The Price Is ... Different

Single-game cost rises for Yankees games, Red Sox weekend dates and Opening Day

Orioles Tickets

January 19, 2007|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,Sun Reporter

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox might be tough on the Orioles on the field, but they've been terrific at the box office.

So to apparently cash in on the popularity of their fiercest rivals, the Orioles are charging extra for single-game tickets to all games this season against the Yankees as well as weekend dates with the Red Sox and Opening Day against the Detroit Tigers.

According to the Orioles' Web site, 16 games - called "prime single games" - will be affected. Most single-game tickets for those dates cost from $1 to $10 more, depending on ballpark location, compared with regular games. The prices in a few locations remain unchanged. For instance, a field box seat between first and third base that normally costs $55 will be $65 for the prime games, and a left-field club box seat will increase from $25 to $30.

Last season, the Orioles went a combined 9-27 against the Yankees and Red Sox, but those two teams were popular draws, often attracting droves of fans wearing their caps and jerseys.

For instance, during a three-game stretch against the Yankees in June, the Orioles drew about 48,000 a game, and for a three-game homestand in April against the Red Sox, Boston helped attract almost 39,000 a game. The season average at Oriole Park was 26,582.

While it appears this is the first time the Orioles have employed so-called variable ticket pricing based on opponents, a team spokesman declined to comment on the team's pricing history and on the rationale for doing so this season.

"Orioles tickets are available at an array of prices that make attending games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards affordable for all fans," said Greg Bader, the Orioles' spokesman.

With variable pricing, the Orioles are following the lead of many other major league teams, including the Washington Nationals. For the second consecutive year, the Nationals will have a schedule of premium games. This season, those 15 games include Opening Day, some weekends and the Fourth of July; the Orioles play in three of them.

The Colorado Rockies - who have used variable pricing for about six years, according to a spokesman - have three price tiers for single games, plus a special requirement for early purchases of Yankees tickets.

For the most expensive seats at Coors Field, prices range from $45 to $75, depending on several factors including opponent and day of the week. Mid-range seats that cost $15 to $24 for "value" games jump to $45 for "classic" games.

A Rockies spokesman explained that until Feb. 10, fans seeking Yankees tickets are required to purchase a package that includes games against the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Chicago White Sox are in their third year of variable ticket pricing and also have a multi-tier system. For instance, a seat that costs $17.50 for Monday, Aug. 20, against the Royals increases to $44 for a game against the Red Sox on Friday, Aug. 24. And games against the Chicago Cubs cost an extra $5.

Some teams vary their prices depending on the time of the season or day of the week. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies, for the second year, will increase ticket prices between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Mark Kilbane, a Fells Point resident who is a Red Sox fan, said the Orioles are taking advantage of fans such as himself.

"I don't think it's fair to the people who live in this town who are fans of the other clubs," Kilbane said. "My knee-jerk reaction is that I'm against that, but I also know it's a business decision."

C.J. Wallace of Whitehall, who said he had attended just a handful of games over the past few years, had a more partisan view.

"If we can raise the prices and keep the Yankees fans in New York, double 'em," he said.

But a winning Orioles team is a better answer, Wallace said.

"If they had that, they could charge the fans for every single game," he said. "And you wouldn't have these special interest games that you'd raise the prices on."

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Christian Ewell contributed to this article.

VARIABLE PRICING

Most single-game tickets for the Orioles' home opener and for 15 games against the Yankees and the Red Sox will cost more

$65 -- Cost of most field bix seats for games against Derek Jeter and the Yankees.

$55 -- Cost most field box seats for games against Jorge Cantu and the Devil Rays.

Prime dates

The ticket prices for these Orioles games this year could be $1 to $10 higher, depending on location of the seats (all times are p.m.):

Date ............. Opponent ................ Time

April 9 ......... Detroit ........................ 3:05

June 26 .... N.Y. Yankees ............. 7:05

June 27 ....N.Y. Yankees ............ 7:05

June 28 .... N.Y. Yankees .............7:05

July 27 ..... N.Y. Yankees .............7:05

July 28 ..... N.Y. Yankees .............7:05

July 29 .... N.Y. Yankees ..............1:35

Aug. 10 ...... Boston .....................7:05

Aug. 11 ....... Boston ....................7:05

Aug. 12 ...... Boston ....................1:35

Sept. 7 ....... Boston ....................7:05

Sept. 8 ....... Boston ................... 7:05

Sept. 9 ....... Boston ................... 1:35

Sept. 28 ... N.Y. Yankees .........7:05

Sept. 29 ... N.Y. Yankees ..........7:05

Sept. 30 ... N.Y. Yankees ..........1:35

Source: Orioles' Web site

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