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May 11, 2004

Ticket Price Survey

NL East

by Doug Pappas

AL East
AL Central
AL West

If you've read the first three installments of this series, you know the routine. Division by division, I'm shopping for tickets at MLB.com to see (a) how much fans can reasonably expect to pay for tickets at each ballpark, and (b) how many discounts and promotions are available for those who plan ahead.

Now up: the NL East.

Atlanta Braves

Average ticket price: $17.51 (18th in majors). 2003 attendance: 60.7% of capacity (14th in majors).

Tickets available on May 6 for Wednesday, May 19 night game against Arizona:

Four "casual fan" seats: Section 401L, Row 12, Seats 111-14: Upper Box behind home plate, $12 each (note family package below: $1 more buys hot dogs, Cokes, caps and parking for all)
Best four seats: Section 212L, Row 15, Seats 109-112: Terrace level behind third base, $27 each
Best single seat: Section 101L, Row 23, Seat 107: Dugout seat directly behind home plate, $45
Cheapest single seat: Section 417R, Row 1, Seat 5: Upper Reserved in right field, $8. ($5 Upper Pavilion seats sold out; $1 Skyline seats not available online.)
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $2.25-$3.25/seat convenience charge.
Surcharge of $3/ticket on all but the cheapest seats for Friday and Saturday games and July 4th.

Ongoing promotions:

12 Tuesdays: Buy one Upper Reserved ticket for regular price of $8, get a second free
12 Wednesdays: Buy one Lower Outfield Pavilion ticket for regular price of $18, get a second free
54 home games: Four tickets, four hot dogs, four Cokes, four caps and one parking pass for $49 Upper Box, $69 Field Pavilion, $89 Lexus Pavilion seats (normal cost of tickets alone: $48 Upper Box, $72 Field Pavilion, $100 Lexus Pavilion)

Overview: With the "family pack" discount available for two-thirds of Braves home games, a night at the Ted is cheaper than Team Marketing Report would suggest. For the best deals, and the cheapest seats, go during mid-week.

Florida Marlins

Average ticket price: $12.78 (29th in majors). 2003 attendance: 44.8% of capacity (25th in majors).

Tickets available on May 6 for Wednesday, May 19 night game against Houston:

Four "casual fan" seats: Section 141, Row 16, Seats 6-9: Terrace Box seats in right field, $18 ($12 Upper Deck seats not available --the upper deck is closed for this game.)
Best four seats: Section 146, Row 28, Seats 1-4: Infield Box seats between home and first, $28 each
Best single seat: Section 153, Row 5, Seat 9: Founder's Club box seat between home and third, $65
Cheapest single seat: Section 127, Row 5, Seat 21: Fish Tank seat, $6.
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $2.50-$4.50/seat convenience charge

Ongoing promotions:

Saturdays: Buy four tickets in the Box, Terrace Box, Outfield Reserved or Fish Tank sections, receive vouchers for four sodas, four hot dogs, one program and two caps
DON'T MISS: August 7: Billy the Marlin Piggy Bank Night

Overview: Don't believe the stated "average ticket price" at Pro Player Stadium. As the seating chart shows, by closing the upper deck for many games, including the one I selected, the Marlins eliminate all the cheap seats except those behind the right field wall. Thousands more seats are never sold except during the postseason.

Montreal Expos

Average ticket price: $10.82 (30th in majors). 2003 attendance: 32.2% of capacity (29th in majors).

Tickets available on May 6 for May 29 night game against Atlanta:

Four "casual fan" seats: Section 101, Row P, Seats 3-6: Terrace seats behind home plate, CDN $20/seat
Best four seats: Section 101, Row UU, Seats 1-4: V.I.P. seats behind home plate, CDN $40/seat
Best single seat: Section 101, Row TT, Seat 14: V.I.P. seat behind home plate, CDN $40
Cheapest single seat: Section 135, Row A, Seat 4: bleacher seat in right field corner, CDN $10
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $3/order processing fee.

Ongoing promotions:

7 games: All tickets (except V.I.P. seats) $5, hot dogs $1 each

Overview: The seven "$5 games" are the best buys in baseball. For the rest, why would you even think of ordering tickets in advance? Baseball fans in New England, take note: Drive to Montreal and you can buy field box seats behind the plate for less than you'd pay Fenway scalpers for tickets in the back of the bleachers. The food, especially in the lower level, is better too.

New York Mets

Average ticket price: $23.92 (6th in majors). 2003 attendance: 49.1% of capacity (23rd in majors).

Tickets available on May 6 for May 19 night game against St. Louis (a "Bronze" game in the Mets' variable-pricing scheme):

Four "casual fan" seats: Section 001, Box 701B, Seats 9-12: Upper Boxes behind home plate, $23/seat
Best four seats: Box 255B, Seats 5-8: Field Boxes down right field line, $33/seat
Best single seat: Box 224H, Seat 5: Inner Field Box behind third base, $43
Cheapest single seat: Section 001, Row J. Seat 14: Upper Reserved behind home plate, $12
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $3-$4.75/seat convenience charge and $2.50/order processing fee.

Variable pricing:

17 Gold games: tickets $16-$53, Upper Reserved seats $16
22 Silver games: tickets $14-48, Upper Reserved seats $14
32 Bronze games: tickets $12-$43, Upper Reserved seats $12
13 Value games: tickets $5-$38, Upper Reserved seats $5
The complete price scale can be found here. "Games fall into Gold, Silver, Bronze or Value date categories based on such factors as the time of year, day of week and opposing team."

Ongoing promotions:

18 games: Four Upper Level Box or Mezzanine Reserved tickets plus $20 in concession vouchers for $66; four Upper Level Reserved tickets plus $20 in vouchers for $44.
DON'T MISS: July 24: Collectible Ceramic Shea Stadium Replica giveaway

Overview: Watch out for Shea's tricky pricing. The "Mezzanine Box" and "Upper Box" seats are just a few rows in front of the "Mezzanine Reserved" and "Upper Reserved," but cost at least $10 more. Seats in the back of the Loge and Mezzanine sections cost the same as the Upper Reserved. Moreover, the Mets charge the same for every seat in these decks, whether it's behind the plate or behind the foul pole.

Philadelphia Phillies

Average ticket price: $26.08 (3rd in majors). 2003 attendance: 46.9% of capacity (24th in majors).

Tickets available on May 6 for May 19 night game against Los Angeles:

Four "casual fan" seats: Section 420V, Row 9, Seats A-D: Terrace Deck seats behind home plate, $20 each
Best four seats: Section 138, Row 8, Seats 13-16: Field Level Baseline seats in left field corner, $35 each
Best single seat: Section 136, Row 28, Seat 10: Field Level Baseline in left field, $35
Cheapest single seat: Section 305, Row 4, Seat 3: Pavilion Deck in right field corner, $15
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $3/seat convenience charge and a $2.50/order processing fee

Ongoing promotions:

All season: "We're Finally Out Of The Vet." No discounts, but plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Overview: By mid-April, the Phillies had already sold more tickets for their first season at Citizens Bank Park than their total 2003 home attendance. All the good seats are taken, and don't look for any bargains this season.

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