STH also receive a suite for one game and club seats for another.
For the Indians, the price of losing 190 games over the last two seasons -- in a shrinking market -- was the lowest attendance in baseball.
For Indians' fans, it means discounted tickets and other enticements to lure them back next season.
For instance, except for the April 1 Opening Day against the Chicago White Sox, bleacher seats will cost $10 for every game, down from as much as $20 for some prime games last season.
In the economic game of supply and demand, it's about volume.
"Obviously, you do it hoping that the relationships can be directly tied to getting more people here," said Indians President Mark Shapiro, "and that once they come here -- again the goal is to get some new people here -- and to get people who come once, to come twice and the people who come twice, to come three times."
The Indians last raised ticket prices before the 2008 season, after they came within a blown 3-1 American League Championship Series lead over Boston to reaching the World Series.
But the team drew just 1.39 million fans in 2010 after back-to-back fourth-place finishes, going 69-93 last season and 65-97 in 2009. Fans also saw Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and All-Star catcher Victor Martinez traded for prospects in mid-'09.
Fans are being asked to buy into a team with one of the lowest payrolls -- and youngest rosters -- in baseball. The Indians' $61 million payroll in 2010 ranked 24th among the 30 teams. Player salaries are expected to be even lower next season, between $40 million and $50 million. The Tribe was all but inactive in free agency during the recent winter meetings.
"Winning is certainly the simplest way to solve our ills," Shapiro said. "It will improve attendance and increase revenues, and we are working hard to put a winner on the field."
But based on their market research, the Indians concluded fans not only want a winner, but value for their money.
According to Team Marketing Report, which tracks the cost of attending professional sporting events, the average major-league ticket in 2010 cost $26.74, and the average price for a premium ticket was $88.38. That compares to $22.12 for the average ticket and $61.62 for a premium ticket for an Indians game.
The Indians have sweetened the pot for next season, especially to encourage season-ticket buyers. Group and season-ticket plans and ticket vouchers are already available. Individual tickets go on sale Feb. 25.
The Indians are among a handful of teams with an online program that matches fans who need season-ticket partners to split the cost. It even runs a draft so partners can take turns choosing games.
Among the changes announced by the team:
• Full-season ticket holders, regardless of seat location, bleachers included, get a free membership to the Terrace Club, the ballpark’s restaurant. Membership fees were $900 or $500, depending on the type. They also get to use a suite (with 16 tickets and three parking passes) for one game and club seats for another.
• Full-season ticket plans in the ballpark’s lower bowl will cost 20 to 60 percent less than the same seat bought as single games.
• Bleacher seats will cost $10 for all but on Opening Day — $9 for full-season ticket plans. It’s the lowest price for the bleachers since 1997. “We just feel like when the bleachers are full in this ballpark,” said Mike Mulhall, the Indians senior director of ticket sales and premium seating, “there’s a different buzz, there’s a different feel in Progressive Field.”
• Upper box seats have been cut $8, to $12 to $16 per seat from $20 to $24 last season.
• On Sundays during the second half of last season, the Indians tested a fixed price for parties of four. It’s been expanded for the entire 2011 season, except on Opening Day. For all games except April 1, a foursome can buy four tickets, parking and four hot dogs, soft drinks and ball caps for $96.