The New York Mets began the long process of winning back their disgusted fans Friday, October 29, when the maligned franchise hired respected baseball executive Sandy Alderson as its new general manager. Phase two was unveiled Wednesday, November 3, when the Mets announced they would reduce ticket prices at Citi Field next year.
Tickets will be an average of 14 percent cheaper in 2011 than in 2010, when the average crowd at Citi Field dropped by 7,340 fans per game, by far the biggest drop in Major League Baseball. Sixty-two percent of the seats at 41,800-capacity Citi Field will be less expensive and more than half the seats have been cut by at least 10 percent. Eighteen percent of seats will be at least 20 percent cheaper while eight percent have been slashed by at least 30 percent.
The number of seats priced at $15 or less will increase by 45 percent to a total of 384,000 for the whole season. More than half the seats — 61 percent — will cost $50 or less. Fifty-four percent of tickets at Citi Field cost $50 or less last year. There are some seats — mostly in the upper decks — that will increase in price by an average of five percent. Overall, tickets will range from $12 to $440.
In addition, the Mets dropped the number of pricing “tiers” from five to four and the top one — now dubbed “marquee” — will only feature Opening Day and the three Subway Series games against the Yankees. The tier with the most games is “value” with 30 games, followed by “classic” with 25 and “premium” with 22.
Season ticket holders will also receive relief, in the form of a 10 percent reduction in their seats, as well as an enticement to pay by December 15. All season ticket holders who have paid in full before that deadline are eligible for the “Amazin’ Mets Perks” program in which they can win a meeting with Alderson and the Mets’ new, yet-to-be-named manager, a trip to spring training, the opportunity to take batting practice at Citi Field and a shopping spree.
This is the second straight season in which the Mets have cut ticket prices, and they almost had no choice but to do so even before Alderson said the Mets would likely stay out of free agent bidding wars this winter and return the same core that endured a second straight losing season in 2010.
The Mets set franchise attendance records in each of their last five seasons at Shea Stadium, which held almost 16,000 more seats than Citi Field, but entered their new home in 2009 fresh off the embarrassment off consecutive September collapses that cost the team a chance at a postseason berth. The Mets went 70-92 in 2009 and struggled at the gate all year in 2010 even though they were in the thick of the NL East race throughout the first half of the season. Acres of empty seats greeted the Mets during the final two months and tickets to the last homestand in September went for as little as $4 on the resell market.