy watching the home team take batting practice so the Tigers have decided to allow fans to get in early for home batting practice but the fans will be limited to the left-field berm and will need to scratch up an extra $5 for the privilege.

    Tigers management take on it is that the fans requested it since they could not watch batting practice and now they will be able to do so, if they come up with the bucks. Way to push it on the fans, Detroit Tigers management. If the Tigers were really just doing a good deed they would not charge for the privilege or if they did, or any money they collect should go to charity or to the old-time baseball players pensions.

    But it is not just the Tigers. Other teams are also looking to take more money from the wallets of their fans.

    It seems to me that a fan should not be punished if he/she decides to go to a baseball on short notice, but that is not the case if you want to take in an Atlanta Braves game in Lake Buena Vista as their web site states that "A $5 Walk-Up fee will apply to Day-Of-Game purchases." Punish walk-up ticket sales? Calvin Griffith is rolling over in his grave this very moment. (Editors note: And Calvin was hardly opposed to additional bucks.)

    Other teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates (who have not played .500 ball for 20 years) have come up with a different plan. "Prior to the individual ticket on-sale, fans will have the opportunity to take part in an 'Early Bird' online only pre-sale from January 23-25. 'Early Bird' pricing is different than regular single game pricing and is an alternative purchase opportunity for fans who want to be guaranteed seats to high-demand games." This means that for three days the Pirates allow you to pay more for a spring training ticket that you normally would.

    I see this as just another way that baseball is looking at additional fees to take in more money from their fans. I sure hope this is not something that spreads like wildfire throughout baseball as spring training is one of the few places where fans get a chance to get close to their team. Now it just seems like baseball is going to make them pay. Fans that attend spring training are the true fan base of any team. They spend their hard earned money to travel to a destination to observe their favorite teams and they should be rewarded by their teams and not punished with extra fees.

    The Minnesota Twins have made it tougher to get close to some of the fields in spring training themselves and that is a trend that I see getting worse over the years. It probably won't be long before they start charging fans for watching the minor leaguers play their games on the back fields. Baseball should be looking for ways to encourage fans to go to spring training by making it affordable but that apparently is not the case.

    Look at the Twins spring training ticket prices for example, this is year two of "Value" and "Premium" pricing. The tickets range from $13 for a "value" lawn ticket to $43 for a "premium" Dugout Box seat. Last year 3 of the 16 (18.8%) home games were designated as "premium", this year 6 of the 18 (33.3%) of the home games are classified as "premium" games. So while 2013 is the first time in a number of years that the Twins have not raised their spring training ticket prices at Hammond Stadium from the previous season but they doubled the number of their "premium" games so yes, they will make more money off ticket sales.

    (YES, $43 is the value pricing. How in the world can the Twins, who are coming off of back-to-back 90+ loss seasons and dropping payroll, charge $43 to watch a team that will not even have big leaguers playing most of the time? The Twins average spring trainng attendance in 2012 was 7,344 which was a drop of a little over 9% from 8,091 in 2011.

    If you are going to have variable pricing why not come up with a plan that is more fair to the fans? For instance, charge less for these early spring training exhibition games than for games played later in March, because early games feature mostly minor league players with major league players making cameo appearances.

    Let's take a look at the "value" Twins spring training ticket prices since 2008.

    Ticket type 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012* 2013**
    Dugout Box $38 n/a $39 $39 $40/$43 $40/$43
    Box $22 $23 $24 $25 $26/$29 $26/$29
    Reserved $20 $21 $22 $23 $24/$27 $24/$27
    Drink Rail $20 $21 $22 $25 $26/$29 $26/$29
    Lawn $12 $12 $12 $13 $13/$16 $13/$16

    * - 3 premium games
    ** - 6 premium games
    This article was originally published in blog: Florida spring training ticket prices started by jjswol
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      I attended my first spring training in Ft Myers in 2012. Had a blast; I was completely surprised how one can just walk in and witness the everyday goings-on. Being within 20 feet of Tom Kelly training a bunch of first-basemen was one of several highlights. Nothing you said here says that this part of the atmosphere is changing for 2013, but you imply that it might not last forever, and that would be a shame, and would somewhat kill the golden goose IMO.
    1. tellis205's Avatar
      tellis205 -
      Does anyone know what date the minor leaguer's report this year. And more importantly, what date the minor league games start on the back fields?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      The Minnesota Twins have made it tougher to get close to some of the fields in spring training themselves and that is a trend that I see getting worse over the years. It probably won't be long before they start charging fans for watching the minor leaguers play their games on the back fields
      This is totally inaccurate, unless you mean access to Hammond Stadium. Last ST I was able to go to the Lee County Sports Complex the days the Twins were not playing any home games, park for free and have access to pretty much everything (including the Hammond Stadium gift shop) but the "observation tower" and the small outdoor "club house". All the players, the managers and the coaches were there. I don't understand what the issue is here. Even the field next to Hammond, which is exclusively used by major leaguers had total access.

      As far as the "same day charge" the Braves have ($5) : I never had been to a Braves' game, but try to get to a Twins' game and attempt to get same day reserve tickets They are all sold. I usually do end up paying the same day charge (around $5 so the $43 and $46 tickets are $50) in the parking lot before games anyways. If there is an issue it should be that. Not allowing multiple pre-sales but at least the scalper prices are low enough.
    1. bdhenders's Avatar
      bdhenders -
      In spring training, I hear one of he best things to do is go in before the games begin to see the team practice. Once the games start, is there less of an opportunity to do that, or do they still have early morning practice? I'll be going down in mid-March, so as an alternative, I see there is an "OFF day" scheduled during the week I'll be down there. Does anyone know if there will be practice that day for minor leaguers or is it truly an off day?


      P.S. I've been watching for the minor league report date, too, but I don't think it's been announced yet. It was around mid-January last year when it came out, so should be any day.
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