A new season ticket holder learns some lessons

I did not expect to receive the “You are eligible for season tickets” email; though, if I’d really thought about it, I should have.

After the fiasco that was the 2012 Red Sox season, in early February the media reported that season ticket renewals were down 10%.

I was paying attention, but I guess I just never thought my turn would come to own season tickets. It did come. It came out of the blue about three weeks before the season began on the day I left for March vacation and some hiking in the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. The email popped up on my iPhone inbox while I was waiting for our flight to Phoenix.

But, I could not jump on the offer right away. Heck, that kind of big money decision would require agreement from my wife and I’d need some time to work up the nerve to ask her. It took me about three days to pick the “right” time, if there is any such thing, to drop a chunk of money like that. But, my wife is a good woman, knows how much of a baseball nut I am, how long I’ve been on the wait list, and without much hesitation said, “go for it.” The day we returned to Boston I called season ticket services. I was surprised to learn that there were still plenty of season tickets available and the choices were pretty good. I picked a comfortable price point and nabbed a pair of nice seats. Not cheap, but not overly expensive. Heck, I figured I’d be able to sell many of them to others and break even, perhaps lose a little or at least donate a few games to charity. That, it turns out, was a bit naive. Maybe demand for tickets will increase in 2014, but right now I’m finding that people just aren’t that into the Sox. I hope winning and good weather changes the attitude.

Right now, though, there just doesn’t seem to be that much ticket buying interest from Red Sox nation. The stats bear this out. Attendance is down from last year. For the first sixteen home games, the Sox are drawing 5,123 fewer fans per game and are down 81,966 fans from 2012. This puts them 28th in attendance change from 2012 to 2013. Only the Marlins and Phillies have a greater downward shift in attendance. Despite putting together a team that people could like, I think the fandom just didn’t expect much from the Red Sox in 2013. Unlike the Jays and Dodgers, who both spent a ton of money, made huge trades and acquisitions during the off season and saw a huge jump in attendance to start the season, the Red Sox were seen as doing little and not a competitive team in the AL East. Many, if not most, baseball pundits picked them fourth or fifth. There is, it seems, a correlation between ticket sales, payroll, and pundit love. The Red Sox offseason, while still maintaining a good sized payroll (4th behind the Yankees, Dodgers and Phillies), did not induce ticket sales or pundit love.

I may end up going to a lot of Sox games this year and donating a chunk of games to charity unless things pick up and people decide they want to jump on the Red Sox 2013 bandwagon. Regardless of what happens, it has been a ton of fun this April. I saw Opening Day, Patriots Day, the game after the Marathon bombing, went to a complete series (something I’d never done before) and been on Sox dates with my wife. Life is good.

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