Opening Day 2012 is right around the corner and the Miami Marlins are gearing up for their historic first season in their new building. The anticipation from Marlins fans is reaching a boiling point. David Samson has been quoted as saying that 15,000 or so season tickets will be sold by opening day. That figure represents about 40% of total capacity. He also said that they would never sell all available seats as season tickets. Admittedly though, they can’t. The next step is to create a “hot ticket.” The PR machine has been churning.
For years the Marlins have been a laughing stock as video and photos of an empty Sun Life Stadium made the rounds on ESPN and the seemingly dozens of highlight shows. Anchors would comment on the vacant orange seats as home runs were hit. This is the year that all ends; at least for a couple of years. The novelty of the new stadium will provide an event-like atmosphere that fans will flock to. It will also attract the casual fan who’s simply looking for a new experience, and be a part of the Miami crowd. How will the team will draw five years from now is the real question? The buzz will be gone and the only thing that will attract good crowds on a Tuesday night in August is the players on the field and their position in the standings. That’s the way it should be. The organization gets a few free years of futility while they build an organization worth of their new digs. Ask the Pittsburgh Pirates how that’s worked out? The Marlins, however, aren’t the Pirates. They’ve gone and spent the money as has been well documented and they’ve created an atmosphere with a real Latin feel to go along with the new Miami brand.raw
I always like to use Stubhub.com as a true barometer of what is a “hot ticket.” By no means have the Marlins done that yet. Perhaps a playoff run will lead to that buzz next year? You can get Marlins tickets for face or at less than face value on the secondary market. Last week I took my family to a Florida Panthers hockey game. The face value for Lexis Club Levels seats at the beautiful Bank Atlantic Center is $85. I scored 4 at $14 per ticket! This was for a Sunday night game at 5PM; a perfect day and time to bring the kids. That’s the South Florida market. Before Lebron came to the Miami Heat the seats were empty. Now go on Stubhub and see what it costs for a reasonable seat at a Heat game. Prices are out of control. Can that happen with baseball in South Florida? I tend to think not, but with only 37,000 seats up for grabs perhaps they can create a decent market. As fans we should all love the fact that we can go to games without mortgaging the family home.
Though the Marlins brass know the ins and outs of the Miami market. I give them credit for making tickets very affordable for 2012. In a smaller venue like the new Marlins Stadium, all seats are good seats. Some of the better sections are very reasonable. Comparable tickets in the larger market ball parks are at least triple in price for a comparable Marlins ticket. They’ve made it affordable, fun, they’ve signed new players, we have a new climate-controlled building; now it’s time for the fans to show up.
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