In the third installment of this series, I review the ticket options for fans in MLB’s smallest but most geographically dispersed division, the AL West.
If you’ve read the first two installments (Part I, Part II), you know the drill. To simulate the average fan’s experience, I pick a mid-week game, then shop for tickets on MLB.com a few weeks in advance. (I made an exception for Anaheim, choosing their next available mid-week series–since their next two mid-week visitors are the Yankees and Red Sox, I thought the earlier date would still be more representative.)
First I shop for my imaginary family of four, whose ideal combination of price and view is usually behind the plate and towards the front of the upper deck. Then I pretend that my imaginary family just won the lottery, shopping instead for the best available block of four seats (as determined by MLB’s ticket computer) anywhere in the ballpark. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club’s season-ticket and advance sales. Then I play Stranger Visiting Town, looking for a single seat. My expense-account alter ego shops for the best seat available through MLB.com, while his starving-student counterpart heads right for the cheapest seats in the park.
Next, I scan the club Web sites for promotions that could reduce the cost of my hypothetical fans’ attendance, as well as unusual promotions and giveaway items. Finally, I write a snappy summary and prepare to start the process all over again with another division. Next up: the NL East.
Average ticket price: $16.60 (23rd in majors). 2003 attendance: 83.9% of capacity (5th in majors).
Tickets available on April 30 for Wednesday, May 5 night game against Detroit:
Four “casual fan” seats: Section V514, Row G, Seats 9-12: Upper View seats between home and third, $12 each
Best four seats: Section F132, Row D, Seats 6-9: Field Boxes down first base line, $27 each
Best single seat: Section T212, Row J., Seat 14: Terrace MVP seat between home and third, $32
Cheapest single seat: Section P259, Row K, Seat 19: Family section in the left field pavilion, $9. (On day of game only, can buy a $10 Terrace seat for $5.)
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $3.25-$4/seat convenience charge.
Mondays-Thursdays: $5 Terrace seats (down from $10 adult, $7 child) on day of game only
Tuesdays: Upper View seats reduced from $12 to $3 for kids and teens, day of game only
Most Sundays and Wednesdays: Family Fun Pack: four Upper View tickets, four hot dogs, four small soft drinks and $8 in game tokens for $39 (an $86 value). Tickets can be upgraded to Terrace Box (total price $91) or Field Box (total price $99).
Most games: 2 for 1 Upper View tickets with a specially marked Pepsi container
Overview: Angels owner Arte Moreno wants to fill his ballpark. If The Big A is not sold out, the cheap seats become even cheaper on the day of the game. Compare this to the Yankees, who charge more for all tickets on the day of the game, to encourage fans to buy in advance. The difference between Anaheim’s weather and New York’s may have something to do with this.
Average ticket price: $16.49 (24th in majors). 2003 attendance: 62.7% of capacity (13th in majors).
Tickets available on April 30 for Wednesday, May 19 night game against Detroit:
Four “casual fan” seats: Either Section 314, Row 14, Seats 16-19 (View Level seats between home and first, discounted to $2 each (regularly $8)) or Section 216, Row 3, Seats 15-18 (Plaza Infield seats behind home plate, $24 each)
Best four seats: Section 113, Row 15, Seats 13-16: MVP Level infield seats between home and first, $32 each
Best single seat: Section 116, Row 13, Seat 10: MVP Level infield seat behind home plate, $32
Cheapest single seat: Section 318, Row 5, Seat 19: View Level seat discounted to $2 (regularly $8)
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $2-$5/seat convenience charge and a $3.50/order processing fee.
Mondays-Thursdays: View Level tickets $2 through Pepsi promotion
Tuesdays: Tacos $1
19 Tuesdays and Thursdays: MasterCard Grand Slam Ticket pack: 4 Plaza Level outfield seats, 4 hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, and four small soft drinks for $58.50 (regularly $115)
Wednesdays: View Level tickets $2, hot dogs $1
Most Fridays: 4 Field Level seats, 1 popcorn, 1 bag of peanuts, 1 program for $50 (tickets alone regularly $104) with newspaper coupon
7 games: Family Pack: 4 Plaza Level outfield seats, 4 hot dogs, 4 bags of chips and 4 small soft drinks for $30 (regularly $118) with newspaper coupon
DON’T MISS: May 8: A’s Plaid Reversible Bucket Hat giveaway (sorry, women only).
Overview: The View Level (the entire upper deck) is cheap; the rest of the park isn’t. If you want a good angle on the action without sitting in the nosebleed seats, you’ll pay more than you might expect.
Average ticket price: $24.01 (5th in majors). 2003 attendance: 84.5% of capacity (4th in majors).
Tickets available on April 30 for Thursday, May 20 night game against Baltimore:
Four “casual fan” seats: Section 332, Row 15, Seats 13-16: View Reserved seats behind home plate, $17 each. (The May 19 game is part of the MasterCard promotion discussed below; going one day earlier could save our hypothetical family up to $45.)
Best four seats: Section 127, Row 40, Seats 1-4: Lower Box seats behind home plate, $50 each
Best single seat: Section 129, Row 14, Seat 21: Lower Box seat directly behind home plate, $50
Cheapest single seat: Section 390, Row 5, Seat 10: Center Field Bleachers, $5
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $2.75/$3.75/seat convenience charge.
5 Monday games: $17 View Reserved seats for $10
10 Wednesday games: Four View Reserved seats, four hot dogs and four Pepsi products for $50 with MasterCard (regularly $95)
Ticket resale through stubhub.com: season tickets and premium seats available. Seattle residents not allowed to resell their season tickets for more than face value.
Overview: The local media is reaming the Mariners for not spending more in the off-season to improve the club. As the availability of prime seats on short notice suggests, Seattle’s attendance has fallen off. This year, the Mariners are filling only 72% of their seats. If the M’s continue to languish in last place, season-ticket holders will undercut the MasterCard promotion.
Average ticket price: $16.08 (25th in majors). 2003 attendance: 52.6% of capacity (19th in majors).
Tickets available on April 30 for Thursday, May 20 night game against Kansas City:
Four “casual fan” seats: Section 325L, Row 2, Seats 1-4, Upper Box seats directly behind home plate, $16 each (or Family Pack, below)
Best four seats: Section 23L, Row 11, Seats 13-16: Premium seats behind home plate, $55 each
Best single seat: Section 25L, Row 8, Seat 19: Premium seat directly behind home plate, $55
Cheapest single seat: Section 312L, Row 1, Seat 9: Grandstand Reserved seat in left field, $5
Tickets purchased through MLB.com include a $2.75/$3.50/seat convenience charge and $1.75/order processing fee.
Every day: Family Pack: four tickets, four jumbo hot dogs, four 24-ounce soft drinks for $49 (Upper Reserved, regularly $77), $69 (Lower Reserved, regularly $109), or $99 (Corner Box, regularly $129)
Most Wednesdays: Half price seats in Upper Reserved, Upper Home Run Porch, Upper Box, Lower Reserved and Terrace Box sections, through Web site only
DON’T MISS: August 27: Oven Mitts and Pot Holders Night.
Ticket resale through stubhub.com: seats being sold by season-ticket holders available.
Overview: The Fan Cost Index is especially inaccurate for the Rangers, who offer their Family Pack discount for every home game of the season except Opening Day. The Lower Reserved and Corner Box packages, for seats close to the field but down the outfield lines, are great deals for those who value proximity over a better angle.