01 April 2009


Less then five days to pro ball and it doesnt look like our Dream Team will sellout their opener. It's hard to definitively tell, because MLB's software doesnt let one probe each section's availability - it just spits out seat numbers within a general price level, without much of an explanation.

The old software, god bless it, did let customers visually surf thru every stadium section, but I bring it up mostly because I've been monitoring Chase availability over the past couple weeks and wanted to share some curious findings.

Two weeks ago, I clicked on "Infield Reserve", which comprises 70% of the upper deck and is the biggest area, by far, in the park, and got the following response over a 36 hour span:

The number of seats you requested in Infield Reserve was not found. However, seats were found in Outfield Reserve....

MLB software not only guided me to the Outfield Reserve - it kicked me all the way up to Section 303 Row 40, which is the top row of the stadium by the foul pole. Uecker seats, basically.

Ordinarily, this would be good news, as it implies a virtual sellout for the home team, however, bleacher seats (which go for the same price as my first option) arent even a third sold - as evidenced by my online offer in the eleventh row of Section 105. I can also get a Club Seat on Opening Day. And not just any club seat.

Club seats in the front row.

Think about that. Three weeks before the Opener, front row club seats are available. You can get bleacher seats ten or twelve rows up, no problem. Yet dbacks.com wont present a pair anywhere in the vast upper Infield Reserve for purchase. Not even Row 40, with your mohawk massaging the roof.

MLB doesnt say Infield Reserve is "Sold Out". That would be fraud, I imagine. It says "tickets are not available in the quantity requested. In my case, codependent harlot that I am, that "quantity" would be an adjacent pair. Are we to believe Phoenicians scooped up among the worst ten thousand seats in favor of front row club seats for $10 more? Or for identical cost, selected upper deck nosebleeds en masse, rather than tenth row bleacher seats within naked sight of the earth's crust?

Fast forward a couple weeks. Can I procure seats in the previously off limits area? Heck, yes. Try 317 (that's directly behind home plate, for you out of towners). Yesterday Row 10, today row 14. (Upper sections have between 33 and 40 rows, so these are some of the best seats on the entire level). I can still get four bleacher seats in the tenth row, club seats in the closest section to home plate within each price point - less than five days from The Show.

Armed with this information, I heard a corker of an April Fool's joke today. CEO Derrick Hall was "interviewed" on radio and the host, KTAR's John Gambadoro, shamelessly spoonfed him this line:

I understand there are limited tickets available

That's right Johnny, and Chrysler has a limited number of cars for sale. If you act now!

Hall coyly confirmed "some" seats were available and reassured listeners they were "good seats, too!" Well, the second part's true - it appears you can sit most anywhere in this 48K seat venue on April 6th, for Hall's price. But the first part, the little symbiotic ruse on the southwest's most powerful radio station was more than an April Fool's joke.

Gambo's supposed to be some confrontational New Yorker, but his matter-of-fact willingness to setup and further the illusion the Dbacks opener is some kind of hot ticket around town is evidence of a more longstanding joke: the notion that Phoenix has an independent sports media worth a hoot.

Hall went on:

"I can predict a sellout but we're not quite there yet".

I can predict world harmony and a Diamondbacks World Series...but we're not quite there yet either. The truth is, nobody needs to "predict" a sellout here.

That's already happened.


Russell said...

It could just be a software glitch, but if it's not I don't think these are the times to be playing games with ticket prices. My own feeling is that teams should take a hit on prices in the current climate knowing that they are building up good will for the future. It's as cynical as anything Derrick Hall could come up with but it looks to the long term rather than the short.

Matt said...

It's definitely 'game' time in this economy. I guess I see it as good games v bad games - those that attract and repel customers, those that genuinely provide value within a given market v those that fail to live up to the promise.

The Dbacks have some of both, but their foundation is built on the latter. Thx for reading

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