Orioles weigh boost in '97 ticket prices Team reportedly lost $3M-$6M last season

K.C. here for opener

December 07, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Sources within the Orioles organization believe the club will increase ticket prices for 1997, but Joe Foss, the club's vice chairman of business and finance, said that decision hasn't been made.

"Our ticket prices are currently under review," said Foss. "We'd like to announce the schedule and ticket prices simultaneously. I would expect by some time at the end of next week, or the beginning of the next week, we'll have a formal decision and announcement."

Several other teams have raised their ticket prices, including the Yankees. New York has raised its prices by an average of 21 percent.

The Orioles drew 3,646,950 fans last season, 45,024 a game, second best in baseball. Nonetheless, sources within the organization say the club lost between $3 million and $6 million, and last month the team prepared to open its books and invite reporters -- and, presumably, independent auditors -- to examine the financial records.

But then the Chicago White Sox signed slugger Albert Belle to a $55 million contract, and feeling the timing wasn't right, Orioles officials decided to at least temporarily delay the news conference.

The Orioles have received their final schedule from Major League Baseball, with games against the five National League East clubs included, although some starting times haven't been made final.

But according to Foss, the team will open the season at home April 1 against the Kansas City Royals and will play its final home game Sept. 22, meeting the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles will finish the regular season in Milwaukee on Sept. 28. Their first interleague game on Fox TV will be June 14 against the Atlanta Braves.

Pub Date: 12/07/96

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