Filling Oriole Park Has Nothing To Do With Fans

August 29, 2012 | Thyrl Nelson

The only good reason to buy season tickets would be because as a season ticket holder you’d get priority on playoff tickets and other potential perks. Clearly that hasn’t been a concern for Orioles fans over the last decade or so, and whether it’ll be a concern beyond this year remains to be seen. The fans weren’t chased away from OPACY overnight, and they won’t be gotten back overnight either.

In order for the Orioles to sell more tickets, in advance and on game day, they’ll first need to sell more season tickets. Again my best guess is that they’ll do so by convincing local businesses and businessmen to buy them first. That was where the lion’s share of tickets were being sold in the heyday of baseball at Oriole Park.


If they’re able to establish that base they’ll create scarcity. By creating scarcity they’ll compel “regular fans” to invest in season ticket packages and/or mini-plans because they’ll no longer be able to walk up on the day of the game, surcharge or not, and get the seats they want. “Regular fans” will also buy in to the need to purchase these packages if they believe the team could make the playoffs, and further believe that to be the only way they’ll get playoff tickets.


Therefore, as long as tickets remain abundant and easy to get, they’ll continue to un-bought. Selling more tickets before the season begins will make those tickets less abundant and more difficult to get therefore encouraging more fans to get in when they can or to commit to games that they otherwise wouldn’t have, in order to insure that they can be at the games they want. Unfortunately that won’t happen by doing anything to cater to “regular fans”. It’ll be done instead, by making it more difficult for those fans to get tickets in the first place.


Simple right?

7 Comments For This Post

  1. Chuck Says:

    Thanks. This is a refreshingly smart and thoughtful analysis. It lacks the over-the-top narcissism of your boss.

  2. Mike from Carney Says:

    I was told the access to the stadium is limited, due to the Grand Prix closings of most streets.

  3. justafan Says:

    Eliminate the surcharge and discontinue that stupid prime game extra charge for all opening day,Yankees and Red Sox games. The prices should remain the same for all games with no exceptions. Are the Red Sox worthy of prime game status this year? I don’t think so!

  4. bill Says:

    Finally an intelligent, well thought out take on the situation. Plus you have to realize, the economy was a whole lot different when they were winning. The middle class just does not have the budget to go to a huge number of games…
    The rest of the talking rear ends at WNST should learn a lesson from your blog.

  5. John in Westminster Says:

    Interesting points. However, season ticket purchases will not increase from businesses anymore because of the economy. Most business have removed entertainment expenses from the budget entirely. So things like golf, department lunches and baseball tickets are frankly a thing of the past.

  6. waspman Says:

    Thyrl, you might be the only person at ‘NST who didn’t doze off in ECON class after the supply/demand cartoon was shown or say, “Ewwwww,” when a word problem came up in MATH class.

    Two facts about attendance. It is driven by tickets sold, not bodies through the turnstiles. Game-day walk-up attendance is the least important factor.

    The most important factor in a team’s attendance is season ticket plans. Second comes advance sales. Then and only then comes game-day walk-up. (There are exceptions like Steve Carlton in Philly, The Bird in Detroit, Fernando-mania in LA, and maybe the 1-23 O’s of ’88.)

    When walk-ups get less than desirable seats, they will resort to advance sales. When that stops working, people will pool together and get a season ticket plan. There are other minor factors, mentioned and unmentioned, but that is the basic blueprint.

    This makes attendance a lagging indicator. A lagging indicator is the opposite of a leading indicator some people may have heard when suffering through a business report while waiting for the latest Doppler pictures from space.

    Here’s a simple example. The Orioles drew 2,624,740 fans in 2005 — fifth best in the AL. Yes, some were dressed as empty seats, but still 2.6 million. It wasn’t the team. They were playing their eighth straight losing season. It wasn’t the ballpark. It was entering its 14th season, and 15 (fifteen!) newer MLB ballparks had opened between 1992 and then.

    While some are boo-hooing the attendance of the Chicago series — and Drew isn’t the only one — here are some real time facts for those who won’t take a snooze at their presentation.

    The Orioles are averaging 24,947 per game this year through their 6-0 win over the White Sox. That’s 3,275 more per game than last year. Given the general expectations surrounding the team for 2012, I doubt much of that was season ticket sales.

    And that’s not all.

    Despite the increase in overall attendance, the home attendance for Yankees and Red Sox games are down from 2011. Attendance for O’s v. NYY is down 6,250 per game. Attendance for O’s v. BOS is down 1,082 per game.

    And, yet, overall home attendance is up 3,275 per game.

    And here’s the kicker. The overall home attendance average per game for 2012 (24,947) is higher than versus NYY (22,721) and BOS (23,888).

    Thems the facts, hon. Pass the hankie. There must be something real for the whiners to belly-ache about.

  7. BudIce05 Says:

    Support your team Baltimore!!! It’s pretty bad that a person like myself who even though I have a full time job, have expenses, and putting a daughter thru college still makes a 1/2 dozen games per year and I live over 3 hours away (even though there are other MLB stadiums closer). And just buy the ticket, screw the outrageous concession prices.This team has alot of likeable people on the O’s just like the 1979-83 O’s and a top tier manager to boot. Thousands of Empty seats at these critcal games is embarassing and it does not bode well for the Baltimore fans. Quit the excuses (and whining about Napolean Pete) and fill those seats!! This TEAM needs and deserves a helluva lot more support than they have been getting lately!!

Leave a Reply