Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro recently announced a Fan Initiative for the second half of the Indians season, in response to attendance that is last in Major League Baseball.
Among the deals being offered by the Indians are free parking at the Gateway East garage for this weekend’s series against Baltimore, a new free shuttle to the ballpark from Ohio City, and combo deals for food including a brat and a beer for $8.
These are some nice options, but in fact the affordability of an Indians game is nothing new. It may be the general correlation between a team’s attendance and the ticket prices, but the Indians are among the most value-friendly teams in baseball. Some folks may have complained about the prices, but it’s doubtful that these initiatives will help too much.
Despite that the Tribe has a 45-43 record at this point and a certainly reasonable if not likely chance of making the playoffs this season, they are only bringing in 18,000 a game to Progressive Field. They are even being outdrawn by the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that has just been called out by Bud Selig for its abundance of empty seats.
That the Indians draw so poorly is kind of a mystery to me. They’re a decent young team, they play in a beautiful ballpark, and the value is some of the best in baseball. You can park not very far from the ballpark for $5 if you know where to look, the Indians were already offering combo deals where a beer added to the meal could be as low as $3, and tickets can be as low as $10. The Indians offer frequent deals too…like the Grand Slam Four-Pack with hot dogs and drinks included, all-you-can-eat seats, and discounts for students and seniors. With a little effort, you can attend a game at Progressive Field pretty cheaply.
But perhaps the Tribe faithful still hasn’t gotten over the losses of star pitchers Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia to larger market teams—an insult that is compounded in the mind of the Cleveland sports fan. (See: Lebron James.) Still, this team hasn’t been over 30,000 a game since 2002, and they’ve been fairly competitive on the field.
It seems that a team that wins can charge basically what it wants, as the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies have proven in recent years. Similarly, a team can offer $10 tickets, post-game concerts, and a brat and a beer for $8 and it won’t help a subpar product on the field.But give credit to the Indians for trying.
Tags: progressive field tightwad tips