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16 March 2006

Scarcity (AP/SI.com)

An AP article I found on SI.com broadly covers the trend towards smaller stadia. The A's are mentioned first. Towards the end is an admission by A's officials that season ticket sales have increased "from 7,000 last year to about 8,000 so far this season." I'm assuming that's counting full season ticket packages or their equivalent, combined partial packages.

17 comments:

Kevin said...

My wife and I are one of the 1000 or so new season ticketholders. I spoke with the people in the A's sales department they gave the impression that they were absolutely swamped. I would have thought they were up to around 12K.

I guess going from 7K to 8K represents a 15% increase which is not bad.

Jeff said...

The A's may be having the desired effect. I actually considered buying at least a partial plan, but I live so far away that it didn't appear I would be able to take advantage of the tickets. I am wondering if I should make the purchase anyway before the new park is built....just in case it reaches a point where there is a waiting list to purchase season tickets. I suppose I have time to wait and see how things play out. But going from 7K to 8K just doesn't appear to be that much of a jump.

david said...

I forgot where i read it, but I remember an artical saying that there was a 40% increase in season tickets holders over last year.

Anonymous said...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/03/03/sports/s183718S73.DTL&feed=rss.news


"Our advance sales have been real strong," Alioto said after the presentation. "Our new season ticket sales are up 40 percent (from 2005)."

What does the word "new" mean? Probably means that there is a 40% increase in sales to people buying season tickets, and didn't have them last year. Not total season tickets.

Georob said...

It's still early, but an increase of only 1,000 isn't good.

Like our radio station issues, this is yet another reminder of how "marketing challenged" the A's are. And frankly, I don't see a San Jose move changing that appreciably, as they'll still be competing with the Giants and KNBR.

The A's really need to win the World Series to pump their numbers up. And that's scary, because even with all the money the Yankees spend, they haven't won it all for several years now.

peanut gallery said...

The scarcity plan worked on me. I got a Fielder's Choice package for the first time. I'll end up going to only a handful of additional games than before, but Wolfe et al have my money up front this year.

That seems like a small jump. I wonder if it's only full season tickets. My guess is that they've sold a lot more partial packages than last year. But that's only a blind guess.

Marine Layer said...

I'm pretty sure that the 150% jump refers to partial season ticket packages, based on discussions I've had. The 1000 increase has to be full season ticket plans.

Kevin said...

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from an A's salesperson. The email was addressed "Dear Baseball San Jose Supporter". This salesperson was promoting the A's Big Game package. I gave the salesperson a call to check him out. He admitted that he got my address from Baseball San Jose.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something strange about the A's having access to the email database of a group trying to lure them to San Jose. Anyway we talked about how ticket sales were going. He said they were very busy and that sales were way up over last year.

Just thought I'd share this.

swirlinabc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
swirlinabc said...

Just curious, but has anyone actually received their season tickets in the mail yet? I haven't. In years past, I thought I remembered receiving them earlier than this. I purchased the weekend package, keeping 10 or so games I want and selling the rest (I live in the central valley and can't get into the Bay Area as often as I'd like). I find it interesting that even though this year's team is generally considered stronger than last year's, and that ticket availability will be scarcer this year than last, that I'm finding fewer people who are interested in games this year. Last couple of years I sold out my games rather quickly. This year, I still have 11 games with no takers. Looks like I might be going to a few more games than last year.

Kevin said...

I've been told that the A's will be mailing out their season tickets (via FedEx)this Monday, March 20th. The original mailing was suppose to be March 7th. That got pushed back to March 10th, then the 20th. Apparently they were having problems with the printers.

This is our first year being STH. We opted for the full season package. Like you, we are selling many of our games. Things were pretty good for the first few weeks, but buyers have disappeared over the last week or two. Maybe it's because it's taxes season (both income and property).

Georob said...

Swirl's observation pretty much sums up what the casual fan is thinking. Remember, they don't follow the details like those of us here and at AthleticsNation do.

I'll take a guess that to the casual fan:

1) The A's have now missed the playoffs two years in a row because they can't keep good players. And the players they HAVE signed are pretty much unknown(remember, this is to the casual Bay Area fan that compares everyone to Barry Bonds)

2) It's difficult to find A's games on the radio and the only legitimate sports station in the region is 24/7 Giants.

3) They're not even selling tickets in the upper deck this year which obviously means that no one's interested in buying.(Again, to the casual fan who doesn't care to understand "Artificial Scarcity")

The A's have only two ways to turn this around, and that is to

1) Win games early in the season to avoid people "writing off" the team by the end of May and not buy tickets for games later in the season

2) Get into the playoffs and go deep into it, if not win the whole thing.

Until that happens, expect to still see very small crowds at the Coliseum, at least for the first couple of months. In fact, I'll predict that at least ONE of the opening Yankee series games doesn't sell out, even with only 34,000 seats to fill.

I hope I'm wrong.

Kevin said...

I totally agree with you Rob. Even with all the steroids controversy, all eyes will be on Bonds and the Giants this spring. The A's need to come out of the gates running.

Old Blue Guy said...

I've been in the SF Bay Area for 16 years. With my lifelong hatred of the Giants and inability to routinely see the Dodgers, I settled on the A's here. With the exception of the Bash Brothers era, I've really enjoyed the A's and am now a big fan. Big enough so that I'm getting a satellite radio so I can catch them (and the Dodgers) following my move to the eastern U.S. in a couple of months. Also made my daughter, who moved here after finishing college back east, into an A's fan.

One blemish with the A's. This has consistently been the worst marketing professional sports team I've seen up close (I'm sure there are worse, but I said up close). The Raiders are up there, too, and I haven't noted the Warriors doing much right. Is there something in the air in Oakland? With the A's, I think it may a fatal combination of Oakland politicians and the ghost of Charlie Finley.

I contrast the A's marketing with that I saw with the Dodgers years ago in L.A. The Dodgers have fallen off since the O'Malley era, with the Fox-McCourt years a disaster, but they still rode that horse to an MLB-leading attendance of 3.6M last year. In a 45-year-old stadium. When was the Coliseum built? Face it, there is something seriously wrong with an organization that can't even get a radio signal out to all of its fans in a metropolitan area of some 7M people. Not to mention Sacramento and other Central Valley locales. For a night game in particular, I think it'd be easier to get to the Coliseum from Sacto than from my place in San Jose (gotta love that 880).

WRT to the diminished seating capacity, I remarked to my wife that we and our daughter are going to one of the Yankee games in the first series. I then noted that the A's have traditionally sold out Yankee games, so if they're 10K down in capacity, that's an immediate 30K hit in attendance. Then they get the Giants and Dodgers both this year in interleague. Another 60K down. They also sell out for the Red Sox. 30K more down. So as I see it, the A's begin the season well over 100K down in attendance.

Coupling the seriously poor marketing this team has always demonstrated with this lowered attendance, I don't know if the new setup is that good an idea. Guess we'll find out at the end of the year.

I still think the A's will eventually leave Oakland for sure and probably the Bay Area entirely.

Jeff said...

I have to disagree that the A's will relocate to another market outside the bay area. I base this assertation on one very important fact. The Marlins. They have been actively pursing another venue site for months. The problem is finding a site that will provide adequate support for a MLB team. San Antonio appears to be the front runner....and it remains to be seen if that location would significantly alter the attendance issue for the team. Face it, there are just not that many locations out there that would be able to provide sustained support.

Plus, the bay area is a proven entity. It has demonstrated that it can indeed support two teams, albeit one team to a lesser degree than the other. But there are mitigating factors in play. The bay area is spread over a large geographical area, while the two teams share a close physical proximity. This is clearly not conducive for for maximum market exploitation. Distance between the two would surely improve the fortunes of the A's...especially if that move was orientated towards the south bay and the huge population demographic available.

I have to agree that the A's have been poorly marketed. There is no reason that they should have frittered away the success of the team in the late eighties and nineties....to say nothing of their more recent success. I believe the A's need only maintain their winning ways, build a park that is at least competitive with ATT, and most of all, postion themselves in a market where head to head competition with the Giants is diminshed. Namely, market themselves as a south/east bay team and appeal to that market as the "local" team. Not exactly rocket science I know.....and easier said than done...but I think thats the direction the ownership group is moving towards.

I think Wolfe is serious about only making available a similar number of seats as will be available in a new park. He is only going to make available what will eventually be available in a new park. Maybe this is trial balloon to see if 35K is the appropriate target number. If demand grows in anticipation of a new park, perhaps the number will be expanded to the 40K range. But he is serious about creating "demand", by lowering supply.

I think your argument about the 880 is dead on. I imagine that is one the realities Wolfe is counting on. It would be so much easier to see the A's in a brand new park in about 15 to 30 minutes rather than go see an ageing team whose fortunes are dwindling.

I hope you enjoy your time back east and that it's something you wish to do. I would hate to live anywhere in the snow belt....I can't stand being cold!!!!

Anonymous said...

The A's should face facts and realize they'll always be second fiddle to the Giants in the Bay Area. They should move east ... to Sacramento. That way, they'll still have some of their east bay fans, be the sole player in a growing region all to themselves and have a new ballpark at a fraction of the cost of a new one (expand railey field). A true no-brainer.

Fremont? Come on, this will never happen. Voters in the bay area will not subsidize a professional stadium via taxpayer support - it's a no-go.

Bleacher Dave said...

Seems like the only logical solution is......contraction! Remember, the players can't contest contraction this go round. Florida and Oakland to go bye-bye?

In all this talk about season ticket sales, I wonder how the A's are doing on individual game sales so far?