Orioles' new ticket prices may add $3 million more Selected seats in left are raised, lowered

September 12, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

The Orioles have restructured their ticket prices for the 1993 season. The net result could be an increase in overall ticket revenues of nearly $3 million next season for a team that already is one of the more profitable in the major leagues.

The restructuring will come as good news to some fans and bad news to others.

The worst news, though, comes for fans who sit in even-numbered sections from 74 to 86 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Those seats, which are directly behind left field, will go from $8 to $12.

The club added $2 to the price of about half of the seats, and they reduced the prices of seats with poor sightlines and obstructed views and left prices unchanged on the rest.

"We thought this was an appropriate time to address ticket prices," said club president Larry Lucchino, "because we have the experience of the first year in the new ballpark to learn from."

What did the Orioles learn? They learned that some fans are unhappy to be paying the same price for field-level seats down the left-field line that provided inferior sightlines to similar seats closer to home plate. They learned that fans in the last rows of the terrace boxes are upset because the club-level overhang obstructs their view of the scoreboard and makes it impossible to follow high fly balls.

In consideration of the sightline problem in left, the club dropped the price of those box seats from $13 to $12 and has given season-ticket holders in sections 66, 68, 70 and 72 priority for relocation.

The Orioles reclassified those sections as left field lower box seats and also reclassified seats in other sections.

"We have always paid attention to fan feedback," Bob Aylward, Orioles vice president of business affairs, said in a prepared statement.

"It was clear that the seats in sections 66-72 were not of the same quality as the other lower box areas, and we are lowering the price accordingly."

Lucchino said that the club also is investigating the possibility of eventually replacing the approximately 600 seats in question with a new design that will allow fans to see the pitcher's mound and home plate without having to turn so sharply to the right.

In consideration of the terrace problem, the club has reduced the price of the seats in the last four rows of the terrace level from $12 to $8.

How does such a profitable team justify a 15-20 percent increase in some ticket prices when it already is doing so well?

"I think that's the wrong way to put it," Lucchino said.

"What we did was hold prices and lower prices on half the seats in the ballpark. It depends on your point of view. I think the question should be, 'Why would a team with our demand hold prices and lower them on so many seats?' "

The Orioles could make a case for even higher prices. Demand for tickets at Oriole Park is so high that the club will close out the season with a string of 60 consecutive sellouts.

The club also faces a big increase in its player payroll, which was about $20 million this year.

"What we did was try to price seats fairly in comparison to other teams and other sports," Lucchino said. "We feel that tickets at Camden Yards are still very reasonable. We have kept a wide range of prices. We still have bargain nights. We still have a $1 seat (bleacher seats for senior citizens and children under 12). How often do you see that in the '90s?"

Earlier this season, the club lowered the price of some club seats from $25 ($18 plus a $7 Club Lounge fee) to $15.

That price, for seats in sections 274-278, will remain the same, and the $15 area was expanded to include section 272.

1993 ticket prices

A look at Orioles 1993 ticket prices and how they differ from 1992:

Seat ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... Price ... Change

Standing room ..... ..... ..... ..... $3 ...... --

Bleachers.... ..... ..... ..... ..... $4 ...... --

Upper reserved..... ..... ..... ..... $8 ...... --

Lower reserved-a... ..... ..... ..... $8 ...... --

Club seats... ..... ..... ..... ..... $18 ..... --

Left field club seats-b.. ..... ..... $15 ..... new

(Sections 272 through 288)..... ..... ... .....

Left field upper reserved ..... ..... $6....... new

(Sections 374 through 388)..... ..... ... .....

Left field lower box-c......... ..... $12...... new

(Even-number sections 66 through 86)..... .....

Left field upper box..... ..... ..... $11 ..... new

(Sections 374 through 388)..... ..... ... .....

Upper box.... ..... ..... ..... ..... $12 ..... +$2

Terrace box.. ..... ..... ..... ..... $14 ..... +$2

Lower box.... ..... ..... ..... ..... $15 ..... +$2

a-Last four rows of terrace boxes, lowered from $12 to $8.

b-Club seats in sections 272 through 278, lowered from $25 to $15.

c-Lower boxes in sections 66 through 72, lowered from $13 to $12.

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