Fans of the New York Mets have received nothing but bad news for months now. But the Mets’ plight isn’t as hopeless as some have been led to believe.
“I have people asking me this year if there’s going to be a season,” Jason Berger, the managing partner of AllShows.com, told TicketNews. “The answer, of course, is yes.”
That doesn’t mean anyone is interested in buying tickets, though. The Mets placed single-game tickets on sale today, Monday, March 14, but Berger said last week he hadn’t received a single inquiry about Mets tickets for the upcoming season, which begins — appropriately? — Friday, April 1 at the Florida Marlins. The Mets make their home debut Friday, April 8 against the Washington Nationals.
Berger is not the only one finding scant interest in the Mets: The New York Times reported last month that, according to ticket search engine FanSnap.com, tickets to games at Citi Field are being sold online for an average of $57, down from $100 a year ago at this time.
“We haven’t gotten a request for one Mets ticket this whole year,” Berger said. “They just got beat up in the press so badly.”
The Mets, already reeling after two losing seasons in their first two years at Citi Field, have “earned” reams of bad publicity thanks to ownership’s ties to Bernie Madoff. The trustee representing Madoff victims has sued the Wilpon family — which reportedly made $48 million off Madoff’s Ponzi scheme — for $1 billion.
The same day that lawsuit was announced in January, Fred Wilpon said he would be interested in selling a minority stake in the Mets. And while the Wilpons have said for two years their finances were not impacted by the Madoff mess, the Times reported last month that Major League Baseball loaned the Mets $25 million to help them get through the end of last season. In addition, the Bergen Record reported in January that the Mets’ revenues have fallen by as much as 35 percent since moving to Citi Field.
Add into the equation what is expected to be another down year for the Mets (they made only a handful of small moves to improve a team that went 79-83 last season) and the lack of interest in tickets — on the resale market or otherwise — is no surprise. According to the Times, the Mets recently fired their longtime director of ticket sales, Bill Ianniciello, while also dismissing some full-time employees in the ticket office and deciding not to rehire part-timers who usually handle phone sales.
“They’re not a great team but they have a following — a good, diehard following,” Berger said. “I think they have a great ballpark, almost like Ebbets Field. It’s a really great way to see a ballgame. People love going there. I think they just got some bad publicity this year and people got scared off.”