As if the pain and agony of last night’s almost walk-off victory wasn’t enough to stomach, I awoke this morning to learn season ticket holders were sent e-mails with instructions for buying playoff tickets and the prices had skyrocketed. Last year, I paid around $320 for the whole postseason. This year the A’s are asking me for $530. Having recently graduated from college and still not having found a decent job, this wasn’t exactly welcome news. Nevertheless, I immediately began devising ways to come up with the money.
Ultimately, I know that one way or another I’ll be in the house for the playoffs, even if I’m forced to sell crack (I do live in Oakland, after all). I also know that despite the increase, the A’s have some of the lowest playoffs ticket prices in all of sports. Hell, look at what Tigers fans are going to have to pay to see the playoffs. Yikes.
Having to fork over extra money is really only a small part of my acrimony. In fact, some people I’ve talked to are getting hit up for $590 bucks for their postseason bleacher strip, so I’m getting a better deal than many people because apparently the prices are based on the regular season package you have. But just like Big Worm said in Friday, “It’s the principal of the whole thang!”
I understand that there are several factors at play here. For one, the American League has home-field advantage this year, meaning we have to pay for four World Series games as opposed to three last year. Second, included in the package is a tiebreaker game if the A’s and Rangers finish tied atop the division. Third, the Giants aren’t making the playoffs this year, meaning bandwagon and casual fans will have to come to the East Bay if they want a dose of playoff baseball, increasing demand. Finally, but most importantly, the success of 2012 translated into a 28 percent increase this season in season ticket sales for 2013, once again increasing demand.
Basically, we have more people fighting for the same amount of tickets, and the A’s know they’re going to be sold regardless. While this is a smart business move, it doesn’t exactly endear you to the people who’ve already spent thousands of dollars during the course of the season. I honestly expected to pay a bit more for playoffs tickets this year, but I didn’t think it would top $500 dollars. In fact, I was thinking I would see a $100 dollar increase at the most. Paying $420 (heh, heh) for the strip would be fine by me.
It makes me question the decision to not remove the tarps on the upper deck for all rounds of the playoffs. You may remember last year when it was announced that the A’s would only remove the tarps for the World Series. Why not help alleviate some of the demand and get more people in the park by opening the upper levels?
Furthermore, the A’s ticketing services are once again showing how inept their operation is at times. Many of my friends are telling me they’ve been moved from their playoff seat location from last year, while others are telling me despite having two packages they’ve only been offered one seat. I know of a couple who may be forced to sit in completely different sections because it’s likely the seats next to their one offered playoffs package will be sold to another season ticket holder. In the words of Mays Gilliam, “That ain’t right!”
All morning and afternoon I’ve been scouring social media and the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative to say the least. I’m a bit more understanding than many about the increases, but I’m still not happy about it.
As much of a sports fan as I am, I often find myself wondering if my dedication to what is essentially a corporate operation that exists solely to make a profit is a waste of my time, money, and energy. When things like this happen, it only re-enforces those conflicting thoughts of dissension which creep into my brain on occasion. It also makes me wish we could have pricing that was more in line with the typical American salary and baseball games weren’t designed to be affordable to only those making $150,00 or more each year.
Maybe one day prices will return to saner levels, but until then, we just have to bite the bullet and dig a little deeper into our pockets.