The Pittsburgh Pirates attendance got off to a solid start in 2011. Then, Mother Nature took over. We have had tickets to four games where either rain or the threat of rain trashed our plans.
We would be willing to bet that nearly 25 percent of the people reading this know what we’re talking about, maybe more. We find it funny that none of the articles that talked about the weak crowds this year in MLB ever mentioned one of the most important factors in attending a baseball game in the Northeast. It’s probably because they are written by hacks that haven’t bought a ticket in their lives, since Mommy and Daddy bought them when they were young, and now they get in for free.
All of us buy tickets. We get it. And with the way the Pirates schedule is lining up, we don’t see that ending anytime soon. Take a closer look at what lies ahead when the Pirates return from Chicago and New York next weekend.
If you look closely, you might see what we see. People are going to fill up PNC Park on eight consecutive Saturdays. Write it down.
We feel that the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of doing something that at the end of 2010 would seem impossible. If we told you the Pirates would pull off eight consecutive Saturday sellouts after last year’s pathetic season, you would have said we were crazy.
Take a look at the schedule and tell us what you think. We believe the Pirates can sell out PNC Park for eight consecutive Saturdays this season.
The Detroit Tigers game last Saturday had something like 7,000 walk up tickets sold. We heard fans were turned away. Parking garages were full. The Pirates did their part and sent the capacity crowd home smiling. One down. Seven to go.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in town June 4. It’s Blog-a-Palooza, Pirates Fantasy Camp Reunion, and Phillies fans everywhere. Number two in the books. Done.
Huey Lewis and the
New York Mets News are in town the following Saturday. Skyblast, too. All presented by a deal made recently with Iron City Brewing. Done – sellout.
The month will be finished off with the Red Sox. That will be a sold out June.
Now, moving into July, the Chicago Cubs are in town on July 9 and the St. Louis Cardinals make up the other Saturday date in the month.
The tough part will be continuing the streak into August, when the Padres come into town on the 6th. But have no fear – the hardest working marketing department in pro sports has it covered to ensure number seven. Train. Skyblast. Done.
The Reds are back in the Burgh on August 20. This could be the streak breaker. An NFL lockout might help the Bucs, because the Pittsburgh Steelers are always tough competition, or simply because Pirates fans have traditionally been so disgusted by the end of August that Bucs’ baseball is the last thing on their mind.
But seven straight capacity crowds could make this the only game some families will be able to catch on a Saturday. Tickets are going to be scarce. Which leads us into some things this can do for the ticket buying crowd.
But, more importantly, the fans have started to show the Pirates that they’re committed again. It’s funny what a surprising start will do, when combined with some outstanding marketing backed by the best sales team in baseball.
The buzz of the sellouts alone will create excitement. Combine that with fans like us that were impacted by rain in the past two months. Factor in those who haven’t even thought about going to a baseball game because of the dismal April and May weather. The sellouts could set the stage for ticket prices to finally be increased next season – unless the Pirates chicken out again. The idea of just strolling up to get tickets can finally start to break as well and, season tickets in 2012 would likely see an increase as well.
It’s exciting to think about.
But the most interesting part will be seeing how Bob Nutting will react. Frank Coonelly talked about the attendance during spring training. He was on the money. Not surprisingly, he has guided a sales and marketing effort that has the Pirates showing positive upswing. Pirates fans held up their end when nearly 112,000 fans showed up for the opening series of the season. The Pirates players on the field are playing above expectations.
Now, will Nutting allow the Pirates to be buyers at the deadline? Look in the seats… winning cures all, Bob. Investing in a young offensive player could spark the lackluster offense.