14 July 2010

The Price of Loyalty

Not 24 hours after Anaheim's "day in the sun" went dark, reports are trickling in about 25% price hikes @ Chase Field, presumably tied to the ephemeral 2011 All Star Game. Dback brass have yet to confirm the regular season increases, but loyal season ticket holders are understandably livid.

Consecutive last place, non-competitive seasons. Most signs point to Kendrick further slashing payroll into 2011. Knowledgeable Keith Law surmises this ownership group wont contend "anytime soon". Employment and personal income are down in the Valley, and Derrick Hall's "fan friendliest" front office is raising prices? Again.

On azcentral.com, two presumable package holders report that their account reps informed them a pair of "Infield Reserve" uppers will increase $332 annually, when the invoice arrives later in August. For them, that's a 25% increase. An extortion tax, apparently, for the privilege of getting in line to buy ASG tickets - at MLB's All Star prices.

With seasonal attendance dwindling, this is how Derrick Hall rewards his most loyal fans? Stick with us, he implored, even while our product disintegrates. We're in this together, he cheerfully implied. Then, at the nadir of public confidence in franchise stewardship, he slams a $332 cover charge on his most price sensitive loyalists?

Stop and think who buys upper deck season tickets to watch the Diamondbacks. These arent corporations and law firms. I did meet an MD up there once, but for the most part they're teachers, tow truck drivers and customer service reps, who breathe baseball and suffer with the team. Many bring their own food to the game. These are the fans stuck with an ultimatum, courtesy of Derrick Hall and Ken Kendrick:

We've strung you along for years with the hype of a made-for-TV All Star Game, that is rapidly losing appeal, and which still may never materialize in Phoenix.

You've supported us through the bad times. We dont really care if you purchase expensive ASG tickets or not. That's a separate issue. Just be a good fan and go write us another check for three hundred bucks, or you can kiss your season tickets goodbye.


The New Diamondbacks Family

P.S. - We're building a championship team, just for you. Dont miss out!


Anonymous said...

Interesting article

Russell said...

It would be nice to hear Derrick defend these increases.

He will probably take the line that fans in Phoenix don't really understand the game yet.

Diamondhacks said...

Yeah, first the increases need to be confirmed. So far, it's just a couple guys talking on azcentral.

If legit, I imagine Derrick will emphasize how low the ST prices were to begin with. It's a valid point, but the part about low fan utility, badly missed expectations and the whole definition of 'loyalty' are valid talking points as well.

Russell said...

A couple of added thoughts from my recent trip Phoenix.

It's the first time that I've been their with a child (7 year old girl) and whilst I am actually ok with the heat, families arriving for the ASG will find that even downtown hotels are too far a distance to walk in those temperatures.

For some of our party it was their first time in Phoenix and they are unlikely to return given how hot it was. As you say, summer in Phoenix is not a tourist destination (hence the incredibly low prices for hotels at the moment).

As for Chase field, the 7 year old enjoyed her first game (after being unnerved by people dressed up for eighties night) but I was a little surprised that Baxter's play den (or whatever it's called) was quite so tacky. I get that it's there to make money (and that Baxter has expesive habits) but I would have liked a more baseball themed area rather than a down market version of Gameworks.

Not a big deal but it could be a lot better.

Diamondhacks said...

I think Baxter's furnished house is imaginative. The adjoining play area used to be more baseball themed; a cage with live balls, kids could time themselves pitching or running to a base. There was even a studio for kidcasters to do their thing away from Brenneman and Brenly. It was upstairs, beyond CF, but I dont think it made enough money and quickly caved to the video version.

Your input on the heat is valuable because you describe a cross section of people with individual tolerances. Too often, agendas reduce the weather to a monolithic impact, when of course, individual tolerances vary quite a bit. One concern about huge events is that the entire spectrum of tolerances is on display and gets tested. People drink, get lost, forget medication, lose hats, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Baseline Reserve and my tickets only went up 50 cents from $17.50 to $18 for 2011 after having my prices cut $5 from $20 to $15 after the 2007 season when the team advanced to the NLCS. I can't complain since I'm still not paying the prices I paid back in 2007. A lot of season ticket holders had their ticket prices cut a few years back and the team is just now getting back to those original prices.

Diamondhacks said...

yeah, your section has enjoyed quite nice price stability over time (24% increase over 13 yrs for season packages), and if the product was remotely comparable to 1998-2007 I wouldnt complain either. But....:-)

Your price baseline (2007) is fair for your sections and those toward the foul poles; not so for the packages closer to home plate, which were sharply hiked between 2005-07, as were single game prices throughout the ballpark.

The new owners have basically come down from their own artificial highs, because they were losing accounts, despite (as you indicated) winning the nlcs - a pretty telling indicator that many 2005-07 price points were out of line with the local market.

Thanks for the visit, and your substantive comment.

Anonymous said...

83 games for under $1,000 isn't cheap enough? What else are you doing 83 times a year that engenders as much emotion, brings out a sense of community, and most importantly gets you out of the summer heat, for under $1,000?

I disagree with your opinion. Thanks!

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