The Braves are playing in a new ballpark, they've shown an ability to score runs in bunches and they're heading into the summer months -- a confluence of events that should lead to high attendance numbers. But they just did a remarkable thing: They marked down the product.
The team announced on Twitter Wednesday night that it will sell monthly ticket passes for $39, beginning in June. I've done the math for you. The Braves play 18 home games in June, so that comes out to $2.17 per game. The pass is renewable, so you can keep it going in July (eight games, $4.87 each), August (17 games, $2.29 each) and September (16 games, $2.44 each).
These are general admission tickets (upper deck, outfield, down the third base line). The cost of individual game tickets normally fluctuate, depending on day and opponent, and whether school is in or out of session. In June, general admission tickets usually cost $8 or $9 but as much as $20 for a Saturday, June 10 game against the New York Mets. Tickets drop to as low as $5 on some nights in August and September. With the monthly pass, the tickets can be accessed by the MLB.com Baseball app on your smart phone.
There are two ways to look at this.
• The positive way: "Wow, look at what the Braves are doing for me!"
• The negative way: "Wow ... are the Braves that desperate to sell tickets?"
The answer to the second question: Kind of yes and no.
Obviously if Braves' games were a tough ticket right now, they wouldn't be doing this. Similarly, when Arthur Blank purchased the Falcons, his first goal was to get fans back into the stadium so he offered a $10 ticket. It worked. It should be noted that a few other baseball teams have announced similar monthly pass plans recently. The Oakland A's announced a $19.99 pass two weeks ago. The Braves also offered a similar plan late last season.
The Braves averaged 30,135 through the first 20 home games, which ranks 13th in the majors. Their crowds have been significantly higher on weekends. Follow the averages: Mondays 22,697; Tuesdays 22,744; Wednesdays 24,350; Thursdays 26,458; Fridays 36,994; Saturdays 39,724; Sundays 36,747.
One other thing to consider, and this is as important as it is obvious: The Braves can make a lot more money if you go to the game than if you don't. It's no big deal if they let you through the gates for $2.17 because that means you're going to pay significantly more than that on parking, food, beer, peanuts and souvenirs.
Also, as a reminder, the Braves are commercial real estate landlords: They benefit financially from all of the restaurants and bars that sit in the Battery area that surrounds SunTrust Park. The Battery is the Braves and vice-versa. The development as the biggest carrot to luring them to the suburbs (well, that and Cobb's generous public donation).
So in that sense, that ticket price isn't that big of a deal -- or at least not as big a deal as it normally would be.
So knock yourself out. If you can find a free parking spot in the Galleria area and are willing to walk to the stadium and you're able to sneak in a sandwich, you can get away pretty cheap. But you didn't hear that from me.
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