Royals raise ticket prices
BOB DUTTON , The Kansas City Star
The Royals confirmed Thursday what many fans suspected was coming after the club's first winning season since 1994: higher ticket prices across the board for next season.
The club is in the process of revealing the increase to its season-ticket holders and package-plan participants in renewal notices. The hike affects tickets in all nine price categories and raises the cost of an average ticket from $12.13 to $13.42.
“We still think we offer one of the best values in major-league baseball,” said Charlie Seraphin, the club's vice president for sales and marketing.
“Even with this increase, we will still rank 28th (among baseball's 30 teams) if every other team maintains its present price structure.”
The largest hike for any seat category is $4. All nine categories increased at least $2. The cost of parking will rise from $6 to $8 for individual-game tickets.
Prices for individual-game tickets will range from $7 for Hy-Vee view level seats, which are located in the upper deck beyond the infield area, to $25 for seats on the club level and the dugout box seats on the first level between the dugouts.
That represents a jump from $5 and $21 or $22, respectively.
“So far, our response has been encouraging,” Seraphin said. “Some people have told us they were surprised the increases weren't more.”
The average major-league ticket price in 2003 was $18.81, according to Team Marketing Report Inc. of Chicago and ranged from $42.34 for the Boston Red Sox to $9 for the Montreal Expos. The 2003 major-league average for parking was $10.06.
The Royals again are offering discounts in each seat category for season-ticket buyers and a smaller discount for those who buy either the 21-game or 41-game plan.
For example: The dugout plaza seats, located between the dugouts at the rear on the first level, are $22 if purchased on an individual-game basis, up from $18, but are $18 apiece for season-ticket buyers and $19 apiece in the package plans.
Parking passes are similarly discounted: $6 per game for season-ticket buyers and $7 per game in the packages.
The latest increases mean the Royals have raised their average ticket price by 14.1 percent over the last five years. The major-league average increase in that span is 25.4 percent.
“The reality is we'd like to get to where we want to be by selling more tickets,” Seraphin said, “not by pricing people out of the ballpark.”
The Royals sold just 7,400 season tickets or equivalents in 2003 but are targeting 10,500 for next season after rebounding from a franchise-worst 62-100 record in 2002 by going 83-79 and remaining in postseason contention until the season's final week.
“Last year at this time,” Seraphin said, “there was optimism within the organization. But we were the only ones who felt it. The difference now is everyone can see we are definitely on the road with our rebuilding process.
“We feel we absolutely need to get to 10,500. Ultimately, we want to get to the region of 15,000. I think you'll find that to be the goal of most teams with a stadium that seats around 40,000.”
Existing season-ticket holders and package-plan participants have until Nov. 15 to return one-third of their purchase price to hold their renewals for 2004.
Seraphin said renewals topped 1,600 entering Thursday and 350 new requests had been processed. Tickets for individual games won't be available until February.
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