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MLB and Union talk major rule changes

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Yes, it can get very expensive if that's the experience you want.  I think Oriole fans forget how good they have it with regards to the price of a professional sporting event.  The walkup $15 bleacher seat at Camden Yards, and bring in a $3 hotdog from the guy outside the gate method is probably one of the least expensive ways to see a top-tier pro sports league in North America.  I used to have DC United season tickets and they were a good deal.  In the new stadium the cheapest tickets are now $25+ fees.

I posted data for the median priced ticket. I think the numbers I posted are far closer to the median experience than the $18 per person option. 

 

Just to be clear, as I mentioned in other posts I take in a lot of "cheap" baseball every year. If I lived close to Camden Yards, then I would attend as many games as I could give time and money constraints and I would definitely go the much more affordable route. But there are fewer of those options in many stadiums and I don't think it is a typical fan experience in many stadiums (and certainly the owners don't want you spending $18 per person). I have basically decided that an Astros game is not a good investment for my family entertainment dollar (my wife and I are casual Astros fans, my teenage kids are not big baseball fans, etc.). I suspect that the cost of attending games in many markets result in others making this decision. 

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22 minutes ago, Frobby said:

Per the attached link, the average price of an Astros ticket last year was $40.25, sixth highest in MLB but nowhere near $90 per ticket.   The Orioles were $29.95, which was 17th MLB.   So the O’s are not dramatically lower than average, and as mentioned, they do have some very family friendly policies. Sorry that you have to deal with the Astros being at the higher end.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193673/average-ticket-price-in-the-mlb-by-team/

So, you guys really think that going to a MLB game is not an expensive outing for the average family? That ticket and concession prices don't affect attendance? Earlier in this thread Drungo cited an attendance decline of 10,000,000 since 2007. You don't think any of that has to do with investment decisions regarding entertainment dollars? 

 

This "debate" started with me commenting that a family of four could easily spend $500 attending a game. I believe I more than backed up that statement with data. I did not state that the average cost of attending a game for a family of four was $500. Yes, MLB games, even in more expensive markets than Baltimore, can be attended for less than $500 (but still costs several hundred dollars), but even median ticket prices at the Astros stadium, for example, push a family of four into the $500 range. 

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1 minute ago, Ohfan67 said:

So, you guys really think that going to a MLB game is not an expensive outing for the average family? That ticket and concession prices don't affect attendance? Earlier in this thread Drungo cited an attendance decline of 10,000,000 since 2007. You don't think any of that has to do with investment decisions regarding entertainment dollars? 

It is expensive.  But it's also much cheaper than other professional sports, and almost certainly cheaper than many or most college football/basketball games.  All of these things are priced (more-or-less) to maximize revenues.  Pro sports are in an interesting situation where their stadiums can only seat so many people, and many teams are actively choosing smaller stadiums to decrease supply and increase demand or willingness to pay to get in.

In the end, tickets are priced where they are priced because owners think that's what will get them the most revenues.  Which means enough people are willing to pay that.  For now.

There are a lot of reasons attendance is down.  Price is probably part of that, coupled with fairly stagnant wages in real terms for many people over a long period of time.  Some of it is declining capacity in newer stadiums.  I just watched Major League again, and the movie Indians drew almost 70k to their playoff game.  There is no MLB team that could draw 70k any more because all the stadiums max out in the 30k-50k range to encourage season ticket sales.  Some of it is more entertainment choices, both other sports and non-sports.  Some of it is the proliferation of 65" HD and 4K TVs that look incredible and don't involve hours long trips to the park to spend $hundreds.

I have observed a bifurcation of markets in a lot of areas, where there's a concerted effort to move as many people as possible up-market, even if that means fewer customers.  Companies with business models that are lower total sales but higher profit per sale.  Cars are like this, with the average price now over $30k, a standard pickup truck sometimes into the $50k range, and nobody buying sedans that aren't made by a German or Japanese luxury brand.  I'm a bit of an amateur photographer, and a decade ago the focus was on $500-800 APS-C DSLRs.  Now almost every manufacturer is pushing $1500-3000 full frame camera bodies, with the bottom end eviscerated by phone cameras.  Sports is following that model, seemingly just as happy with 26k fans paying $55 a ticket as they were with 32k paying $45.

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23 minutes ago, Ohfan67 said:

So, you guys really think that going to a MLB game is not an expensive outing for the average family? That ticket and concession prices don't affect attendance? Earlier in this thread Drungo cited an attendance decline of 10,000,000 since 2007. You don't think any of that has to do with investment decisions regarding entertainment dollars? 

 

This "debate" started with me commenting that a family of four could easily spend $500 attending a game. I believe I more than backed up that statement with data. I did not state that the average cost of attending a game for a family of four was $500. Yes, MLB games, even in more expensive markets than Baltimore, can be attending for less than $500 (but still costs several hundred dollars), but even median ticket prices at the Astros stadium, for example, push a family of four into the $500 range. 

I don’t understand what a “median” ticket means in this context.   I cited data that the average price for the Astros was $40.25 last year.   Where does your data come from?   Are you just guesstimating from looking at a seating chart?   

Here’s some more data stating that the average Astros price for four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, two souvenir caps and two beers was $262.98 (it’s $187.80 in Baltimore).     Obviously it’s possible to pay much more, but for $500 you are really at the high end.   https://www.teammarketing.com/

By the way, I don’t mean to detract from your overall point that many families can’t afford to go to a lot of baseball games.    There are plenty of families for whom $262.98 is out of reach.    And I certainly won’t argue that higher prices lead to less attendance.   That’s basic supply and demand.   I just feel you’ve exaggerated the point.    

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Traditionalists hold sway in baseball, so why don't we go back to the original rule on substitutes?  Which was you need the opponent's concurrence to make a substitute.  That's why most relief appearances in the period before 1891 were swapping the right fielder with the pitcher.  And, occasionally, someone would have a collision, break an arm, and have to finish the game.

Somewhat more seriously, if you gave a modern manager four subs a game, four of those would be used on pitchers.  If you gave him five, five would be used on pitchers.  You'd have to give him six or seven before he'd even start thinking about pinch hitting or pinch running prior to the 9th inning of a three-run game.  I'd like a rule that says you can only use three pitchers per game, with an allowance for an additional pitcher for each two extra innings.  Since my preference is three, I assume MLB will propose a trial run in the Atlantic League in 2022 of limiting the number of pitchers in a game to seven.

What if they just the overall limit at 10 per game for all substitutions (pitchers and fielders)? I feel like that would be enough to deter the Tony LaRussa strategy of over use of the bullpen. Reducing the roster size is another thought. Then teams would be forced to do away with the specialists and carry more versatile pitchers. 

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1 hour ago, Frobby said:

I don’t understand what a “median” ticket means in this context.   I cited data that the average price for the Astros was $40.25 last year.   Where does your data come from?   Are you just guesstimating from looking at a seating chart?   

Here’s some more data stating that the average Astros price for four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, two souvenir caps and two beers was $262.98 (it’s $187.80 in Baltimore).     Obviously it’s possible to pay much more, but for $500 you are really at the high end.   https://www.teammarketing.com/

By the way, I don’t mean to detract from your overall point that many families can’t afford to go to a lot of baseball games.    There are plenty of families for whom $262.98 is out of reach.    And I certainly won’t argue that higher prices lead to less attendance.   That’s basic supply and demand.   I just feel you’ve exaggerated the point.    

If you look at the ticket prices ranging from highest to lowest priced sections, the price for a ticket in the median priced sections range from $65-$68 to see the Astros play the Rangers. It would be a little cheaper to see somebody like the Twins. There are not four tickets in a row available in the $68 range for those games. If you wanted good seats and wanted to sit together, then you would likely pay more than $68. I am not exaggerating my point. You can easily spend $20 each for a beverage, a BBQ sandwich equivalent to Boog's, and a say split a bag of peanuts or a popcorn. Parking at the stadium is $25. The "average" price you quote is, I believe, an average priced ticket, a cheap hot dog, and a soda. That's equivalent to the old consumer price index stuff for food based on loaf of white bread, a gallon of milk, etc., it does not reflect what many people do at the ballpark. A family of four can easily spend $500 to attend an Astros game. I am not exaggerating. You can spend $500 without sitting in a luxury box. 

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

It is expensive.  But it's also much cheaper than other professional sports, and almost certainly cheaper than many or most college football/basketball games.  All of these things are priced (more-or-less) to maximize revenues.  Pro sports are in an interesting situation where their stadiums can only seat so many people, and many teams are actively choosing smaller stadiums to decrease supply and increase demand or willingness to pay to get in.

In the end, tickets are priced where they are priced because owners think that's what will get them the most revenues.  Which means enough people are willing to pay that.  For now.

There are a lot of reasons attendance is down.  Price is probably part of that, coupled with fairly stagnant wages in real terms for many people over a long period of time.  Some of it is declining capacity in newer stadiums.  I just watched Major League again, and the movie Indians drew almost 70k to their playoff game.  There is no MLB team that could draw 70k any more because all the stadiums max out in the 30k-50k range to encourage season ticket sales.  Some of it is more entertainment choices, both other sports and non-sports.  Some of it is the proliferation of 65" HD and 4K TVs that look incredible and don't involve hours long trips to the park to spend $hundreds.

I have observed a bifurcation of markets in a lot of areas, where there's a concerted effort to move as many people as possible up-market, even if that means fewer customers.  Companies with business models that are lower total sales but higher profit per sale.  Cars are like this, with the average price now over $30k, a standard pickup truck sometimes into the $50k range, and nobody buying sedans that aren't made by a German or Japanese luxury brand.  I'm a bit of an amateur photographer, and a decade ago the focus was on $500-800 APS-C DSLRs.  Now almost every manufacturer is pushing $1500-3000 full frame camera bodies, with the bottom end eviscerated by phone cameras.  Sports is following that model, seemingly just as happy with 26k fans paying $55 a ticket as they were with 32k paying $45.

I agree with all of this. MLB can be relatively inexpensive compared to other pro sports and things like college football (I work at a very large, very football focused university in Texas and the total cost of a season ticket for mediocre seats including the "donation" you have to give is unbelievable). MLB is definitely focused on a more "upscale" experience. Most of us are not huge fans of many of Angelos' decisions, but his focus on keeping Camden Yards affordable was real. 

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50 minutes ago, wildbillhiccup said:

What if they just the overall limit at 10 per game for all substitutions (pitchers and fielders)? I feel like that would be enough to deter the Tony LaRussa strategy of over use of the bullpen. Reducing the roster size is another thought. Then teams would be forced to do away with the specialists and carry more versatile pitchers. 

It looks like the Orioles used 10 subs in the Chris Davis game, that went 17 innings and they ran out of pitchers.  For a limit to have any substantial impact it would have to be more like 5-6, and if there weren't pitcher/fielder restrictions almost all of the 5-6 would be saved for pitchers until maybe the 9th.

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20 minutes ago, Ohfan67 said:

I agree with all of this. MLB can be relatively inexpensive compared to other pro sports and things like college football (I work at a very large, very football focused university in Texas and the total cost of a season ticket for mediocre seats including the "donation" you have to give is unbelievable). MLB is definitely focused on a more "upscale" experience. Most of us are not huge fans of many of Angelos' decisions, but his focus on keeping Camden Yards affordable was real. 

In the mid-90s Virginia Tech was just coming off a run of 5-6 straight losing or .500 seasons, and had trouble selling out Lane Stadium.  They offered alumni season tickets for something like $300 a year plus a token donation of $50 or $100 to the Hokie Club.  The representative told my friends and I that whatever seats we picked would be ours forever.

Fast forward to 2005.  The past decade brought major bowls, Michael Vick, huge TV exposure, a National Championship appearance.  They announced a new policy where they were reallocating all the season tickets.  By Hokie Club donation amount.  Our previous seats were in the first row on the 20 yard line.  The seats we were offered under the new scheme (but our prior donation level) were still on the 20, but in row XXXX.  Literally four Xs... the 102nd row.  We asked what it would take to keep the old seats and they said "hard to tell exactly, but something like $5000 a ticket. Each season."

We sat in row XXXX for a few years, then gave up the tickets altogether.

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2 hours ago, DrungoHazewood said:

In the mid-90s Virginia Tech was just coming off a run of 5-6 straight losing or .500 seasons, and had trouble selling out Lane Stadium.  They offered alumni season tickets for something like $300 a year plus a token donation of $50 or $100 to the Hokie Club.  The representative told my friends and I that whatever seats we picked would be ours forever.

Fast forward to 2005.  The past decade brought major bowls, Michael Vick, huge TV exposure, a National Championship appearance.  They announced a new policy where they were reallocating all the season tickets.  By Hokie Club donation amount.  Our previous seats were in the first row on the 20 yard line.  The seats we were offered under the new scheme (but our prior donation level) were still on the 20, but in row XXXX.  Literally four Xs... the 102nd row.  We asked what it would take to keep the old seats and they said "hard to tell exactly, but something like $5000 a ticket. Each season."

We sat in row XXXX for a few years, then gave up the tickets altogether.

My employer spent 500 million on a recent stadium upgrade. The university then pulled a very similar switch on season ticket holders. When you drop half a billion on a partial stadium rebuild, you need some quick cash. Some of the tickets had literally been handed down through two or three generations. It was going to cost one of my coworkers an annual $10,000 donation for the right to purchase the four tickets that her family had held for two generations. Some of the alumni went nuts, but the university stuck to their policy. The team immediately tanked after they completed the stadium rebuild, but they recently signed a top dollar coach to a ten year contract so the alumni and students are currently mollified. If the team tanks again, then this place will erupt. 

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