At a time when the Blue Jays are cautiously counting every penny to sign prospective free agents this off-season, they have decided to increase the price fans are paying at the door who hope to see a winning product.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi broke the story late Thursday afternoon, showing that the biggest of these hikes in 2015 will be in the 500 level, a place frequented by fans who don’t have the money to splurge for front row action but still enjoy the beauty of mid-summer baseball. The increase in the 500 level, according to the figures in the report, is 27.6 per cent for season’s tickets which is enough for some Jays to question the future product on the field.
Other increases are less infuriating with “in the action” seats increasing only 5 per cent and 200 level outfield seats actually decreasing 2.3 per cent.
What’s most important to think about when analyzing these price increases is how to quantify them. Thinking about the increase, it’s easy to compare it to the scene from the movie Moneyball where former superstar David Justice asks the then assistant General Manager, Peter Brand, “Where on the field is the dollar I’m paying for soda?” That’s what Jays fans will be questioning next season, “Where on the field is the extra dollar(s) I’m paying for tickets?”
According to Davidi, the Blue Jays already have $94 million committed to eight players with the possibility of options being extended to J.A Happ and Adam Lind which would push the payroll to $107.2 million dollars. That’s somewhat troubling considering they have to fill two outfield positions, and endure a major overhaul of the bullpen, unless of course they fill them internally with players from their minor league system.
Currently, Jays nation has no idea what this ticket increase could mean for the existing payroll. Will it go up? Will it stay the same? President Paul Beeston has indicated he expects the payroll to increase next season but by how much? And is this ticket increase directly correlated?
All in all, it will be interesting to see what this move means for the Jays. It could increase revenue which in turn could help them re-sign Melky Cabrera, or another free agent such as Pablo Sandoval. However, given last year’s 7 per cent decrease in attendance from 2013, it’s possible the trend will continue and the Jays ticket revenue may actually decline. If that’s the case, this move could seriously polarize the fan base and back fire in ways Rogers never imagined.
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