A new survey is up on the Twins web site which gives a sneak peak at their current thinking on single game ticket prices. It's pretty interesting stuff, and I encourage you to take the time (it's pretty long) to give your opinions. I think it took me about 20 minutes.
Of course, I took notes along the way, and I've updated my section chart with price info. The first price is for season tickets, the second for single game.
These prices are pretty much what I think anyone watching this process might have expected. There are no real surprises. I'm going to assume that this survey is just to draw out areas where there may be additional opportunities, and that if they don't find any, these will be the prices. Any changes from here will likely be only tweaks.
I must say that overall the prices are really quite reasonable.
They seem a little bit high in the outfield to me, especially considering that many of these seats will have obstructed views of the warning tracks and walls. And they seem very high in the lower deck of the main grandstand. I can't imagine paying $36 to $61 more than maybe once a year (first year of a new ballpark may be the only exception). But that's my budget, and I'm probably in the minority there.
Having said that, when I go to other cities to visit ballparks, that's usually about what I have to pay. In those cases, it's a special occasion for me and I want to have good seats. Here in town, I consider going to games just a part of the rhythm of summer. Most of the time I can't justify spending that kind of money (and my spouse, who is certainly a baseball fan and indulges me regularly on such things, would probably look askance at me if I made that a habit).
So I'm looking at the Skyline View ($17) and Field View ($15) as the sweet spots for our family -- which means they will probably be impossible to come by. From there I'd move to the family section (see below) or the Home Plate View ($25).
The family section is proposed as sections 310 and 311, which is otherwise part of the Home Plate View section. They floated me three prices ($24, $22, and $20) before moving on. They then said that there might be a $2 drink coupon available to go with these tickets.
The interesting thing to note about that is that it's nowhere near as generous as the free hot dog and soda coupon which you get with family section tickets at the Dome. Of course, the free hot dog really sucks, so it may not be that big of a loss in reality, but in perception it's huge.
Several other concepts caught my eye:
1. Mini season ticket packages with as little as 6 games. I would seriously jump on that if it became available.
2. $2 discount on games before Memorial Day. Not sure what difference that would make, but it's a polite and welcome nod to the weather and the lower demand while school is still in session.
3. $5 premium for NYY/BOS/CWS (and more?) games. I hate this. My question is this: Why not a $5 discount then when the worst team in the division is in town? Why not price all tickets according to payroll or win-loss record? Why not price based on hot or cold streaks? Why not price weekend games more than weekday games?
I've long predicted that pro sports teams will eventually move to an airline-style pricing model. Your price will be determined by how early you order, who the opponent is, the day of the week, how many tickets you buy at once, overall demand for a game, what your zip code is (Boston zip codes buying tickets to a Red Sox game in Minnesota pay more), time of day/year, standings, and 100 other possible variables. Just like on a plane, you could be sitting next to someone who paid a lot more, or a lot less, for his ticket.
I'm not saying I want this. I'm saying I fully expect it. It's just a matter of imagination and programming.
By the way, I think that $5-$10 premium on front row seats (which appears not to apply to single game tickets -- at least it wasn't mentioned in the survey) may die a quick death depending on how people react to the railing heights. I got a message from one STH who visited his actual seats on a recent tour and was seriously pissed about the railing blocking his view of the plate. He said that it was only a factor in the first couple of rows, but it was a factor.
The survey asked about preferred start times for Saturday and weekday games. I had no idea they had so many options, but I tried to pick the sunniest hours in each case.
There were several questions (and a couple of great images, reproduced here) about the rooftop party deck. This is just a spectacular amenity, and I'm glad they took their time in designing it properly (you may remember that it wasn't in any of the original renderings).
The survey included proposed prices for single game tickets (only available for about 30 games) and standing room tickets (which apparently also would require a separate ticket to the game elsewhere in the park). If you are going to the game primarily to party, this is probably the area to select. I'm guessing that my scorecard would be pretty quickly neglected if I went up there. But after a game is a whole different thing.
Level Of Concern
There were a couple of odd questions. First, they wanted to know whether I felt like I was getting enough information on the new ballpark. What could I say? I answered NO!
But then they wanted to know how I felt about the team's future, considering its roster and current management. I admitted that I felt "concerned".
If you'll remember, Johan Santana left because he wanted to win, and he felt like the Twins management wasn't capable of providing him a good enough shot. (So he picked the Mets. Oops.) He probably wouldn't have taken much of a discount to stay with the team even if he thought they would eventually win. But I believed then (and still believe) that his potential value to the franchise was up around his asking price -- insane as it was.
Now we're starting to hear that Mauer and Morneau, who played a helluva lot of games with Johan (and Torii), just want the chance to win, and they have concerns which echo Santana's (I think Hunter wanted the payday more than the ring). Again, each is worth somewhere around his market value to the franchise (in a combination of on-field skill, goodwill to the fans, and overall franchise credibility), and is integral to its chances of winning something anytime soon.
If I'm them, I want the Twins to be my permanent home. But if I don't feel confident that I'll be surrounded by playoff-caliber teammates (Brian Buscher? Brendan Harris? Casilla? Tolbert? Delmon Young?), I'm gonna start looking around a little more seriously.
In other words, making a deal with either of the M's is as much about raising the overall talent level around them as it is about adding zeroes or years. Considering the moves the front office has made (or not made) in recent memory, I'm a little twitchy about the team that will run out onto that new grass in 2010 and beyond.
And one thing is for sure: Losing either of those boys would seriously take the wind out of a new ballpark's sails.
Here is the full chart of proposed single game prices mentioned in the survey. Note that surveys apparently vary on some pricing, so this chart will be updated as I hear what people are actually being asked about.
Main Grandstand, Lower
Home Plate Box: $57-61 (surveys vary)
Diamond Box: $43-47 (surveys vary)
Field Box: $32-36 (surveys vary)
Main Grandstand, Upper
Home Plate Terrace: $32-36 (surveys vary)
Home Plate View: $22-25 (surveys vary)
Family Section (310 & 311): $20 or $22 or $24, with either $2 drink or $2 discount on drink
Field Terrace: $22-25 (surveys vary)
Skyline View: $14-17 (surveys vary)
Field View: $12-15 (surveys vary)
Left Field Bleachers: $23
Home Run Porch Terrace: $27
Home Run Porch View: $25
Batter's Eye: $23
Pavilion: $22-25 (surveys vary)
Overlook: $23-26 (surveys vary)
Right Field Bleachers: $17-20 (surveys vary)
Full-game: $24 or $26 or $28
Standing-room: $5 or $10 (essentially a cover charge, this requires a ticket elsewhere in the park)
Finally, a night game image -- complete with fireworks! (OK, it's either a construction photo which has been Photoshopped, or some lucky photographer spent the Fourth of July in the upper deck watching the fireworks over the river. Cool either way.)
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Somebody asked how long it would be before the tarp had a sponsor. Well, not very long.
Steps, skyway, and plaza intersect.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Checking out the bike racks on the promenade.
There must be millions of details needing tending
Not my actual kids!
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
Awesome seat. Awesome sun. Awesome hitter. (Photo by Tony Voda, courtesy Jared Wieseler)
Glove from above
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Millers fans leaving Nicollet Park after a game in 1923, where a trolley was waiting. (Click to enlarge.)
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Back of scoreboard; facade in context.
Here's the view from the main concourse out through Gate 3 "Killebrew".
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
The creative design of the admin building stands in stark contrast to the horribly pedestrian appearance of the LRT platform. This design looks like it came out of a public transportation manual.
Final Metrodome baseball sight
Walkway sneak peek
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
They could not help the Twins on this night.
Um, I think that guy is out.
That is the gun-metal gray wall of The Stadium just beyond the elevated tracks.
(Click to enlarge.)
Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
(Click to enlarge.)
The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
View from the Overlook
B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.