And they ask why MLB attendance has been decreasing

Lose Remerswaal

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The facts are bad enough that DS could choose not to exaggerate average ticket prices or use a well located team like the Nats to complain about parking when there is a Metro station right there.
 

Ale Xander

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Bag ban is a good thing. I wish we had it at Fenway (another "well-located" team).
 

Ale Xander

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I'm fine with a medical or infant exception. But in any case, I've seen plenty of infants at TD Garden.

Adults with backpacks slow everything down and people are sometimes unaware of their surroundings.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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(1) Don't know where the author spends her nights but banning backpacks (or going even further than that) is pretty much de rigueur at large public events. For example, the NFL bag ban goes much further than the Nats: http://www.nfl.com/qs/allclear/index.jsp. I believe same policy is in effect at Fed Ex field for non-NFL events too (such as the Taylor Swift concert that resulted in hundreds of purses being throw away outside the stadium IIRC).

(2) Nats policy - https://www.mlb.com/nationals/ballpark/information/bag-policy - has diaper and medical exceptions. NFL has medical exception but says that diapers have to be carried into stadium in clear bags.

Prices, on the other hand, is another topic.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Attendance is down because tickets, parking, and concessions are prohibitively expensive for average people. That's it.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Attendance is down because tickets, parking, and concessions are prohibitively expensive for average people. That's it.
I don't buy this - at least, I don't buy that this is the ONLY reason. Concerts at these same venues routinely sell out, and prices are as exorbitant if not more for those events. Yes, it's true that people probably only go to 1-2 large stadium-level concerts a year but I suspect that the average baseball fan also probably only goes to 1-2 games a year as well.

Plus, do you have any evidence that baseball ticket prices (and related prices like parking) have gone up more in the last few years than tickets for other sports? If that's not the case, then doesn't there have to be at least some other explanation?
 

YTF

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I'm fine with a medical or infant exception. But in any case, I've seen plenty of infants at TD Garden.

Adults with backpacks slow everything down and people are sometimes unaware of their surroundings.
How so, because of the security check at the turnstile? If that's the case, should purses be banned? Also a lot of folks take the T into Fenway after spending a day in the city. Should they be required to take the T back to their vehicles and off load their backpacks or whatever they bought during the day and then take the T back to Fenway? As far as folks being unaware of their surroundings, that's not exclusively a backpack issue. Oh and fat people, we tend to slow things down too.
 

charlieoscar

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The facts are bad enough that DS could choose not to exaggerate average ticket prices or use a well located team like the Nats to complain about parking when there is a Metro station right there.
Metro stops running at 11:30 p.m. M-Th. The stop is not right at the ballpark and it is only the Green line so if you need to transfer to another line, you best hope the game ends with enough time left for you to do so. Since there is only one close Metro stop, you might have 20,000 to 30,000 fans waiting for the train. You might live in an area that is not served by a Metro train, so you would ahve to either drive and hope to find a parking place or take a bus (and hope it is still running when you get back.

It's not necessarily quite as simple as you make it out to be. I lived in Alexandria, VA for 30-odd years and have some experience with getting in and out of DC at night.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Metro stops running at 11:30 p.m. M-Th. The stop is not right at the ballpark and it is only the Green line so if you need to transfer to another line, you best hope the game ends with enough time left for you to do so. Since there is only one close Metro stop, you might have 20,000 to 30,000 fans waiting for the train. You might live in an area that is not served by a Metro train, so you would ahve to either drive and hope to find a parking place or take a bus (and hope it is still running when you get back.

It's not necessarily quite as simple as you make it out to be. I lived in Alexandria, VA for 30-odd years and have some experience with getting in and out of DC at night.
Poked around on this issue and just now learned that METRO doesn't stay open later because the Nats won't pay. Here's an article from two years ago that I assume is still good: https://wtop.com/washington-nationals/2017/10/nationals-metro-nightmare-will-never-end/.

When the 2012 postseason (the franchise’s first in D.C.) rolled around, a Nationals official claimed that MLB did not want to set a precedent by paying for transit systems to stay open. Living Social stepped in that year to offer to pay, as did American University in 2014, but the situation never came to a head until last year.


Now, the problem has gotten more expensive.


With Metro struggling financially and downtime to make repairs and improvements at more of a premium, the bill to keep the system open has spiked to $100,000. Considering the Nats only made $1,611 back from the scant 445 passengers who used the system that Sunday night game, even with a far greater level of participation for a sold-out playoff affair would mean spending tens of thousands of dollars. But with ticket revenue alone netting potentially $5 million per game or more (not even counting for concessions, merchandise, parking, etc.), the dent seems far less damaging.


And considering the organization received over $700 million in taxpayer money for their ballpark, holding a public standoff against a cash-strapped public utility might seem like poor form. But it’s easy to win a popularity contest against Metro in this town, at least the first time around. However, the transit system’s reduced hours combined with the prime time-heavy later rounds of the playoffs mean the team will continue to be confronted with this issue again and again the further they advance.
DC should have required as part of the stadium financing package that the Nats pay to keep the Metro open for fans. Too late for that.
 

axx

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Jul 16, 2005
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Well, if they only got 445 people to take it, it may not be that big of a deal.

I went to a weekday Red Sox game that ended after midnight and didn't have difficulty getting home via the MBTA. 11:30 does seem pretty early to close though, the MBTA is 1-1:30 and some people complain that's too early.
 

Plympton91

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I drive in for Nats games 4 weekends a year or so and don’t find parking to be a problem. There’s maybe a 1/2 hour delay getting out of the garages/lots back to the highway, but it’s pretty well located for that. Getting in is usually a 10-15 minute wait in heavy traffic. Now that the area around the park is improving, it’ll be even less so with the ability to arrive early and get dinner and leave late after getting a dessert somewhere. That also cuts down on the amount of overpriced ballpark slop and bad wine to counter the parking cost.

We’d go more maybe 1 or 2 more times if the good seats were cheaper, but the StubHub prices are usually good in DC.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I don't buy this - at least, I don't buy that this is the ONLY reason. Concerts at these same venues routinely sell out, and prices are as exorbitant if not more for those events. Yes, it's true that people probably only go to 1-2 large stadium-level concerts a year but I suspect that the average baseball fan also probably only goes to 1-2 games a year as well.

Plus, do you have any evidence that baseball ticket prices (and related prices like parking) have gone up more in the last few years than tickets for other sports? If that's not the case, then doesn't there have to be at least some other explanation?
Concerts occur far less often than baseball games. It's not as if you have 80 opportunities a year to see your favorite band.

Who said anything about comparing the inflation rate of tickets to other sports? Pretty sure I didn't. Live baseball has been trending away from affordable for the everyman for quite a while now, and while there may be other variables in play, cost is 100% the main cause.

I mean, hell, think about it. I can get an entire season of MLB.tv and a year of VPN service to ensure no blackouts for less than one decent seat at Fenway costs for any game, and that's not including 10 bucks for a beer.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Live baseball has been trending away from affordable for the everyman for quite a while now, and while there may be other variables in play, cost is 100% the main cause.
Again, I don't disagree that cost is a factor, but if baseball has been trending away from affordable for quite a while, why has it been in only the last two years that MLB has actually seen a meaningful attendance dip?
 

Ale Xander

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Well, if they only got 445 people to take it, it may not be that big of a deal.

I went to a weekday Red Sox game that ended after midnight and didn't have difficulty getting home via the MBTA. 11:30 does seem pretty early to close though, the MBTA is 1-1:30 and some people complain that's too early.
There is no excuse for wold class, generally walking-friendly, cities like DC and Boston to not have 24 hour subway service.
 

Ale Xander

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How so, because of the security check at the turnstile? If that's the case, should purses be banned? Also a lot of folks take the T into Fenway after spending a day in the city. Should they be required to take the T back to their vehicles and off load their backpacks or whatever they bought during the day and then take the T back to Fenway? As far as folks being unaware of their surroundings, that's not exclusively a backpack issue. Oh and fat people, we tend to slow things down too.
You make good points.
 

Max Power

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There is no excuse for wold class, generally walking-friendly, cities like DC and Boston to not have 24 hour subway service.
That's not possible in Boston since the overnight hours are needed for maintenance. There isn't double tracking anywhere in the system. When they've tried to use bus service overnight to replace it, nobody used it. That's especially true now with ride hailing services. Riders won't wait half an hour for the next bus at 3am if they can get dropped off door to door.

I'd have to agree with the price of tickets being the main factor. TVs have gotten so large with such good picture quality that it's often a worse view of the game when you're actually there. Asking someone to pay more for the experience is a tough sell unless there's great ambiance at the park. That can come from the facility itself or the excitement around the performance of the team, but most games aren't offering that.
 

OurF'ingCity

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There is no excuse for wold class, generally walking-friendly, cities like DC and Boston to not have 24 hour subway service.
Would you call London a world-class, walking-friendly city? Because they don't have 24-hour subway service either. In fact, I don't think any city does other than New York and to a limited extent Chicago.
 

OurF'ingCity

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TVs have gotten so large with such good picture quality that it's often a worse view of the game when you're actually there.
I think this is a huge part of it, even putting ticket prices aside - in other words, I think even if prices had stayed roughly level over the past five or so years I would think attendance might drop due to TVs and other technologies. Before, if you wanted to get a "game-like" experience you either had to go to the game itself or find a sports bar with a big tv and a crowd that is into it. Now, you can watch the game at home and interact with other fans via Twitter, put another game on a second screen, etc.

I think this is even more true for the NFL, so it's no surprise that their attendance was also way down last year.
 

YTF

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I think this is a huge part of it, even putting ticket prices aside - in other words, I think even if prices had stayed roughly level over the past five or so years I would think attendance might drop due to TVs and other technologies. Before, if you wanted to get a "game-like" experience you either had to go to the game itself or find a sports bar with a big tv and a crowd that is into it. Now, you can watch the game at home and interact with other fans via Twitter, put another game on a second screen, etc.

I think this is even more true for the NFL, so it's no surprise that their attendance was also way down last year.
Another part of this equation is that you can get the MLB Extra Innings package or MBL TV for the entire season for less than many folks spend for one day at the ballpark for two people.
 

charlieoscar

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I drive in for Nats games 4 weekends a year or so and don’t find parking to be a problem.
When I lived down that way, I'd drive in, getting there on the early side (night games) and find street parking, I might have to pay for an hour's parking and walk a few blocks but I could get in and out pretty quickly I'd head over to Anacostia way to get on the Beltway to get back to VA. They may have changed the hours on the parking meters since I left but there was even some street parking that was not metered.
 

dhappy42

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In 1987, the most expensive ticket in MLB was a field box seat at Fenway. It cost $14. Adjusted for inflation, that’d be $31.15 now.
 

nvalvo

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Would you call London a world-class, walking-friendly city? Because they don't have 24-hour subway service either. In fact, I don't think any city does other than New York and to a limited extent Chicago.
This is basically true. London, Rome, Tokyo, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, and Beijing are all examples of cities with more limited metro hours than Boston. Melbourne and Copenhagen have fully-automated systems that run 24 hours, and a few other cities (including SF, Tokyo, and Berlin) run less-expensive bus service along the routes served by the trains in the middle of the night.

Chicago runs the CTA Red and Blue lines all night. The others stop at 1.
 

JCizzle

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There is no excuse for wold class, generally walking-friendly, cities like DC and Boston to not have 24 hour subway service.
Even late night WEEKEND service is a big point of contention for metro. They ignored maintenance for years and now desperately need the down time to keep the system running.
 

Plympton91

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There is no excuse for wold class, generally walking-friendly, cities like DC and Boston to not have 24 hour subway service.
There is absolutely no reason for DC to have 24 hour subway service. DC is perfectly vehicle friendly except for 6-9:30 am and 4-7:30 pm. It’s still primarily a commuter town and most of NW between 23rd and 16th below K St is a ghost town by 7.
 

Plympton91

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In 1987, the most expensive ticket in MLB was a field box seat at Fenway. It cost $14. Adjusted for inflation, that’d be $31.15 now.
And every ticket at Fenway would be purchased by scalpers as soon as sales opened, with them getting the windfall profits of reselling instead of the players and owners.
 

Max Power

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And every ticket at Fenway would be purchased by scalpers as soon as sales opened, with them getting the windfall profits of reselling instead of the players and owners.
Even at Fenway demand has been very soft the last couple of years. The season ticket plans are a money loser unless there's a deep playoff run.
 

Adrian's Dome

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And every ticket at Fenway would be purchased by scalpers as soon as sales opened, with them getting the windfall profits of reselling instead of the players and owners.
1. Unlikely, but if you want to play that game, then...

2. I'd much rather pay a scalper an extra $5 for a $30 ticket than line the pockets of a near-billionaire for the same ticket at $200.
 

Pandarama

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1. Unlikely, but if you want to play that game, then...

2. I'd much rather pay a scalper an extra $5 for a $30 ticket than line the pockets of a near-billionaire for the same ticket at $200.
If the market will bear a $200 price for a given ticket, what’s unlikely is that a scalper will let you have it for $35.
 

Adrian's Dome

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If the market will bear a $200 price for a given ticket, what’s unlikely is that a scalper will let you have it for $35.
The entire point of the topic is trying to figure out why attendance is down. Tickets being unreasonable for the everyman is my theory, so I seriously doubt the market will bear a $200 average (which, admittedly, is a number I pulled completely out of my ass, but that's what a really good seat in Fenway will run you.) The $30 number is a present-day price adjusted for inflation from Fenway's most expensive ticket 32 years ago.

I know a lot of people that could (and would) very consistently go to baseball games (myself included) if good tickets ran 30 bones a pop instead of several hundred. That means you could also slum it in the bleachers or SRO for a fraction of that...but unfortunately today, it's not happening.
 

Max Power

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I'm not sure that the true market price of a box seat for a baseball game is actually $200. It seems like people are conditioned to pay that because the Red Sox have put that price on them, so that's become the belief that that's what they're worth. If no tickets had any prices and they were all sold at auction, I think the average price would be much lower.

A baseball game has a better chance of being a terrible deal than just about any other ticketed event. The best team loses 40% of the time and a lot of those losses are really hard to watch. It's easy to chalk that up to bad luck and try again some other day when tickets are cheap. When you're spending a good chunk of your weekly pay for something that turns out not to be very fun, you're much less likely to do it again. Professional sports may be killing future attendance by squeezing every last penny out of current fans.
 

charlieoscar

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The Red Sox used to hold a Futures Game when they scheduled a couple of their minor league home games at Fenway for an afternoon. They knocked the ticket prices way down, along with the costs for food, drinks, and parking. It was a great way to get seats in areas of the park that you generally couldn't get/afford. For example, one year I got standing room on top of the Green Monster for $11; another year it was Club 6 in the State Street Pavilion for $35 (today that would be about $210 and $264, respectively, for a Sox game).

Of course, the first Red Sox game I attended at Fenway was in 1952 and I sat in the third row directly behind home plate. That ticket cost $3.50.
 

Dehere

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Another factor: no new ballparks. MLB went through a 25 year period during which new ballparks were opening at a rate of roughly one per year. We’ve had just one new ballpark in the last seven years and it’s a ho-hum park in a ho-hum baseball market. As great as the new crop of parks are, the novelty has worn off in most cities.
 

Plympton91

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The Red Sox used to hold a Futures Game when they scheduled a couple of their minor league home games at Fenway for an afternoon. They knocked the ticket prices way down, along with the costs for food, drinks, and parking. It was a great way to get seats in areas of the park that you generally couldn't get/afford. For example, one year I got standing room on top of the Green Monster for $11; another year it was Club 6 in the State Street Pavilion for $35 (today that would be about $210 and $264, respectively, for a Sox game).

Of course, the first Red Sox game I attended at Fenway was in 1952 and I sat in the third row directly behind home plate. That ticket cost $3.50.
And how much were you (or your parents) being paid per hour at your job in 1952?
 

Max Power

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And how much were you (or your parents) being paid per hour at your job in 1952?
The average household income in 1952 was $3,900. In 2018 it was about $62,000. So that $3.50 ticket would cost $55 today. Actual price varies between $130 and $200, I think.
 

charlieoscar

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And how much were you (or your parents) being paid per hour at your job in 1952?
The easy reply is that I don't think anyone paid for the ticket. There was a childless couple from Lynn who had a lodge a couple of miles up the road from where I lived and they invited me down to spend a week with them. When asked what I wanted to do, I said,"see a baseball game." The guy worked for GE in Lynn along with Pop Hegan, who was the brother of Cleveland's catcher, Jim Hegan. The Indians were in town but I don't know whether the tickets came from Hegan or if they were the GE box seats but I did get an autographed ball that now has five Hall of Famers on it (and I still remember having to hide my disappointment that it wasn't a Red Sox ball).

But to actually try and answer your question, the guy who took me to the game was more than a line worker at GE and definitely made a lot more than my father did.
 

Pandarama

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The entire point of the topic is trying to figure out why attendance is down. Tickets being unreasonable for the everyman is my theory, so I seriously doubt the market will bear a $200 average (which, admittedly, is a number I pulled completely out of my ass, but that's what a really good seat in Fenway will run you.) The $30 number is a present-day price adjusted for inflation from Fenway's most expensive ticket 32 years ago.
I’ve got firsthand experience in what the market will bear. I’ve been a season ticket holder in Seattle with excellent seats for more than 20 years, and lately I sell most of my games on StubHub.

There’s never been a better time for price discovery in ticket sales. You don’t have to go through a licensed broker or some shady guy outside the ballpark. You just check a couple of websites.

Now, I do lose money on some games. An April Tuesday night game against Oakland is not going to net me face value after StubHub fees, and probably not before. But a series against Toronto in August is going to put my account back into the black.

But the market will bear a heck of a lot more than $30, even for a Tuesday night game before school is out for summer. I’ll post in this thread if I ever have to drop the price that low, but don’t hold your breath.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I’ve got firsthand experience in what the market will bear. I’ve been a season ticket holder in Seattle with excellent seats for more than 20 years, and lately I sell most of my games on StubHub.

There’s never been a better time for price discovery in ticket sales. You don’t have to go through a licensed broker or some shady guy outside the ballpark. You just check a couple of websites.

Now, I do lose money on some games. A Tuesday night game against Oakland is not going to net me face value after StubHub fees, and probably not before. But a series against Toronto in August is going to put my account back into the black.

But the market will bear a heck of a lot more than $30, even for a Tuesday night game before school is out for summer. I’ll post in this thread if I ever have to drop the price that low, but don’t hold your breath.
StubHub isn't a valid barometer of what the market is, nor is face value.

An auction would be.
 

Fred not Lynn

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The part that the article leave out is the MAJOR LEAGUE baseball isn’t the only “baseball” you can choose to attend.

You want free parking, cheap tickets and affordable F&B? Go to a minor league game, or a college game, or an independent league game.

You want the best beef, you go to a $100 a plate steak house for a special occasion...and when you need a cheeseburger to fill your gut at lunch on a Tuesday, you go get the $6.99 special at Denny’s.
 

Pandarama

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But there is no auction, so there has to be another barometer. Isn't the market simply what people are willing to pay? Isn't that what sets the market?
That's certainly how it works for MLB free agents.