Yesterday, August 24, the team began listing discounted tickets on the site for 10 upcoming home games against the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins for as much as 50 percent off of face value.
Included among the tickets were some premium box seats along the baselines for $36 a piece that normally cost $60 each. In addition, some tickets with face values of $20 were listed for $10; some $42 seats were listed for $21; and some $50 seats were listed for $30, among others. The games in question run from tomorrow, August 26, through September 11, but the exact number of available tickets was not disclosed. Each ticket will carry an additional fee of $1.50 to $4.75, and each transaction will also carry an order-processing fee of $5.
“Boasting a rich history highlighted by two World Series titles and four National League pennants, the Mets defend the diamond at Citi Field against National League opponents,” the Groupon ad stated. “See David Wright, Lucas Duda, and the rest of the Mets as they take on division rivals the Atlanta Braves and the Florida Marlins, as well as the Chicago Cubs. Attendees can arrive early to peruse Citi Field’s range of dining options or carefully count each of the ballpark’s 41,800 seats.”
While the team had a slight glimmer of hope a few weeks ago when ticket sales picked up slightly, ticket sales for the Mets have largely been disappointing all season.
According to Major League Baseball and ESPN, the Mets were 12th in attendance in 2010, averaging 32,401 fans per game, which represented about 77 percent of capacity at Citi Field. So far this season, the team is 14th in the league in attendance and its average attendance total has dropped by 1,748 fans per game to 30,653, or about 73 percent of capacity.
“This is a horrible move for the Mets and MLB,” said Don Vaccaro, founder and CEO of third-party ticket exchange TicketNetwork. “It devalues a once-great brand.”
A spokesperson for the team was not available for comment concerning what factors the team considered before placing the tickets on Groupon, or whether officials were worried about possibly devaluing the team’s brand. In addition, it is unknown whether this weekend’s Hurricane Irene has affected sales. The hurricane is expected to hit the New York City-Metropolitan Area on Sunday, August 28 — and move up through New England — and some events have already been rescheduled.
In addition to the Mets/Braves series at Citi Field this weekend, the Boston Red Sox are home against the Oakland Athletics, and the New York Yankees are in Baltimore against the Orioles. All three series face cancellations for the Sunday games.
The Mets are not the first sports team to place tickets on Groupon, and will likely not be the last since the popular site can help attract new fans that may not otherwise attend a baseball game. The Washington Wizards were one of the first teams to use Groupon to move difficult inventory.
“This may help the Mets bring in some new customers, but in the long-run it could hurt them, because a lot of Groupon shoppers don’t come back. They’re only looking for the deal,” ticket broker Jeff Greenberg, owner of ASC Ticket in Maryland, told TicketNews.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.