Fresh off their first postseason series victories in 29 years, the Milwaukee Brewers will raise ticket prices for next season.
The Brewers, who lost the National League Championship Series in six games to the St. Louis Cardinals, quietly announced the price increase earlier in October, just before the playoffs began. The average ticket price at Miller Park in 2012 will be $24.01, an 8.6 percent increase.
The team drew a franchise record of nearly 3.1 million fans to Miller this past season, and they have decided to also introduce a new pricing structure for individual game tickets. There will be now be three categories of games (Blue, Gold and Marquee), each with corresponding prices. This past season there were two.
Fifty-six Blue games will have a price increase of $1 to $2 over 2011, depending on the seat location. Gold games (12 weekend games from June through August) will be $1 to $6 higher. Prices for Marquee games (Opening Day, nine games against the Chicago Cubs, and three interleague games with the Minnesota Twins) will stay the same as 2011, but there will be three fewer games in that category.
The Brewers ranked 17th among the 32 major league teams in 2011 with an average ticket price of $22.10. Team Marketing Report ranked Brewers games the eighth-most affordable in baseball in its annual Fan Cost Index.
At a press conference earlier this month, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said tickets were the team’s key revenue component. “Everybody is enjoying being in the playoffs,” he said, “but it does cost money.”
After a disappointing 2010, the Brewers increased their player payroll to $94 million in 2011. They won a team-record 96 games and their first NL Central title. But Milwaukee could lose its top home run hitter and RBI producer, first baseman Prince Fielder (38 homers, 120 RBI), who is now eligible for free agency.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has said he’ll make an effort to retain Fielder, 27, who has played his entire seven-year major league career with the team. Fielder is likely to command a multi-year contract that could make him among the highest-paid players in baseball. Milwaukee has more than $145 million committed to left fielder Ryan Braun, also 27 and an NL MVP candidate, through 2020.
In the press release announcing the new prices, Brewers CEO Rick Schlesinger said despite the increases, “We will remain one of Major League Baseball’s most affordable experiences. We remain committed to investing ticket and other revenue in player salaries, player development, and an improved Miller Park experience.”