Orioles offer better Opening Day view to general public

December 13, 1990|By Mark Hyman

The Baltimore Orioles' policy on Opening Day tickets was reported incorrectly in yesterday's editions. Those on the club's list of preferred customers need only notify the Orioles of their interest in purchasing tickets for Opening Day to be placed on a priority list. They do not need to purchase $150 worth of tickets for other games to be eligible. (See article on Page 1D)

The Baltimore Orioles, searching for a more equitable way to sell tickets for Opening Day, have altered their policy so that they may ensure that a minimum of 2,000 unobstructed-view seats for the final Orioles opener at Memorial Stadium will go on sale to the general public.

Last year, the Orioles sold all seats -- except the roughly 4,000 obstructed-view seats -- to season-ticket holders and others on the team's list of preferred customers. There are about 115,000 names and addresses on the list, which is composed mostly of fans who have purchased tickets or have asked to be included, according to Orioles vice president for business Bob Aylward.


Sensing that the demand for tickets to the final Orioles opener at 53,371-seat Memorial Stadium -- the team is scheduled to move to the Camden Yards ballpark in 1992 -- would be still greater next year, Orioles officials put a couple of thousand seats aside. They will go on sale Feb. 2.

The revised policy was explained in a letter that many of its "preferred customers" are receiving this week.

According to the letter, customers on the preferred list are eligible to buy up to two tickets -- last year, there was no limit -- for the opener, April 8 against the Chicago White Sox, if they place an order totaling more than $150 for other Orioles games at Memorial Stadium next year.

The offer to preferred customers does not include tickets purchased for the final Orioles homestand, Oct. 4-6, against the Detroit Tigers, which will go on sale later.

The Orioles will fill orders for the Opening Day tickets until there are 2,000 left and award tickets randomly if requests exceed tickets, according to the letter.

Aylward said the Orioles have had a priority list for about six years and that most fans who have purchased tickets are on it. Two examples of those who aren't are customers who pay with cash or who buy on the night of a game at a ticket gate. In each case, he said, the buyer's address usually isn't recorded.

;/ Still, Aylward said he believed the present

system, though imperfect, was generally fair. "What are our alternatives? We can open up [Opening Day sales] through the ticket computer and sell them first come, first serve. But somebody who has never had any association with the ballclub and has never come to a game before, could attend this historic, momentous event ahead of people we can identify as Orioles fans of the past."

Aylward also defended the team's policy of requiring a purchase of more than $150 to qualify to buy more seats on Opening Day, which he said showed the team's commitment to "meting out the best seats to our fans who have supported us." Those ticket buyers also will be put on a priority list for tickets to the final home series at Memorial Stadium.

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