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The Ticket Lottery

Mike SteffanosTuesday, March 13, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


I received an email yesterday from Jill Brennan Lessard, one of the many Mets fans who is unhappy with the team's decision to go to a ticket lottery to distribute tickets for opening day and the Yankees series. The tradition for years was for diehard fans like Jill to camp out in the February cold to earn the right to purchase some of these coveted tickets.

Let me say right off the bat that there is probably no completely fair way to distribute tickets to these games. I'm sure that some fans who are unable to camp out and don't know someone who does are grateful for the small chance that the lottery affords them. The problem is that the system is rife for abuse, and more tickets seem to be finding their way to non-fans who are only looking to make some money scalping them to real fans.

I wish the Mets would reconsider this decision. I'd rather see those tickets go to fans who make the commitment to camp out than to scalpers who have set up thousands of hotmail accounts. Major League Baseball has a terrible track record with their most committed fans. I'd love to see the Mets do better. Things are going good for the team now, but that certainly hasn't been the case for most of the last two decades. Fans are being shut out today who supported this team and showed up at the ballpark through untold losing seasons. It would be a good gesture on the part of the club towards these fans if it took their concerns seriously.

I know there are some out there who think I'm some sort of communist because I truly believe that major league baseball owes something to its fans more than your local dry cleaner owes its customers. Yes, baseball is a business, but it enjoys a level of status and privilege that regular businesses don't. Baseball is still America's game, and there is no one among the current crop of owners who had anything to do with this. Don't get me wrong. For the most part, I believe the Wilpons have an excellent track record of treating Mets fans with respect. Even when the team wasn't being run well it wasn't through lack of trying. I hope they will take a look at the concerns of the fans about the ticket lottery.

This latest flap also underscores what I now believe to be a mistaken decision on the part of the club to build a relatively small ball park in the greatest city in the world. If there is a chance to add some more seats to this design they should do so in an effort to accommodate some more of their fans -- not because they have to, but rather it is the right thing to do. Keep running the team as well as you have the last couple of years and there will be no need to create some artificial "demand" by cutting 10,000 seats out of the stadium.

Okay, that's an argument for another day. In the meantime, Jill asked me to link to the petition she has on-line against the ticket lottery. If this upsets you as it does Jill, please take a moment to sign her petition. I also include links to posts by Jill on SNY's forum and the Mets.com forum where she explains her feelings:

The Petition
Jill's post on SNY
Jill's post on Mets.com

Good luck, Jill.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (11)

I think the lottery system is a good concept, but the application of it is poor. They need to automatically disqualify anyone who enters more then once (simple thing to do using databases) and make the tickets only valid in the purchasers name. In others words, non-transferable. ID required, if your ID doesn't match the name on the ticket, you aren't allowed in the stadium.

I think the lottery system, is just the latest ploy by the Mets to walk all over "Joe Fan" in pursuit of the big bucks..... First, they cut the number of playoff games that package holders were allowed to purchase from all (10) down to just (4). Why? So they could use all of those additional playoff games to entice people to buy full '07 season ticket packages......Next? They make last year's playoff games available to the general public through the lottery only. Why? They claim so that everyone has a fair shot at getting tix; in reality, because they held back even MORE playoff game tix to, again, entice people to buy full '07 season ticket packages..... Then? They unveil plans for a new stadium with 12,000 less seats. Why? So 1) They can lay claim to selling out every game, or close to it, and 2) To make the tickets harder to get, and therefore more "attractive" and / or "valuable". There was a post on another blog site yesterday; this person said that "as for losing 12,000 tickets. I think it will benefit when we have better site lines to the game and wider seats. I am a diehard fan and would sit in Shea till I die if I had to but they are making the stadium a lot more comfortable then ever before and I appreciate it. Again look at other ballparks. They are all being cut the create demand. I do not have a problem with it". Sure, LOTS of people will have much better site lines; wide, comfortable seats; easy restroom and food access. Namely, the 12,000 fans that will now have to watch the games on TV...... The last straw? Using the lottery system for Opening Day tickets, then only releasing 5000 tickets into it. Shea currently seats 53,000 by the way.....

So, when the Mets brass claims that it is using the lottery system because it is the fairest way to make sure everyone gets a shot a tickets? I don't believe it for one second. Of course, that is just my opinion, thanks for listening -
Jill

Mike, you Communist!

Don't laugh. Whenever I write about something like this, I get weird emails. You'd think I was burning a flag on my lawn...

dd, thats cool. Mike you have to admit thats funny or do communists shoot first than laugh.

"Baseball is still America's game, and there is no one among the current crop of owners who had anything to do with this."

This is one of the great lines in the history of baseball blogging. It should be emblazoned on every MLB executive's mirror to remind them:

You are custodians of a great tradition.
You have a hand in helping it evolve.
You didn't invent it.
Stop acting as if you did.

Wonderful job, amigo.

Al - Mostly we just write blogs.
---------------------------
Gracias, Greg.

I have been writing about this since the season started. It KILLS me that the number of tickets available for sale on StubHub is going UP, not down.

The lottery is pointless because it allows people who would never go wait in line for tickets at Shea to buy tickets from the comfort of their barcalounger, and promptly put them for sale on StubHub. Go there and look at how many blocks of six are available out of the 1500+ tickets currently available (and that's without what the scalpers have on other sites, which is at least that quantity and more). It's not about duplicate registrations, it's about manipulation and lying. They do it in the concert industry, and for years our mantra has been "god, t hey would never treat sports fans the way they treat music fans, sports fans would never stand for it."

we. need. to. call.the mets. or write individual letters. masses. online petitions can't be validated and the collection mechanism is essentially flawed on its premise. take action, by all means, but I don't want people to think "well, i signed the petition, that'll do it, i don't have to do anything else."

feh

You're never going to get the vast majority of people who are upset over this to do anything about it, M.G. You're lucky if you can get a small minority to take the time and even sign an on-line petition. If you can get the media interested in this story it's probably your best chance to have any impact on it.

Mike:

It's all about making money. That was the entire reason for the Mets to build this new corporate stadium. I'm hearing that over 75% of Citifield will be season tickets, the vast majority corporate boxes. With brokers grabbing up most of the remaining tickets, getting to a Mets game will be like getting to MSG to see a Ranger's game. I hear the cheapest ticket will be around $50 and most will cost well over $100. You might be able to get in for a bit less in you want to stand, but who would want to do that? One of the reasons the Mets are selling so many tickets so far for 2007 and will again for 2008 is they have told their corporate clients that if they want a certain minimum number of tickets for Citifield they have to buy for Shea in 2007 and 2008. With so few seats available for the general public, they can use the laws of supply and demand to charge outrageous prices and will get it. The people who run the Mets are not stupid, they have done their market research.

The Mets don't care about the fans who have supported them for the past 45 years through thick and thin (mostly thin). Baseball, like most entertainment today is played by millionaires for millionaires. Only they can afford it.

I became a Mets fan in 1967 and I am a fan no longer. I will not pay $38 for a Loge seat that used to cost $3. Or $20 for an Upper Deck seat that used to cost $1.35 (I still have the ticket stubbs to prove the prices) I realize over time prices go up, but this is outrageous.

And the television option? Please, the Mets used to be on Channel 9 about 125 times a season. Now they are on Channel 11 only 25 times and there is the occasional Fox game. I don't have cable, I'm not paying in excess of $100 to watch the Mets or any other team and add to their bottom line. After 2008 I expect there to be no baseball on free TV and I expect most of the radio broadcasts to move to sattelite or HD radio so they can make even more money. I have other ways to spend my time and money.

You're a little more pessimistic than I am, but I agree that the fans are an afterthought these days. It's all about making money.

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