Team performance, economy and secondary markets cited as reasons for the cuts
The New York Mets will cut ticket prices an average of more than 14 percent at Citi Field for the 2011 season, the organization announced Wednesday.
Season-ticket holders will receive a 10 percent discount off the single-game price.
The Mets went 79-83 in 2010, marking their second straight losing season. That contributed to attendance dipping 17.2 percent in Year 2 of Citi Field, which replaced Shea Stadium as the team's home.
Excluding seasons in which the Mets moved into new ballparks -- because different capacities make it unfair to compare -- the drop was the seventh-largest fall in franchise history.
"The team performance is certainly a major factor," said Dave Howard, executive vice president for business operations. "The economy is a major factor. We looked at the market, the secondary market [for resale on the Internet], and we saw where many of these tickets were selling on the secondary market. We obviously have our own internal data as to how many tickets we sold and on what dates we sold them. So it's a very complex analysis."
The Mets also changed the pricing tiers, dropping from five levels of games based on the date and attractiveness of the opponent to four -- marquee (four games, on Opening Day and against the Yankees), premium (22 games), classic (25) and value (30).
"That structure is really peak versus off-peak pricing, so to speak," Howard said.
And to help drive sales, an "Amazin' Mets Perks" program will let season-ticket holders take batting practice on the field on non-game days, watch BP before games from the left-center warning track and attend an event with owner, management or players.
In addition, renewing season ticket-holders will be entered in a drawing for awards, such as announcing the starting lineup, having a child bring the lineup card to home plate, a game-worn player jersey and a personal fielding lesson from a Mets player. New York was seventh in the majors in fielding percentage last season.
The Mets added that 62 percent of the 41,800-seat ballpark's seats had price reductions, with 18 percent cut by more than 20 percent, and 8 percent cut by more than 30 percent. The club also acknowledged that "several seat categories have modest increases that average approximately 5 percent."
The Mets drew 2,559,738 fans to Citi Field last season. Because there were two single-admission doubleheaders and technically 79 home dates, the average attendance was 32,402.
Despite 92 losses in 2009, their inaugural season at Citi Field, the Mets announced a total attendance of 3,168,571. That's an average crowd of 39,118 for each of 81 home dates.
Howard said Mets employees have sensed fan enthusiasm with the hiring of Sandy Alderson as general manager. Still, the team has no hard evidence yet if that will jump-start ticket sales, Howard said, because season-ticket renewal forms will not be distributed until the end of this week.