Nine Reasons Why Jays Fans Don’t Attend Games

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Yesterday Callum wrote about why fans should come out to the watch live baseball. And I agree with what he said.

But…

In particular have the Toronto Blue Jays done anything to warrant a bump in attendance?

The production of the on the field team would say yes. Numerous other factors would say no.

Nine Reasons Why Fans are Staying Home

1. They’ve spent less $$$ on the roster this season, yet raised prices for the average fan, not to mention taking away some of the flexibility and perks for loyal season ticket holders. With the media and the blogsphere openly admitting this is a re-building season raising prices was a bold (and to this point incorrect) move.

2. As outlined at the start of the season, the Jays promotions schedule is one of the weakest in baseball. Most teams in even high-A have better promos than the Jays. And anything that’s the least bit enticing? Limited to 10,000. Let’s say a few fans come out to the park, driven by the promo but misses out on the giveaway. They leave as one unhappy customer. That’s just bad business. Man up and order 20 – 25,000 of the promo items.

3. To the best of my knowledge (at least from checking the official mlb site) the Jays don’t offer a family package. How about a pack of four seats in a family section, a program, drinks, hot dogs, etc for a discounted price everyday of the week? Sure, seats in the 500 deck are cheap but factor in food, maybe a souvenir and a program and things can get pricy.

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4. Tweeting Tuesdays? Ok, this isn’t a reason to stay away. And it’s not a reason to come out either.

5. Maybe it’s time to discount tickets on a regular occasion. I get e-mail alerts almost every weekend for discount Pirate & Indians tickets from Travelzoo. It’s not a viable long-term strategy but it will get fans out to the park that otherwise may stay at home until a legit contender is on the field.

6. Building on #5, Toronto fans are some of the biggest bandwagon jumpers in all of pro sports, Re:excitement for sub.500 Raptors and their playoff push towards the end of this season. Can this be helped? I don’t know.

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7. TV may be an issue. I love the fact that I can watch almost every game on the tube. On the other hand this has to limit attendance.

8. The park itself. They’ve done what they can (for the most part). I still liken a Jays game at the RC to going to a doctor’s office. It has that blue/grey color combo and clean, cold, sterile openness about it. When even an ultimate fanboy like Eyebleaf sees the light after going to other parks, well…

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9. And of course we have the police state atmosphere and general drunkenness in the 500 level. Take a portion of the unused 500 level, rip out the seats and create a large party deck or bar area. Put them near the scoreboard and away from families/regular folk. Discount beer by a $1 in the section and the the drunks will flock.

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has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +

  • The rationale behind the ticket pricing is this: If they do it when they’re not playing well and they do get to the point where they are playing well, they’ll generate the revenue to keep it going. It also causes less sticker shock since less fans are taking note of the price increase during the down period.

    As far as ticket discounts, they no longer paper-the-building like they did in the Godfrey era because ticket discounts “devalue the brand” according to Paul Beeston, and I agree with him.

    #9 is a fair point and your idea to deal with it is brilliant. I don’t see $1 beers coming to the Rogers Centre ever, but a party zone similar to Bright House Field would be a big hit.

    • My bad, I meant discount drinks BY $1.

      Is sticker shock an issue if fans don’t attend? If the Jays contend in 2011/2012 I doubt many of the wagon jumpers would notice a bump.

      I can understand the devalue the brand argument. But will attendance get to a point (especially if the team drops 10 below .500) where they will need to get asses in seats? A few occasional 40% off, let’s say 500 level and 200 outfield’s shouldn’t harm brand value in the long-run. The Pirates and Tribe usually only discount the cheaper seats, they maintain pricing power for lower deck.

      • “Is sticker shock an issue if fans don’t attend? If the Jays contend in 2011/2012 I doubt many of the wagon jumpers would notice a bump”

        That is my whole point. Better to do it now than raise the price when 35-40,000 are coming to the game.

        • I will respectfully disagree.

          Toronto bandwagon fans will come out regardless of a few extra $$$ if the team is winning.

          With the team in re-building mode I would keep prices the same this season.

          I can’t imagine the Jays overall operating expenses being much higher than last season.

          • Sticker shock doesn’t necessarily mean that fans won’t come to the game because of the increase in price.

            What it does mean, that by doing it now instead of when the Jays are contenders, the Blue Jays organization as a whole has to put out a lot less PR fires and deal with less whining and complaining.

    • Early

      Preception = reality.

      Yes, and those bandwagoners that buy ticks when the team is good will live in reality with no preception of how things were. Those of us who may go to many or few games because of increase ticket prices may precieve a second divison team with an unjustified increased prices.

    • Early

      As for ticket price integrity. I have heard him say this thing. I would agree if it was being practiced. Try buying a ticket with a face value of $1.23. They exist, scalpers have them. if you get a star pack you can have them. However, a scalper says “this is a premium game pay me $15 for this $1.23 ticket.” Scalper trying to make a buck, so come on Beeston, where is your ‘ticket’ integrity.

  • Greg

    Regarding #9:

    Ripping out a section of the 500 Level to build a deck/bar would be nearly impossible. The steep grade of the concrete section would necessitate hollowing out that portion of the concrete so that a floor could be installed…. something that is not feasible from a monetary perspective, or an engineering one. (The roof!)

    A more viable solution, which has been posted before (somewhere) is replacing (the now defunct) Windows restaurant with a party deck. I like the idea… though I would lament the loss of the glass (I just like how it looks in contrast to the blue concrete facings).

    • Early

      Skemanics.

      The means will justify the ends. They need to identify the numerous types of fans they can and do attract and make them all comfortable.

      In a perfect world the dude that throws up on people for fun can enjoy a day at the park as much as the 11 yr old girl. But who is kidding who, they can’t enjoy the day together.

  • daperman

    Leave the Rogers Center building out of the equation. It is not relevant. Check out attnedances at other “attractive parks” and you will see small attendances as well. Oriole Field and Progressive as examples. Great edifices bad team small attendances. Let me assure you though Wrigley Fenway etc lose their charm quickly during April and September games. And they all lose their charm when it rains no matter what the time of year.
    Sure the fans will show up but I venture to say they would exchange it for the comfort of RC.

    To offer a reason for the decline is that the team is boring. YOung successful pitchers are nice but fans want offensive. If you have a losing boring team there is no incentive to go to the games. To know that if you are behing early in the game for all intents and purposes the game is over means little hope and if there is no hope there will be no fans.

    Few and far between are the last at bat wins and the abysmal runners in scoring position batting average and the league leading strike outs no two out hits, contribute to the “boring team”. Cant even get the ball into play and hope for an error. If you are going to lose lose 9-8……You get something to cheer about.

    I am sure someone can point out stats that contradict what I have mentioned but regardless that is the perception of this team now and in the Perception = Reality.

    This is the legacy carry over from 2009.

    • Early

      IRT your first sentence. The Rogers Cente (Skydome), in the 500 level is in need of repair. Peeled paint, cronically sticky floors and even graffiti are things that do take away from the atmosphere and turn people away.

  • Early

    Great article Kman. Like Callum’s the other day I cannot disagree with much. The one point in #3 when you call them out for no Family Section. The Jays offer, and have offered since I was one, but a jr Jays discount. Pre-teens and below get half priced tickets on Saturday and Holidays. Seniors as well. Take as many as you want or just one kid, older brother can take younger etc. I think it is a better promo than 4 tix/dogs/drinks for $44.

    • Tight_PP

      Are you sure Jr. Jays games are still 1/2 price?

      I was online looking at a tickets for a Saturday, and they at least don’t make it clear how to buy these half price tickets.

      Seems Jr Jays day now is bouncy castle, face paint, base running after the game.

  • daperman

    Maybe this should be in the Why to attend a Jays game but it is becoming as this season moves along a team with hope.

    I earlier had stated as a legacy from last season (and probably the perception of the ’07 and ealier ’08 season) once behind on only a minimum number of occassions did the Blue Jays come from behind and win. No hope = poor attendance. a boring team……

    But as this season is progressing we are now starting to see a number of last at bat wins. A rarity last season: a very pleasant suprise this season. And if you can provide your fans with hope the boring team perception will dissipate, excitement will build and hopefully then the fans will start coming out.