Citi Field Expensive; Mets Must Groom Future Fans

Eventually, the shine comes off newest houses, which is something the Mets are learning about Citi Field, which has never been the home the franchise had hoped.

Citi Field hasn’t given the Mets a home-field advantage both on the field and in the stands, with attendance gradually declining since it opened in 2009 at 38,941 per game.

Last season, the Mets drew 26,528, as they learned what the Blue Jays, White Sox and Orioles – teams that made up the first wave of the new stadium construction – found out. They’ll come if you build it, but they won’t come again if you don’t win.

They also learned that in Texas, Houston and Cleveland.

Fans are willing to pay for the novelty of a new stadium, but the real attraction is the product on the field, and in that regard the Mets have been a disappointment.

I started thinking of this after reading a report from sports marketing publisher Team Marketing Report, which noted the Fan Cost Index increased 2.3 percent last year to $212.46, with Citi Field the seventh most expensive at $229.68.

The index measures the cost of this odd shopping list: four average-priced tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four (regular-sized) hot dogs, parking for one car, two programs and the two least expensive hats.

Baseball used to call itself “a bargain in comparison to other professional sports,’’ and it used to be true. Nothing is inexpensive anymore, including going to the movies.

Of course, a stadium in New York figures to be expensive (the Yankees are second at $337.20 and Fenway Park is an astronomical $350.78), and you can knock that price down by going on bargain nights, skipping the programs and hats.

However, the Mets don’t make it easy for the fan. For example, it would be nice if the Mets allowed you to bring your own food into the ballpark, but I don’t know of any team that allows it.

I understand the economics of it – the same principles explain player contracts – but the costs of the going to a baseball game is something the keepers of the sport should be more aware of in developing its future fan base.

Attendance has been up in recent years, but much of this can be attributed to new stadium construction, built for the large part with taxpayer funding.

However, the gravy train can’t last forever and the Mets must be aware of grooming the next generation of fans – and ticket buyers.

11 thoughts on “Citi Field Expensive; Mets Must Groom Future Fans

  1. And if you watch the games on TV sometimes they’re so boring you turn them off. Nothing lasts forever.

    • I bring my own food to Mets games at Citi Field all the time. They evidently are more concerned with weapons being snuck into the ball park than food. The only thing that isn’t permitted is bottles — I bring cans of soda, pretzels, etc., all the time and have never had a problem. This, however, was much different than in the 1970s when you weren’t allowed to bring any type of food into Shea — it was confiscated until you came out and then you could pick it up.

  2. My wife gets four free tickets right off the 3rd base bag once a year from a sales guy. I think they’re about $150+/- each. (We take another couple with us.)
    Well, every year I end up spending well over $100 on this “free” baseball game. That’s just for the two of us. Four beers, a few burgers/dogs, baseball helmet sundaes (an absolute must) and I’m pushing my retirement back a few years. Did I mention train fare?
    Next year, I’m going big. We’re gonna take out a second mortgage and spring for two shakes at the Shake Shack.

  3. Maybe we should look at 2.1 million attendance as pretty good for a team with six straight losing seasons. It was a lot lower when the team had similar periods in the 1970s and 1990s.

  4. Even if they were inclined to do something like “Picnic at the Ballpark” day where you could bring in your own food, they would nix it under the aegis of it being a security threat. I remember as a kid bringing food into Shea but then they didn’t frisk you or check bags at the turnstiles then either.

  5. When they built the stadium it was obvious it supports a team that is all about pitching and defense. So we move in and our pitching is mediocre at best and we are clueless on defense ( and we can’t hit ).

    So in the past few years we acquire pitching through the draft or trades ( a good thing ). We now how a great young staff both in the rotation and pen.

    We have one of the best defensive center fielders in the game and a catcher who may or may not be the real deal. David holds down third as a gold glove fielder and then we have problems. Our SS is non existent. Our corner outfielders are crippled. Our second baseman has hands of stone and our first baseman can hit 30 hr.

    What happened to pitching and defense with timely hitting?

    • Dave look at it this way the offense is very improved with Cuddyer and Flores! Heck Flores could hit 12-15 homers being an 8th place hitter. that improved offense could mean 85-88 wins and that means they are contenders.

      • Yes. Mike will improve the lineup. He hits for average with modest power. It will help fill the gaping wholes we have in the lineup. Why couldn’t we get a player like that last year instead of signing Grandy and Young?

        As for Wilmer. I believe he can hit. He needs to prove it. The big question other than can he hit is can he field?

  6. They’re setting the prices to bring in the maximum revenue. It sucks when it becomes so expensive that you can’t do it regularly but that’s the reality of major pro sports. Their appeal is so large that they can sell enough seats to affluent fans that they don’t need to lower the prices. Major pro sports are a monopoly. If you want to see baseball cheap go see the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Staten Island Yankees or the Bridgeport Bluefish. The seats are very reasonably priced. Major pro sports have become even more popular over the years so that some of the fans have been priced out. But I don’t think it makes sense to blame the teams. If they could generate more revenue with lower prices then they’d lower the prices.

  7. i have been a mets fan since they began 1i 1962 ,last year i bought a 20 game plan but im not renewing it, it cost me 1461.00 dollars plus over a 100.00 dollar spent for every ticket. i do not see the ownership desire to win or please their fans . it is really a shame for the national league
    to have owners that do not give a damn for the people that pay the players salaries.
    i love national league baseball but i will see american league baseball this year,or until mets owners sell the franchise.
    i live just a short distance from the team in that other league…so in the mean time i will save for a nice cruise or vacation in another country..wish the mets lot of luck..

    • Antonio: Thanks for your excellent post. I hope you’ll follow the Mets with me. By the way, your post gave me a story idea. Look for it in the next few days. Thanks.-JD