The honeymoon is over between Dodger fans and new ownership

(Edited February 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM)

Over the span of two days, Dodger fans, especially season ticket holders, received some bad news and then some very bad news.

On Thursday it was revealed that the Dodgers would no longer be sending out printed ‘hard’ tickets to their 31,000 season ticket holders (and mini-plan holders) and instead will now require them to print out their own tickets using their own paper and ink, or have their tickets scanned from their smartphones. Suffice to say that neither is an option for those who don’t have a smartphone or access to a computer or a printer.

While doing away with printed hard tickets may seem like cutting edge or state-of-the-art technology by Dodgers ownership, it is a devastating blow to the many fans who collect ticket stubs – including some who have done so for a half century or longer.

“It makes me feel sad,” said 62-year-old Dodger fan Will Isabella. “I’ve been collecting ticket stubs from Dodger games since I was 12 years old, and I don’t own a smartphone.”

1963 World Series Ticker

Whether you are a collector or a nostalgia buff, you will not longer have a hard ticket to relive your Dodger Stadium memories. (Photo courtesy of walteromalley.com)

And then to add insult to injury, late Friday afternoon just one day before the Dodgers highly touted second annual FanFest event, it was announced that season ticket prices had been raised by as much as 140%, this in spite of the fact that the Dodgers recently received MLB’s blessings to proceed with their 25-year/$8.5 billion exclusive TV rights deal with Time Warner Cable (called SportsNet LA). Of that $8.5 billion the Dodgers will keep $6 billion, with the remaining $2.5 billion going to Major League Baseball.

Dodgers Vice President of Ticket Sales David Siegel was given the task of trying to justify the insane ticket price increase, at which he failed miserably.

“(It) just comes down to the demand, how quickly our seats are flying out the door,” Siegel said.

Dodgers Vice President of Ticket Sales David Siegel is all smiles at Wednesday's Dodgers season ticket holder's Select-A-Seat event. Little did they know that over the next two days Siegel would drop not one, but two bombs on them. (Photo credit - Jon SooHoo)

Dodgers Vice President of Ticket Sales David Siegel was all smiles at last Wednesday’s Select-A-Seat event – as well he should have been with a 98% season ticket holder renewal rate for 2014. Little did season ticket holders know that over the next two days Siegel would drop not one but two bombs on them. (Photo credit – Jon SooHoo)

Apparently Siegel (or more likely the Guggenheim Baseball Management group) seems to forget that it was their longtime season ticket holders who kept the franchise in existence during the miserable News Corp and McCourt eras, including some who have had season tickets for decades and through two or three generations of Dodger fans.

Under the new pricing system the cost for a Field MVP Box has jumped from $75 per game ($6,150 for the season) to $100 per game ($8,200); an Infield Loge Box from $26 per game ($2,132 for the season) to $40 ($3,280); and Preferred Reserve from $5 ($410 for the season) to $12 ($984).

The cold hard truth is that due to the success that the Dodgers have enjoyed since Guggenheim Baseball Management took over the troubled franchise, and with a very bright future ahead because of their extremely deep pockets, they could care less if longtime season ticket holders renew next season or not because someone will purchase them regardless of the price. The intangible here is that GBM fails to recognize (or they simply don’t care) that these longtime season ticket holders have always been their most loyal fans – something that you cannot put a dollar value on.

Unfortunately, it appears that the wonderful two-year honeymoon that GBM has had with their most loyal fans is now over and these fans are being kicking aside.

So why are the Dodgers really raising ticket prices, you ask?

The answer to this is simple – because they can.

 (Edited February 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM):

As a point of clarification, the new price increases imposed last Friday afternoon DO NOT affect season ticket holders who renewed their season seats prior prior to the January 7, 2014 deadline and actually affect only those who purchase the add-on season seats added on Friday afternoon; HOWEVER, it is probably safe to say that the new increased prices will be in play for ALL STHs next season – hence the second point of this article.

 

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25 Responses to “The honeymoon is over between Dodger fans and new ownership”

  1. ebbetsfld says:

    I think they had every right to raise prices. What bothers me is the timing AND the amount. Make no mistake, GBM is in it for the money and has followed the credo “you have to spend money to make money”. Nobody has complained as they’ve poured lots of cash into the team and stadium. It’s hypocritical to think that those who benefit from those expenditures shouldn’t have to share in the increased costs incurred. That being said, GBM certainly could have handled things far better from a PR standpoint. To say “no more seats are available for season tickets” and then make more available at highly inflated prices was just plain stupid AND arrogant. It would have been far more palatable to have a reasonable increase announced before any seats were sold and leave it at that.
    As far as printing tickets is concerned, I’m on their side all the way. If you want the collector’s ticket, pay a little more. Why should someone who doesn’t collect them have to pay a premium?
    For me, the bottom line is that GBM is doing their best to give us Dodger fans a great team and a World Championship, and I applaud them for that. Fox and McCourt are the owners who really screwed us fans, not GBM. So let’s give credit where credit is due, and let GBM know that while we’re not happy with their indifference to us ticket buyers, we do appreciate what they’ve done for the team and the stadium.

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      They are doing a lot and we are grateful but raising the prices on those so called extra tickets is Frank McCourt style.

      Why shouldn’t the Dodgers have the lowest ticket prices? They have the best attendance in MLB and a $7-8B TV contract. Dodger fans shouldn’t have to suck it up. They should be rewarded so more young families can attend. Young families are the future Dodger fans.

      They have every right to raise ticket prices, but without a need, they have an ethical obligation to keep them as low as possible.

  2. Ron Cervenka says:

    If you want the collector’s ticket, pay a little more. Why should someone who doesn’t collect them have to pay a premium?

    Every season ticket holder is charged a $25 service charge every year and it has been this way for decades – this in spite of the fact that it takes less than two minutes to process a season ticket order which can be done over the phone, on-line (without any humans involved) or in person at Dodger Stadium, yet everyone must pay this fee regardless of the method used.

    Whereas I have always accepted this fee to cover printing and shipping of the the hard tickets, it is now nothing more than free money for a group of extremely wealthy people who are going to make three times as much money than they paid for the team through the TV rights deal.

    As they say: “The rich get richer.”

  3. MFGRREP says:

    I’m gong to have to agree with Dick on this one. From a business stand point the spending is far from over and in just the short time they’ve owned the team they have spent a small fortune upgrading the Dodger experience in every way. And before any of that TV money has come in. I also agree that the way it was handled sucked and the front office should take note and re-think the PR on this one. The Dodgers will have by far and away the most expensive payroll in all of baseball, including a huge payroll TAX. They have major investments plan to make Dodger stadium the best experience in all of baseball along with getting the best players needed for the future of this organization and it will cost more then it does today!! Even the recruiting costs are a major investment. At the end of the day, the cost of going to a Dodger game compared to the rest of MLB is more then competitive and the increases were long overdue. It’s only because of the McCourt ERA that it was easy to say this isn’t worth what we were paying for, but today it is competitive and this ownership has proven that they are building what we all want, which is a winning team and at whatever the costs !!

    In this case one should shoot the messenger not the business plan!!

    Now sign Hanley and Kenly and go out and get the best bench players you can find NED!!

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      I’m not a business man but this plan does suck. I think they are missing the boat entirely. With the money they have they are being unethical by raising prices in the manner in which they did. If they are truly a fan friendly team they should be looking at the lowest prices in MLB. They have the largest ticket sales which should compute to lower prices.

      The best business plan, in my opinion, is not to gouge the fans, but to reward them. Why – because they can – and it’s the right thing to do. The timing of the increases and nature of them really are a poor plan from a fan point of view, a PR perspective (fan friendly) and a clumsy implementation of increased ticket prices.

  4. Evan Bladh says:

    From what I see, the only tickets that went up 140% were the top deck tickets that sold for an insanely low $5 per seat. So jacking that price up to $12 doesn’t seem to be that unfair, as they should have been more anyway, (though $12 is a bit steep for the nosebleed section).

    This should have been handled better, but then again, how do you spread this bad news to season ticket holders without upsetting them? The TV deal is great and I think a lot of us expected that revenue stream to finance the team primarily, but that simply wasn’t realistic. The team is winning, and the stadium is getting more entertaining. Supply and demand is in play, and as long as people are paying for them, the price was bound to go up.

    How many of us would have agreed to these price increases to see the Dodgers in the top tier of teams every year?

    I’m not in play for season tickets, so it’s probably not fair for me to comment, as my wallet isn’t affected as those that attend 81 games per season. But was it really a surprise to any of us that this happened? Especially when you consider the cost of Stadium upgrades, getting the club back to the top echelons in the game in scouting and such, and $150 million/year player payroll.

  5. Bluenose Dodger says:

    I’m bailing on this one. If it’s OK to change horses in mid stream, so be it.

  6. lawrose says:

    What hurts us is that as season ticket holders we were invited to add seats to our account only to find out that now, for every seat we added we had to give one up. So, we did give up 2 to get 2 we liked better – we had a total of four, wanted six. That’s bad enough, but the very next day, the two seats we were forced to give up went on sale for literally TWICE THE PRICE. We bought one back for twice the price but after talking with Dodger personnel all the way up to Mr. David Seigel, VP of Ticket Sales, that’s the way it stayed. Bad PR to say the least and at literally twice the price, I doubt we will be back in 2015 as the opportunity costs just get to be too much.

    But, I’m trying to get over it and see it from the Dodgers’ perspective. They say the point was to slow season ticket sales so more folks could get `em, or whatever. The point is that they say the point is to slow sales. I guess it worked. Not much is left, but nothing seems to be selling, either. In any event, they are no longer “sold out” of season tickets. I very much doubt that there is any relationship between this “140%” increase in season tickets and next year’s season ticket prices. I say this because: 1. it sure `nuff has slowed sales, 2. Mini-plans and day of game prices have not gone up, 3. it really would be somewhat scandalous if they really did double prices next year. We’ll just have to wait and see, but in the meantime, Go Dodgers! :-)

  7. ebbetsfld says:

    Geez, my Packers just announced an increase of $3.00 per seat for next season! That’s certainly more affordable, but the Dodgers’ prices were a much bigger bargain (and still are!)

  8. MFGRREP says:

    The new owners bought the team for record $2.1 Billion ( cash up front ). Then they immediately lowered parking, increased payroll to record levels, scheduled and expedited major stadium improvements at great expense to date with more planned in the very near future. They hired many new scouts and added to front office staff getting the best in the business and bought heavily in the international player market. They project to spend millions in luxury taxes alone this year. All of this before a single dollar has come in from the record TV deal. A deal that pays over 26 years, not up front. A deal that includes much higher expenses in Announcers and broadcast costs and startup expense for a new TV network. Do we really think a $6 dollar increase in 10,000 seats is going to cover those costs?? I challenge you to get a $5 or $12 seat at an Angles game, or a Kings, Ducks, Clippers or Lakers game. Running a business is not easy and when you’re trying to go from LAST to FIRST and build a World Champion caliber team for the long term you have to know that costs do go up. The only thing being done wrong here is the way it was announced by a few stupid marketing people. Like I said shoot the messenger not the business plan. Keep up the great work towards building the greatest team and fan experience possible and if it costs $6 more for me to attend a game so be it !!

  9. CRANBROOK MIKE says:

    There was a comment made referring to blocks of seats being sold by 100′s. I’m not a season ticket holder, and what bothers me about a comment like this one is that it’s not just STH that will be paying huge prices. What about the casual fan that just can’t get to that many games in a season due to whatever reason. You know exactly where they’ll have to get their tickets……..that’s right, Stub Hub! So now those once $5 nosebleed seats, which are now $12, are now going to be probably anywhere between $30-$50 tickets depending on where they are in those sections. These casual fans in all likely hood be forced to Stub Hub because the seats that will be left available online will be less than desirable.
    At least that has been my experience in the past!

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