How can the New York Mets expect fans to pay more money to attend games to see a team with the fifth highest payroll in baseball, yet have finished in fourth place two seasons in a row?
Thus, the Mets have announced that ticket prices for the 2011 season will be lowered.
The Mets announced on Tuesday that the average cost of a ticket will be reduced by 14 percent. Overall, 62 percent of tickets at Citi Field have been reduced.
Additionally, season-ticket holders, ticket-plan and group-ticket holders will see an extra 10 percent reduction in cost.
It is obvious that the Mets' struggles last season will translate to attendance issues for 2011. In 2010, the Mets ranked 11th in attendance in the majors. The Philadelphia Phillies were No.1 in attendance.
The lowest priced ticket for a Mets game at Citi Field is $12, not including taxes. For a Phillies game, it is $10. So despite the fact that the Phillies have a higher payroll than the Mets, it is less expensive to watch them play. They manage to charge their fans less and put a winning product on the field every year.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson has already made it very clear that the Mets aren't going to be very active in the free agent market, so it is unlikely that the Mets 2011 roster will be much different than the 2010 version.
I know that new manager Terry Collins has said he believes the Mets can be the "last team standing" in 2011, but we all know that isn't true.
So despite the new front office and a new manager, the people that actually fuel this baseball team— the fans—don't have much to be excited about other than a clean slate.
The reduction in ticket prices is just an extension of that idea.
"Affordability has always been an important component to all our programs and plans, because we feel we are the people's team," executive vice president of business operations David Howard said. "We are always mindful of that. We're a family-oriented, fan-friendly organization, and affordability is still key."
The Mets are desperate to put people in the seats for 2011.
They've even added the "Amazin' Mets Perks Program," which gives season ticket holders who renew their plans in full by Dec. 15 the chance to win daily prizes. The prizes included such wonderful experiences as batting practice at Citi Field, a trip to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, FL., and a meet-and-greet with Terry Collins.
A general malaise regarding the 2011 Mets has spread to the front office itself now. Obviously they need to reduce ticket prices and try new things to get fans into Citi Field, but nothing will ever work better than winning games.
As we learned in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." Well, if you build a winner, the fans will come.