There’s been much made of the decision by the New York Mets, announced today, to allow for dynamic pricing- adjusting it up or down depending on the demand for the game. Given that a floor exists- the Mets reiterated this evening that prices won’t drop below what season ticket holders pay, per game- but no ceiling exists- the Mets can raise prices as high as they want- it more or less locks in a minimum guarantee of revenue while leaving the team free to gouge walk-up buyers should the Mets have a surprisingly strong season, or a road player comes in close to a milestone.
But what struck me, as a longtime partial season ticket holder, was the decision to move the deadline for full season ticket holders to November 7 this season. Last winter, the deadline was December 15.
Naturally, the difference for fans making the decision to commit a significant amount of money and time to watch next year’s team is immense. By December 15 last year, the winter meetings had come and gone. Adrian Gonzalez had been traded, Jayson Werth signed, Carl Crawford received Carl Crawford money.
Even with the reduced window for exclusive negotiation following the World Series-down to five days from fifteen- you are still looking at the World Series ending between October 23-27 (depending on a four, five, six or seven game series), and the first day to even declare free agency falling between October 28 and November 2.
In other words, a very key free agent on the Mets isn’t likely to have made a decision by then.
However, if you’re a season ticket holder, you have to.
In a conference call this evening, Executive Vice President for Business Operations David Howard said that there’d been discussion about sending out invoices even earlier, but that a change in online ticket vendors (the Mets moved to tickets.com) precluded that. Taking him at his word, it’s hard to think of the payment plan the Mets did institute- six payments beginning 11/7- as an inherently fan-friendly move, when it means coming up with a significant chunk of money more than a month earlier than last year. And remember, it isn’t just those season ticket holders who need to commit by 11/7- it is everyone in the full-season boat.
By November 17, the team begins the “choose your seat” promotion, where renewals get to pick their exact spot in the stadium. It is a tremendous idea, one of many that show the team’s willingness to try new things. Whether it is the result of flagging attendance or not, it is good news.
But regarding the new schedule-it is hard not to see the move as a cynical attempt to get fan money while raising hopes that maybe Jose Reyes will return. After all, if he doesn’t, it is easy to imagine that all the Amazin’ Mets Perks in the world aren’t going to allow the team to even keep pace with 2011’s attendance figures.