On Friday, surely knowing that word would filter out at the most opportune time for them on the outrage cycle, the Blue Jays began sending out emails to notify fans of price increases on their season ticket packages that will go into effect for the 2018. I had a fan forward the Jays’ message to me, as did Shi Davidi — who, unlike yours truly, was actually arsed to report on it.
It’s… it is what it is. Something the market will probably bear with not a whole lot more damage to the ticket base than has already been done by the mostly dreadful season the Jays have had on the field (and, perhaps, the novelty of the last couple seasons wearing off in the cold, harsh reality of what this one has been).
I’m sure they have a whole lot of smart people telling them that the data says this won’t blow up in their faces, even though they will lose season ticket holders. I’ve written myself about how there’s really nothing they can do to get me to renew — the product has too often been bad, the prospects for the immediate future can only offer hope to a degree, the secondary market has been shit, and the big carrot they had to dangle the last two years (playoff tickets) has almost certainly disappeared. Change a couple of those things — maybe just any one of them — and I wouldn’t have thought twice about renewing, regardless of these increases. But so it goes.
Will it cause some people who were on the fence to opt out? Undoubtedly. Will the increased cash flow from those who stick around compensate for a bunch of that? Probably. I guess that’s what they’re figuring, at least. But the numbers will be interesting to watch over the course of the winter.
Also interesting to watch? How much this has changed not just between this year and last, as a chart in Shi’s piece shows, but over an even longer period of time. Back in 2015, after the club understandably raised prices following not only their incredible run to the ALCS, but (from what I understand) years of leaving money on the table during the Beeston era), I wrote a post that included a table showing season ticket pricing for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Here now is that data, plus the pricing for 2017, the newly announced 2018 prices, and the total change in dollars over that span:
|2014||2015||2016||2017||2018||$ Change||% Change|
|In The Action Seats||$16,200||$17,010||$18,630||$20,356||$23,069||$6,869||30%|
|Field Level Infield||$4,078||$4,536||$4,779||$5,082||$5,470||$1,392||25%|
|Field Level Bases||$3,103||$3,321||$3,564||$4,007||$4,574||$1,471||32%|
|200 Level Bases||$3,103||$3,321||$3,564||$3,845||$4,102||$999||24%|
|100 Level Outfield||$1,907||$2,187||$2,430||$2,633||$2,872||$965||34%|
|200 Level Outfield||$1,907||$1,863||$2,106||$2,336||$2,538||$676||27%|
Before we start saying “holy shit, that 500 Level increase percentage!” let me clarify a couple things. First, I’m just going by what the seats are labelled in my post from 2015 and the chart that Shi provided in his (via Reddit). In 2015 there was no listing for the TD Comfort Clubhouse ($6,116 in 2017, $6,849 in 2018), so I’ve just not included that. In the 2015 post there was information on “200 Level Infield” which appears to no longer be a category, so I’ve excluded that as well.
I’ve also — and this is what’s really quite amazing — excluded the new category, “500 Level Lower,” which didn’t exist in 2014 and 2015, as all tickets in the 500 Level were the same price. (You can see the old seating chart here, and the new one here).
The first several rows of what were $635 season tickets in the 500s back in 2014 will cost $1,679 next season. A 164% increase. A $1,044 difference.
That’s pretty goddamned big! There were also a bunch of people with the Ballpark Pass back then (raises hand), paying like $100 for 500 Level seats to every game (minus the home opener).
Add in the loss of a lot of perks (things like booze ups, dollars for concessions or the Jays Shop, etc.) over the last couple years and you start to see why longtime season ticket holders are a little bit salty. Add in the product on the field this year, and the lack of confidence in the front office among a pretty big chunk of the fan base, and you maybe even start to think to yourself, “uh… I hope these guys from Cleveland know what the hell they’re doing on this.”